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Dealing with Difficult Customers

As a portable restroom operator, you’ll come across a variety of customers and their unique personalities. Unfortunately, not all experiences will be pleasant. In fact, some clients may be downright awful. How you handle these challenges says a lot about your leadership style and impacts your business reputation. Use these tips to manage and respond to difficult customers while also knowing when enough is enough.

Clients Who Complain About Service or Cleanliness

Answering a one-off complaint about units not being cleaned as scheduled is one thing. However, chronic complainers who might never be happy with your (or anyone else’s) services is a frustrating challenge. Their weekly phone call may prove too much for you or staff members. Instead of a constant back-and-forth, set up a meeting with your client.

  • Offer solutions that are already a part of your process, like checklists.
  • Let them know that you’ll discuss the issues with your staff.
  • Persuade them to stop calling by setting up a follow-up meeting six weeks out.

Customers Who Demand Extra Services for Free

Regardless of how many times you pointed out the fee schedule, some difficult customers will still try to get the charge removed. Anytime that you’re faced with this issue, it’s important to remind your client that your fee isn’t anything personal nor is it flexible. Instead, iterate that the charge is an automated part of your company policy tied into your service agreements, invoicing programs, and employee routing systems.

Late or Non-paying Clients

You’ll come across clients who genuinely want to pay, and you’ll have others who always seem on the verge of not having enough. If you wish to preserve the relationship, payment plans may work. But, no PRO likes chasing payments.

Clients who avoid paying waste your time and money. Create an automated process for reminding late or non-paying clients that include triggers when customers miss due dates. For example, you may send out:

  • Late notices
  • Notices of unit removal
  • Letters from your attorney

Depending on the amount owed and the financial health of the company, you may choose to go to the extreme measure of starting the legal process.

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Customers Who Block Access to Your Units

There’s nothing like getting a phone call from the customer who parked his forklift against the portable restroom unit and blocked access. And the first question is, “Why didn’t your team clean my rental this week?”

Hopefully, your crew tagged the unit and you sent over an email or text relaying the message to the customer. Deal with hard-to-reach units by explaining that it’s a safety issue. Your team shouldn’t touch a client’s equipment or risk a fall on the client’s property. Help your customer understand how this policy ultimately protects them.

Know When Enough is Enough

Dealing with difficult customers is part of the job. However, if it’s an ongoing issue with one client, it’s essential to look at the bottom line. Are you earning a profit on servicing this portable restroom client? Is it worth the hassle? Sure, it’s impossible to avoid every bad-news customer. However, you can dump them when it impacts your portable restroom business too negatively.

Looking to Take Your Portable Restroom Business to the NEXT LEVEL? Download our FREE Guide: “Your Guide to Operating A Portable Restroom Business.”

Thinking About GETTING INTO the Portable Restroom Industry? Download our FREE Guide: “Your Guide to Starting A Portable Restroom Business.”

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