As your company begins to expand, taking on new customers is of course a priority. Inversely the core of any sustainable service oriented business, is customer retention. This post concentrates on two key components to long term retention.
Service & Support
Obviously, the primary way to retain business is to provide an effective and quality service. One of the most important things to remember when pitching lawn care, is to be realistic. Most customers will have only a passing knowledge of what goes into creating an outstanding lawn. While informing existing and prospective customers of service, it’s paramount to create a reasonable set of expectations. Many lawn care providers will lose a customer after a single season. Many of those who decide against additional seasons and services feel they didn’t have enough progress. It’s always a good idea to get a detailed assessment of a lawns condition prior to attempting to close a sale. Not only will this allow you to tailor the pitch to their needs, it will ensure an accurate estimate of progress. If the customer anticipated massive results in a short time frame, they’re very unlikely to continue to use your services.
Furthermore, educating customers that lawn care is a partnership is integral. Customer feedback is needed throughout the season. There are often things a homeowner will notice that a technician may not. In addition, lawns need to be watered and cut correctly to see significant results. If a dry lawn is treated and not watered in, it’s very likely little progress will be made. If a customer is unable to do these things consistently, it’s important to explain that will hinder results. As mentioned before, if they don’t see the results they expected, retention is unlikely. If you are a full service company, and can offer these services. It simply becomes an opportunity to up-sell said services. Many customers appreciate the convenience of using a single provider as well.
This is arguably the single most important factor in customer retention. The importance of customer feedback goes hand in hand with customer support. Employees performing applications need to have the initiative and knowledge to diagnose possible problems early. Being proactive plays a huge role in a customer feeling like they’re getting quality service. However, there will be times when applications are done incorrectly. It is necessary to make correcting service issues a priority over all other services. If a mistake is not corrected in short order, the customer will quickly lose confidence. Progressively building a customers confidence is often the easiest way to maintain retention. A direct line of communication is a great way to achieve this. It’s wise to encourage a customer to call back at a personal extension or a personal e-mail. When a complaint or issue arises, allowing a single employee or representative to handle communication with the customer will have several benefits. It leaves an impression of competence, cuts down on miscommunication, and insures a consistent message if follow up contact is required. Many customers will stay on board simply because they are comfortable with the support representative they speak with.
As stated previously, retention is the key to sustained growth. A long time customer is far more likely to add services and stay when prices inflate. And even in this digital age, word of mouth is still a huge boon to adding new customers. In essence, retaining customers will inevitably lead to growth. That said, great service is only half the battle. You must remember that most customers will look to their provider for information and suggestions. Having applicators and call center employees informed of each others job requirements will allow accurate retorts no matter the inquiry. If the information is accurate and the response to feedback prompt, customers will be satisfied. A satisfied customer is a repeat customer.