Botched Referral? What to Do a Referral Backfires on You

What do you do when a referral goes south? We’re going to talk about that today. Hi there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask
a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house
cleaning question and I get to help you find an answer. Now, I don’t always have the answer, but I
probably know somebody who does. I am connected to the best and the brightest
in the house cleaning industry. So these are my colleagues and my peers, and my friends. They are international coaches and trainers and consultants, and we all partner together
and we get together and spin ideas so that we can bring you dynamic shift in your business. So if you have a question, bring it to me. We have on the Ask A House Cleaner website. There’s a little blue button down there in
the corner, you click on that and a little microphone appears, and you can leave us your
questions. Or, you can email me: [email protected] I’m here to help you find an answer. All right, today’s question came from a house
cleaner that we’re going to call May. Now, May had a customer that she did not get
along with, she didn’t like the lady. Nothing good came from it, so she decides
she’s going to quit the customer. Then she turns to her friend … we’ll call
her friend Karen … Karen to go clean this customer’s house. Well, Karen really needed the business and
she said, “Sure, I’ll do it. I get along with everybody,” and she went
to clean the customer’s house. Now, Karen has been a house cleaner herself
in her own right for dozens of years. So May quit the job, gives the referral to
Karen. Karen, who can do no wrong, goes over to the
customer’s house, and she and the customer get in this huge knockdown drag out fight. They’re throwing things at each other. They’re cussing at each other. They’re yelling and screaming, and it was
over the job that was done and the money that was paid. The lady decides of her own volition she’s
going to change the price of the house cleaning and she’s only going to give half of what
was requested, half of what she agreed to on the walkthrough with Karen. So Karen is like, “Oh, no, no, no. that’s not how I do my business.” She falls apart at the seams. So now she goes back to May and she’s telling
May this story and May feels horrible. She says, “What do I do when the referral
that I gave Karen goes south?” That’s a fair question. I share the story with you minus about 30
minutes of details, because it was a horrific story. During the story, there were several things
that went off in my mind. One of them is either one of those women could
probably file a lawsuit on the other woman and win for torts. It’s where you touch a customer or you yell
at them in a certain way or whatever. They’re damaged goods, right? But now that it’s a knockdown drag out fight,
we got two hateful, angry women at each other, and now they’re blasting each other on social
media and it has just escalated to be this huge monstrosity of a deal that went bad. All right, if you were May and you give someone
a referral, once you give them the referral, it is out of your hands. Okay, so I know you feel bad. I know your friend came back to you to share
with you the bad news of what happened. Whatever happened between Karen and the homeowner
really is between Karen and the homeowner, and if they want to file a lawsuit, between
them and the judge. It’s their deal. So as easy as it is to feel really bad and
May was like, “Well, should I pay her the extra money that the woman wouldn’t give her?”
and all these things. No, that’s not your responsibility. You did your job by recommending a customer
to your friend. That’s all you did. You gave them a recommendation. So your friend on the good recommendation
got the job, and the customer was miserable and mean and hateful and probably shouldn’t
have any house cleaner because apparently she doesn’t know how to treat people. So I’m very sorry about that. I don’t know what it is, if Karen has been
a house cleaner for dozens of years, and she doesn’t do anything wrong and she gets along
well with everybody, I’m suggesting it may be the customer’s fault in this scenario,
because Karen has a long history of customers that have been with her for years. They love her. She’s amazing. So I don’t know what happened because, again,
I’m only hearing May’s side of the story she heard that was Karen’s side of the story. In all fairness, the customer probably has
their side of the story as well. So from where I’m sitting, it’s a very convoluted
story but the reality is this: if you give someone a recommendation, you’re done. You’re done with it. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel bad. Don’t offer to pay. Don’t offer to make amends. Don’t offer to come in and fix the problem. You did your job. You passed a recommendation on and that’s all. Your job ends there. All right, now, one thing that I would like
to mention is there are hateful customers. I ran into a few myself. I don’t know why. There are people that if you have happiness
and misery, they choose misery. I don’t know why. It doesn’t serve them in any way, but that’s
their choice. So when they choose misery and they choose
to nitpick and fight with people and argue and be belligerent, again, that doesn’t serve
them in any way, but that’s their prerogative. So if they keep trying to hire people, and
those people don’t keep working out because they are the miserable one, you have to pick
up on that. As you’re doing a walkthrough, if you pick
up on clues, like, “Oh, yeah, I’ve been through 45 house cleaners.” Whoa, wait a second. I promise you, I will not be 46th. There is something about this house or this
deal that is not a good deal. You keep running off house cleaners. So if you hear things like that, turn and
walk away. Just say, “We’re not a good fit for each other.” Don’t explain; don’t get into any details;
just walk away. There is one particular woman whose house
I did clean, and we tried every which way to make it work, and we could not make it
work between the two of us. We tried and tried and tried and tried. One day, I said, “I no longer can clean your
house.” I had to let her go. She said, “Can you recommend somebody to me?” I said, “I cannot.” I did not want to put myself in the situation
that may put herself in where you turn an evil customer onto a great house cleaner that
really deserves a great customer. I don’t know any house cleaner that I would
want to put in that situation. I just don’t. So I was trying to be polite because I didn’t
want to hurt the woman’s feelings and I didn’t want a knockout fight. But she said, “Well, don’t you know somebody?” “I do. I know a lot of house cleaners, but none of
them that I would have come to your house.” So she kept calling me and she kept harassing
me, and she kept texting me. Then she changed her phone number, like she
used someone else’s phone number and had them call me to see if someone could come over
and bid a quote. But when we looked at the address, it was
the address of the house that we were no longer cleaning. We have blacklisted this client. It happens. It happens. If you’re one of those customers that doesn’t
get along with anybody, you probably should clean your own house. Because now there’s this big thing that’s
happening and it’s on social media and it’s blown up out of proportion, and you have a
house cleaner that is now telling, “I belong to a group of 8,000 house cleaners. We are business owners of house cleaners.” So now, this person is telling our group,
“Hey, don’t do business with this customer.” Then I have a consulting group that we’re
a member of about three and a half thousand people. They’re telling this group, “Don’t, whatever
you do, hire or work with this customer.” So you can get blacklisted as well. It’s an ugly thing when that happens. But if you’re a customer that just doesn’t
get along with anybody, then you need to change your game because the world is full of people
who want to bring their services to you, and they want to make your life easier. But if you’re nitpicking and you’re just micromanaging
them, and then you’re arguing with them and you’re belittling them, all these things,
that’s not a good way to spend friends and influence people at all. You’re not going to have anybody that’s going
to come help you out, and then as you get old, you’re going to die alone because even
the caretakers won’t take care of you. If you are a miserable person, my suggestion
is please stop whatever it is you’re doing because it’s not serving you. Then if you are a house cleaner and you have
one of these customers, please don’t recommend any of your friends go over there. If you have a miserable customer, please leave
them alone in their misery. It is their freedom of choice and if that’s
what they choose, please leave them alone. Don’t send any of your friends. Don’t send any of your enemies over there. It happens. In the course of my career, there are probably
three or four people that I have walked away from, never to look back. They’ll keep coming back, like, “Oh, you’re
the best house cleaner we ever had,” and I’m like, “Yeah, it’s not mutual. I didn’t feel the same way.” Then they’re like, “Well, please, can you
give me another try?” “Mm-mm (negative), no, uh-uh (negative). Under no circumstances will that happen.” “Can you recommend somebody?” “Mm-mm (negative), no, I sure can’t. Well, good luck with you.” Just be nice. Be polite. You don’t even have to give reasons. You don’t have to say, “You are so miserable.” You don’t have to fight with them and you
don’t have to throw things and yell and scream and all these stuff. It’s not important. The important thing is your safety. Get out of the house. Just say no, and then if you have to block
their phone number, block them from social media; if they engage with you on social media
and they try to leave you bad ratings and reviews, it’s going to speak volumes about
that person. Their hate and their venom is going to come
through. There are going to be people that are like,
“Who is this miserable person?” Then don’t even engage. Don’t feed the bully, as they say. Don’t give them fodder because everything
you say and everything you do can be screenshotted and it can be blasted all over social media
again, that you are mean to them or that you are defensive or whatever. This is your character, and so it is just
really important that you just focus on being the best version of you. If there’s a hater that comes along, let them
hate and just walk away and don’t engage them. Eventually, they will get bored of no drama,
and they will go away, and then you just go on with your merry life. If you are the one that referred to this type
of customer, please don’t do that again. It’s not healthy for you. It’s not healthy for your friendship with
Karen. It’s not a good deal. All right, so that’s what you do in the future. You don’t recommend miserable clients because
no one wins. All right, that’s my two cents for today. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when
you found it.

3 thoughts on “Botched Referral? What to Do a Referral Backfires on You

  1. Great advice for anyone in any business. Customers have the right to complain about poor service or goods and withhold some or part payment if there's an obvious problem, but customers who complain about everything are always going to be hard work and are best avoided. I suspect most of those have a malignant personality disorder, and the only way to protect yourself from such a person is to walk away and stay away.

  2. What do you do when they only pay you half? It doesnt seem worth the lawsuit, do you just take it and never go to that customer again?

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