I chose the chemical with Oxy Boosters that was a dollar more than the other. He didn’t ask me how large of an area I was cleaning. The one bottle barely covered my living room. If I had run out, I would have been upset because I finished cleaning about 9 p.m. — an hour after the store closed.
I also saw a bag with a hose on the display and asked him about it. He said that was only for doing upholstery or stairs and was an additional $3.
My niece, who had joined me in my excursion, had rented these same units before. She was more helpful than the employee about machine operation.
The machine itself was very clean. They asked for a $5 deposit to ensure the machine was returned clean.
According to the register, the carpet cleaner only had 27 hours on it. I had my carpets professionally cleaned six months ago and thought I was only cleaning a few spots this time, but the water was still very dirty.
When returning the unit, the employee didn’t even look at the machine to see if I had cleaned it — which I had. They asked if I had any problems (no I didn’t) and credited the $5 back for the deposit. Total cost of the rental with cleaning solution was $40.93.
Overall, the biggest complaint from our secret shopping experience seems to be the lack of communication between the customer and the rental employee. It seems each of us had to ask all the questions, and in many cases, didn’t get satisfactory answers. This brings home the point that your counter people — as your first line of contact — need to know their stuff.
The fact that each of us had to actively ask about cleaning chemicals should also be a red flag. How many customers leave your store without consumables with their rental? Think of the dollars that could be staying in your store if your employees just ask a simple, “Will you be needing any cleaning chemicals or a stair accessory?”
While some of the equipment appeared to be in rough shape, all of it performed well. And, although they weren’t the most knowledgeable, most of the employees were friendly and tried to be helpful.
We understand, because you tell us, that running a rental business is hectic and chaotic — and changes from day to day. But having a knowledgeable front line and asking a few key questions can increase your bottom line and keep customers coming back for more.