Friday, November 13, 2009

Miscommunication (or, "If you want it done right, do it yourself.")

I thought for a minute that I might go to sleep, but I do need to reflect on my day.

Wednesday, I had my house cleaned by two girls who work for a cleaning company owned by one of our church family members. Thursday, I got a message from the company wanting to follow-up with my cleaning. I waited until I had gone to pick up Elsie and get home and settled when I could talk to them openly and honestly about the service received, but the ladies who run the company didn't answer the phone. Our friend who owns the company did. I had assured him previously that I would have no problem being honest about the level of service I received, so I was comfortable giving feedback, being careful to assure him that the mostly minor areas of neglect did not outweigh the pleasant experience and my desire to have them come back in the next two months (since that's how frequently they would have to come in order to get the "regular" customer prices). He told me he would relay the message, and that one of the ladies would probably be calling to ask for more specifics, directly from me. So, today, when my phone rang near the end of my planning period, and it was the cleaning company, I answered it, thinking I would know what to expect. I was wrong.

"Mrs. Beaver, this is R--- at [insert cleaning company name here]. It was relayed to me that you were unhappy with your home cleaning last Wednesday. A---, the crew leader who cleaned your home, does not take receiving complaints about her work very well, and is very upset about this. She wants to make it right, so we will come out and redo anything that wasn't done right the first time, and this will be at no charge to you. Just tell me when you are available, and I will personally be there to monitor the end result."

Um. I didn't know what to say. She did not ask for specifics or other information, as our friend said she would, but just assumed the worst based on the phone message. This is, of course, just the gist of what she said. She did mention something about the other girl being new and them just finding out that she's pregnant, but that that had nothing to do with this. (So why bring it up?)

Anyway, now I feel like a jerk, though I went out of my way to express how content I was with the overall service. We had even talked about how it takes 1-2 cleanings to reach a level of familiarity with the customer and the individual expectations since everyone's standards are different. I mean, I'm glad to get a free floor cleaning, since that's really what my major "complaint" was. I told the owner that I didn't feel like the floors were done well (not any better than I could get them, and that's why I called them in the first place--for help with the floors, since Elsie is getting more mobile), and that was the weakest part of the cleaning. But seriously, with everything else going on tonight, I feel like I can't really do anything right. Geez.

On a related note, it's time like these that I realize that my mother's standards have become my own ideal cleaning standards. I'm not saying that that's the way I always keep things, but if I have the time and energy to commit, things get clean. Part of me thinks, well, if I had time or energy to be a perfectionist, I would clean my house myself. And obviously I don't have the time or energy, or I wouldn't be paying other people to come and do it.

So, now that the dirty laundry is out of the bag (as far as me being a jerk), here's the nitpicky list of what was left undone:

the top of the refrigerator (okay, the girls were like 5'5" tall and probably didn't see what I saw)
the inside of the door to the microwave (the rest was clean, though...weird)
the underside of the toilet seat (I wouldn't have noticed if Eli hadn't said anything)
the bathroom floors weren't mopped (and I wouldn't have noticed except for a spot that I knew was there before they came, and was still there after)
one of the five fan blades on the ceiling fan in Elsie's room was left undusted (also very weird since the other four were...and did I mention that the girls were 5'5"?)
ends of the granite countertops closest to the walls were not dusted (it's black, dust is gray--I feel guilty for noticing)
cobwebs on the light fixtures and in ceiling corners (I specifically mentioned these and she got the ones on the antlers and in the den--but not the bathroom!)
and finally, the hardwood floors not cleaned well--swept, mopped, but not spectacular--sticky spots and dribbles were still there

All things that have been left UNDONE by me for a long time. So there it is. I'm a jerk. I'm lazy. And I'm tired.

I want to write a note to A--- and let her know that there was a miscommunication, but Eli has already said that he will be here when A--- and her superviser come again, just to reassure her that things were extremely misconstrued and to apologize for causing upset in her work.

I love him. And for some strange reason, he loves me, even when my foot is planted firmly in my mouth, even when it happens by accident.



Stacey L King said...

I don't think noticing any of those things is being unreasonable. It sounds like they were in a hurry, and thus a little sloppy. They're a cleaning service. It's their JOB to CLEAN. If they don't do the job, the person footing the bill has every right to be nit-picky.

Now if you were nit-picking that there were a few water spots splashed onto the underside of the back of the toilet, or a small streak left in the upper right-hand corner of the mirror... THAT would be kinda unreasonable.

First-time cleanings are always more involved than subsequent cleanings, and they should know and embrace that. You can't redo first impressions.

You're not a jerk. Stand confidently by your instincts.

Craig-Jen said...

My mom cleans houses. It's her job to clean a house. The client is her boss and she's being paid to clean. End of story.

If you only turned in 75% if your lesson plans, or only worked for half the week, your principal wouldn't be too pleased with you and you would hear about it.

My mom loves her clients, for the most part. There are those who are never satisfied and treat her like she is beneath them. But then there are those who treat her like a human being. You're not one to treat these people like they are beneath you. You're a very hard working individual and that's not your style.

Stacey is right, first time cleanings are more difficult. Once they spruce up the place, it'll be easier for them to clean it. In fact, my mom charges more for the first 2 cleanings for that very reason.

stephanie said...

i second the above.
noticing those things and being unhappy about it doesn't make you an emily gilmore, and it's not your fault that your words were misconstrued. if you're going to pay them to clean your house regularly, your expectations are what matters.