You’ve helped your customer pick out the perfect carpet, and they’re ready for installation. That’s a job well done, but they’ll still be thinking about you when the first juice box spills or there’s a pet whoops. “Did I buy the right carpet?” they might wonder. All the more reason to prepare customers for those mishaps before they leave the store.
You can’t be there to clean your customers’ carpet. But you can—and should—help with insightful advice. Educating customers on carpet cleaning—from spot cleaning to manufacturer-recommended professional cleaning—is a great way to reinforce loyalty and trust that creates an opportunity for that next sale.
So how do you help customers protect their big investment? First, make sure that they understand their responsibilities regarding the warranty. For example, customers must have their carpets cleaned at least once every 18 months with professionally applied steam cleaning/hot water extraction to maintain the warranty. Additional warranty information depends on your retail location.
Second, a little practical advice about maintaining a carpet can help satisfied customers stay that way for years to come. Shaun Lapp, a retail sales associate at Avalon Flooring in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, has a few tips. He’s found that when it comes to talking about carpet cleaning, an educated customer is a happier customer.
Lapp says that customers typically don’t ask about carpet cleaning, “so we bring it into the conversation ourselves.”
He begins by asking questions about the customer’s home—for instance, whether the household has pets or kids.
“More often than not, families have active households,” he says. “They want to know that with STAINMASTER® brand, they’re getting the best bang for their buck.” Proactively educating customers about what to do and what to avoid when cleaning their carpet helps them get the full benefits of STAINMASTER® carpet and reinforces its value.
Warning customers about potential harm from the wrong cleaning or stain-removing chemicals is also a must, says Lapp. It’s important to understand the fiber used in the carpet and recommend the appropriate cleaner to the customer.
Some harsh chemicals like bleach can break down carpet fibers and cause color to fade, he says. “A pet accident, a spilled glass of wine … customers think they’re doing the right thing by using chemical cleaners,” he says. “But many customers overuse them. It’s about encouraging them to resist the temptation to do that on their carpet.”
Another issue is ghost stains, which have nothing to do with Halloween. With some cleaning treatments, the stain goes away for awhile but gradually creeps back because the stain-causing substance has saturated the carpet pad … but the cleaning process hasn’t.
Lapp encourages customers to use hot-water extraction for spot cleaning. “I tell them to get a personal steam cleaner, but don’t use it with a cleaning agent,” he says. “Only use piping-hot water!”
Of course, there are times when hot-water extraction isn’t a realistic option for a customer. For those occasions, STAINMASTER® cleaning products offer safe and effective options for carpet stains, pet stains and odors, and high-traffic zones."
Although store policy discourages recommending local carpet cleaners, Lapp tells customers to stay away from rented steam cleaners. “With rented cleaners, you don’t know what chemicals were used prior. No one can assure you that it’s 100 percent water,” he says. “I wouldn’t trust them on my own carpet.”
He encourages customers to follow the manufacturer’s warranty and get their carpet professionally cleaned. “A professional carpet cleaner is going to let customers know that they’re certified and ensure that they’re only using steam.”
Helping customers understand the right and wrong way to clean carpet is a big part of the sale. This guidance extends beyond installation.
“We don’t want them coming back a month after the carpet has been installed,” Lapp says. “If a customer doesn’t feel like they’ve been properly educated, they’re going to feel disappointed."
“Asking those questions about their household helps build that trust,” he says. “By wanting to know where they’re coming from, you’re letting them know you care.”