CHARLOTTE, NC —The National Service Alliance (NSA) group purchasing organization recently surveyed a group of contract cleaners to identify the six types of “complainers” among customers, according to a release.

“After a few years in the contract cleaning business, most contractors realize two things: Complaints are part of the job,” the release says, “and over time, you realize some complainers fit into certain categories.”

The release points out the following six types of “complainers”:

  • The "cleaning policeman": According to cleaning consultant Ron Segura, some managers are cleaning policeman. He said, "These are people that call you about everything…two or three times per week with various complaints."  
  • The "secret lover": This person's passion for cleaning conceals another passion. This person admires the contractor a little too much. One contractor said a female building manager called him regularly, always asking for a meeting at the building to discuss a cleaning issue. "After this happened a few times, I thought it might help if I took my wife with me. That put an end to the meetings," said this contractor.
  • The "tester": The tester likes to leave debris under a desk, on ledges or under furniture, waiting to see if it gets removed by morning. If not, s/he is your first call of the day.
  • The "jus’ wanna complain" complainer: "One unhappy customer asked me to drive over to his office," one contractor said. "When I got there, he complained that a staple, behind a door, had been on the carpet for weeks 'which proves your people aren't vacuuming.'"
  • The “Monday morning whiner”: All the contractors agreed that Monday is complaint day, but that some managers "could always be counted on to whine about something on Mondays."
  • The “blamer”: This is the most difficult complainer to deal with. According to one contractor, "He's the one that complains anytime something is missing or broken, a door is unlocked, etc., and blames it on the janitor…but you never hear back from him when they discover who the real culprit was."

NSA’s executive director commented on this common issue, saying “Usually the way to deal with complainers and complaints is through communication. Listen to the complaint. If they are right, apologize and take care of it. If they are wrong, stand up for your crew."