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6 Steps To De-escalating An Unhappy Clients

Written by: Rosalynn Robb, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Memories swarm my mind of clients who have called or emailed through the years unhappy about something related to the cleaning service. And yes, when it rains it pours, so usually when one client complains I’ve had at least another client call the same week. I could always feel the level of stress.

“I came home with syrup still on my table!”

“There were still crumbs on the kitchen floor!”

Now when a client thankfully on very infrequent occasions has critical feedback, I follow this 6 step formula with confidence. I see these situations as an opportunity to show we are a company of integrity, and I try to find the balance between being humble, but also firm, when the situation requires. It is like a puzzle!

(To read a true story of how I carried out the following steps to de-escalate a client, check out one of my most popular blog posts, "The Bad Review.")

1. See

A client sends a photo showing you evidence of something wrong, or they describe it to you so that you can visually picture what went wrong.

2. Hear

Listen, and do not speak first so that you can get the full picture. Not only are you listening to what they are saying but also to what they are not saying. Ask follow-up questions to show you’re actively listening and want to clarify any confusion.

3. Understand

What is the problem that has occurred? Is it something your team did wrong, or something that they didn't do? Can you understand why the client is frustrated?

4. Empathize

Hearing and understanding take active empathy.

Put yourself in their shoes, and ask yourself if you were the client, would you be happy with paying for the service your company provided?

5. Show Humility

Admit where your company has failed. Being defensive may “win the argument” but it will never “win the client’s trust.” There is almost always a legitimate reason a client is upset. However, when the client is unreasonable, you should back up your team, but in a humble manner.

6. Provide Solutions

What solutions can you provide to the client that will dispel any feelings of frustration and instill client satisfaction? Can you offer to redo an area that was missed? Can you have a team meeting to address this situation as a whole company to ensure your client knows you take their feedback seriously? Can you offer a discount on a future service?

Surprisingly, 8 of 10 clients just want to be heard with empathy. They will appreciate professional conversations where you remain calm, patient, and understanding. In this way, you will control the conversation and provide an environment in which the client feels they can trust you to lead correctly during a difficult situation.

Follow me on Instagram and visit my website for more info!


Rosalynn Robb, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Rosalynn Robb is a passionate small business cleaning owner and consultant with the sole aim of helping others. Rosalynn caught a vision after engaging in several Louisville Human Trafficking Task Force meetings. She decided to create a business that would elevate domestic work and advocate for human trafficking victims while giving back to organizations helping the most vulnerable.

She believes to whom much has been given, much is expected. She has never forgotten her humble beginnings as an orphan in the Philippines, and how her forever family brought her home to Rhode Island at three and a half years of age. Rosalynn believes what touches the heart reaches the heart, and the best way to build a business is to be authentic and focus on relationships over money.

Rosalynn created CleanStart Consulting to help other small cleaning business owners worldwide become organically organized with practical tools and authentic understanding. In 2021, Rosalynn plans to launch the S.H.E Foundation (Seen. Heard. Embraced.). The foundation will provide mentoring and financial support to empower human trafficking survivors. S.H.E. grants will support women seeking a CleanStart with the counsel and tools they need to help launch their own successful businesses. Rosalynn married Andrew in 2018 and they have lived in Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas while serving in the United States Air Force.


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