A reader writes: “I am struggling with a customer who is always bringing up the past and never seems satisfied. How do I get them to forgive and forget past incidents?”

Forgiving and forgetting are two different challenges since some customers will reopen old wounds that should be behind them unless they are still occurring. While interviewing the customer in question I simply asked them to relate “any issues or concerns they had about the current cleaning activities.” They immediately started relating a story (that seems to have been memorized) about certain trash cans being missed in a high-profile tenant’s office. I then asked when was the last time it occurred. They stated that it was about four years ago. I then asked if it had happened again in the last six months. Their response was that they did not think so. I asked if they kept track of complaints and resolutions. They stated that that was not their job and it was the responsibility of the BSC (Building Service Contractor) supervisor and project manager to perform that task.

I agreed with them and suggested that they require you, the contractor, to provide a Quality Control Program (as per the specifications) that would help track complaints, comments, compliments and requests for service from this time forward. They would be provided either by paper (their choice) or electronic a weekly recap of all these issues while answering Who, What, When and Where with of course, the resolution and follow up. They thought this was a great idea and wish they had thought of it sooner.

My suggestion to you is that you read your contract specifications closely and make sure that are fulfilling the agreement in spirit and letter. Although there may still be issues in the future, you will be able to report mistakes and fixes with hard data demonstrating that the same complaint is not reoccurring since you will implement corrective steps immediately.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.