Photo 1A

Photo 2A
We live and work in a service-driven industry. Whether you estimate it, sell it, install it, or clean it, everyone has his forte. All of it combined should equal a happy and satisfied customer. We all know the age-old saying “The customer is always right,” right? Well, if I’m the first to say it, then so be it. WRONG! Man, that sure felt good. Now don’t get me wrong here. I believe the customer is right 95 percent of the time, and I give them their due. But what I’m talking about is that five percent that makes you wonder why you got up this morning and sometimes makes you question mankind’s true intentions. Oh, you know who I’m referring to: the ‘customer from hell,’ that one individual you’ll never forget because you could not make them happy or satisfy their expectations.

Photo 3A
No one likes to fall short, especially when you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty. You will never satisfy 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time. If you did, then you would be perfect, but let’s face it: we are not, and we live in a less-than-perfect world. As long as we learn from our bad experiences, we’ll be fine. Remember, one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch. Here are two examples of when the customer is wrong. It is up to you to prove your case in a tactful manner without blowing your whistle too loud.

Photo 4A
(CASE A) Photos 1A-3A are of a six-month-old installation with yellow discolorations in the bathroom only. Out of 60-plus square yards in three different rooms, only in the bathroom is there a condition such as this. The customer, after several roundabout questions, assured me that there was nothing spilled or put on the carpet while it was in the home. She swore this was a latent manufacturing defect. So what do you think?

You Make the Call!

Photo 1B
If seeing is believing, then look at Photo 4A. They are UV (ultraviolet) illuminated, and show a completely different story than the tall tale told by the customer. When you line them up, you’ll see that where the blue/white values (black light photo) ends, the outline of the yellowing begins.

Photo 2B
What happened is that something was spilled and an attempt (poor one) to remove it took place. After showing this to the customer, she then remembered (conveniently) that maybe something did happen and she just forgot! Photo 4A suspiciously looks like a footprint placed and then dragged across the face, not to mention the dribble spots that probably came from the cap when the carpet cleaner was opened.

Photo 3B
(CASE B) Photos 1B-3B are of a teal green carpet eight months after it was installed. The customer is very unhappy because of the color change. Is this a dye problem or premature soiling? Can You Make the Call?

Photo 4B
First off, she is comparing this carpet to the sculpted dark brown rug that was in her home for the past 18 years. When asked about the maintenance, she states that she does the same thing she did before with her old carpet, vacuum every week! When asked if she spot cleans with any particular products, she boldly says “No!”

Photo 5B
Photos 4-5 B show what happened when a small amount of water was put on the surface and agitated with a bone scraper. Two things became very visible: #1, the color of the carpet came back; #2, there is a foam/froth or bubbles around the edges. Can ‘You make the call’ now? Most of you can, because bubbles mean that soap or a type of surfactant is present. When the carpet was viewed under UV illumination (black light), the surface of the carpet glowed a bright blue white. Why? Because of the optical brighteners, which are agents that have the capability of converting invisible ultraviolet light into visible light, thus increasing apparent brightness. Optical brighteners can be found in 95 percent of the household cleaning products in any home in every cabinet in the good old US of A.

Now it took some extra coaxing on my part, but after showing the customer that there was some foreign substance on the rug and only in the traffic lanes, she finally told the truth. She had been spraying the carpet with Woolite out of a spray bottle and leaving it in the rug! Because of this, the soap attracted the soil and held onto it. A proper cleaning done by a professional took care of the condition.