Grow with Grunder: Why service in season should always be a part of your operation

December 17, 2022 -  By


Last year, my company, Grunder Landscaping Co. (GLC), went back to using the slogan I came up with more than 35 years ago when I was a college student at the University of Dayton. That slogan is “Where Service is ALWAYS in Season.” At GLC, it’s not just a slogan; it’s who we are.

We want to be in service to our team first and foremost, and also provide great service to our clients and our community. I’m proud of how we conduct business, and I know that when we treat our team members well, the rest will naturally follow.

Communication fail

This month, there’s a lesson I want to share with you about offering great service, which has become increasingly less common.

Those who were with us in Boston last summer for the Field Trip at R.P. Marzilli will be glad to know that in late July, I finally got the new Ford Bronco I ordered in January 2020. I received four emails from Ford starting in January 2022 saying it was manufactured and about to be shipped.

None of that happened, and for seven months, even the Ford dealership I ordered through had no idea where my truck was nor a definitive answer on when it would be delivered. Now that it’s here, I love the truck, so Ford got the hard part right. They made a quality product, but the communication was horrible.

Am I on a rant? Maybe, but there’s a lesson here for all of us.

To offer great service, start with these three things:

First of all, treat your people — the folks delivering the service to your clients — well. Your external customer service will never exceed your internal customer service. If you treat your team poorly, they will treat your clients poorly. Treat them with kindness and respect, pay them well and equip them with everything they need to do great, quality work.

Secondly, have systems that enable you to take care of the customer. Software programs, like Aspire, for example, make communicating with multiple clients and providing updates easy and fast. If a client is upset, what do you do? If there’s an issue with an account, what do you do? How do you manage the handoff from sales to production effectively to avoid clients needing to repeat themselves? Clients don’t like lip service, and the first thing you want to do is to have a system that enables you to deliver it right the first time.

Finally, you have to care and be empathetic to the customer. If you understand that the client is getting bad service or interacting with people who are indifferent to them multiple times a week, you can do great things. Empathetic communication could have helped Ford avoid my frustration. Most customers will understand that people make mistakes. Show them you care and take steps to make it right when mistakes happen.

Make sure your service stands out, and you will grow your business as a result — that I know for sure.

If your team needs inspiration for improving the level of service you provide or training to refine the processes that impact customer service, join us at GROW! 2023 in San Antonio, Texas, from Feb. 28-March 2. At this event, we’ll take a deep dive into Summit Landscape and Design’s operation and learn how they provide superior service to their clients. We’ll have main stage and breakout sessions to help you improve your business in every area possible. Come join us, and if you do, make sure you find me to say hello! Register here.

Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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