Free Cleanings: Great Service or Big Mistake?

Free emergency cleanings can be part of good customer service but you may be just losing profit
Free Cleanings: Great Service or Big Mistake?

One of your regular customers calls to say his restroom blew over and can’t be used until it’s serviced. He asks you to come out to his construction site for an unscheduled cleaning.

Is making an unscheduled stop to clean the unit a complimentary extension of your excellent customer service, or does this service carry an extra charge for the customer?

On one hand, if your company makes a commitment to provide great customer service, it may seem natural to go set up the unit at no charge. It’s not the customer’s fault it was windy.

But it’s hard to prove it was the wind. Maybe the customer tried to move the unit, or knocked it over while moving equipment on the construction site. Or maybe some kids decided to tip it over.

You want to give your customer the benefit of the doubt, but you also want to make a living. Free, unscheduled services cut into your profits no matter how you look at it.

Ultimately, it comes down to whether you feel you are gaining business by providing great service or losing money by giving services away for free. It’s a personal preference and your business strategy may not be right for others. Whatever you decide, it might be wise to establish a company policy to handle these situations when they arise instead of acting on a case-by-case basis.

  • If you plan to charge for unscheduled service visits, make sure the price of emergency service is included in your service contract. If customers know up front about any extra charges they may incur, they’ll be less likely to complain or give you a bad review. And it might give them the incentive to treat your restroom with a little more care.
  • Give customers add-on options to secure the unit, especially if the unit’s location puts it at risk of getting blown or knocked over. Offer them stakes or other tie-down options. Think about selling damage waivers or insurance for tip-over cleaning.
  • If providing these extra cleanings at no charge is just part of your customer service philosophy, plan your routes strategically to avoid driving too many extra miles. Maybe your regular route that afternoon is close by and the customer can wait just a few hours for that free service. It may be worth dedicating yourself to keeping every customer happy but it’s also important to keep those additional costs to a minimum.

Do you charge for extra cleanings or is free emergency service just part of your customer service plan? Have you ever lost a customer by charging for “extras”? Tell us about a time you went above and beyond for a customer. Did it end up being worth it?



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