This story can be applied to any kind of business, so pay attention . . .
Almost a year ago we found a local company to clean the house. They worked on a few homes in the neighborhood and did a great job. Unfortunately, that relationship came to an unfortunate and abrupt end today.
We had been paying them $85 to come and clean the house, and in the early days they would typically stay between 2.5 and 3 hours. Over the course of the year the amount of time they spent declined as did the attention to detail that was present early on. As we noticed this, we began to get somewhat disillusioned, but not enough to get rid of them.
Fast forward to this morning . . . they arrived and began to clean while I worked perched on the couch. A few minutes in, one of them walked towards the kitchen, stopped, turned to me, and told me that “from today onward we’re going to have to charge extra to clean the dishes.”
“Really? From today onward?” I remarked. “How about giving someone a little heads up before springing something like that on us” I continued, annoyed by this revelation.
The kitchen sink had a handful of dishes, some cups and a bit of silverware.
I told her that we weren’t going to be paying them any more to clean our dishes and proceeded to clean out the sink for the next 5 minutes.
I was not happy and immediately called my wife to pass on the new info. Now mind you, two weeks ago we asked them about cleaning some of the dust from under the bed and was told that there would be extra charges for doing it.
I’ve been asking to get rid of them for a while now, but was always rebuffed by my wife. That wasn’t going to happen today. She immediately told me to fire them . . .
We needed the house cleaned, so I held off and simply went on with my business.
When they finished up, I handed over my check for $85 and they told me that they’d see us in a few weeks.
“Hold on. That’s not going to happen,” I said as we all walked out the door. “If you’re going to nickel and dime us on everything, we’re going to just find someone else. Thanks for everything and good luck to you.” I was talking to the back of one of their heads as they stormed off, annoyed at me, while the other guy was very cordial and nice about it.
Do You Run Your Business Like Them?
Forget the decline in quality of service, but when they stopped offering services that are typically standard and started trying to upsell us on these very services, they lost us.
Think about the stupidity of this move . . . they were going to charge us an extra $5 or $10 to do 5 minutes of dish cleaning. There’s no way we would pay that kind of money to clean a few dishes for a few minutes, so had we not fired them, they would never see any dishes from us to clean going forward. The most they would possibly have gotten from us on this up sell would have been the $5 – $10 had I decided to eat crow and let them do it today.
Instead, we felt like the principle of their nickel and diming us was something we couldn’t deal with, and fired them as a result.
Mind you, we pay $85 every 2 weeks or $2210 over the course of a year.
They lost that steady cash-flow because they got greedy and wanted to make a few more bucks from us.
Not only did they lose our money, but it is going to cost them money to acquire that next steady customer, so the losses compound themselves.
Was it worth it?
The fact that I was talking to the back of her head as she walked away, tells me that she probably realized at that very moment that it probably wasn’t.
What would you have done?