High Performance: Enhancing the customer experience

January 3, 2018 -  By

We had 7 inches of fresh snow on Christmas at our home in Grand Rapids, Mich., providing a picturesque white Christmas and lots of activity for local snow and ice management companies. Our driveway was plowed three times that day, which was great because we hosted Christmas at our home and we had people coming and going all day. It was even more impressive that we were plowed three times in a 24-hour period since we have a fixed-price seasonal contract with our provider.

This snow plowing company also handles our summer maintenance and has the year-round contract with our neighborhood association. They are almost always on top of things and we rarely have anything to complain about. If we were asked to rate them on a scale of 1-10, they would receive an 8 or 9. We have no intentions of ever considering changing providers unless something dramatically changes. Sounds good, right? This is the ultimate position to be attained, isn’t it? Actually, no. As good as this company is, they are missing a great opportunity to take an 8 to a 9, to a 9 to a 10.

Thinking about the Christmas day snow plowing, as much as I was impressed, it would have been helpful to know when they were planning to arrive to plow our driveway before they just showed up unannounced. I fully recognize that they have no obligation to inform us when they’ll be there. However, there was a level of stress caused by their lack of communication with us. If they had been in contact with us throughout the day, they would have hit a walk-off grand slam instead of just a mere win.

Like many other homeowners, we interact with many service providers. A small number of them have figured out how to use technology to communicate with us effectively. Because we’re always plugged in and online, we have to be the easiest people in the world to communicate with. We very much appreciate these companies because their proactive communications allow us to plan more effectively and to be more optimal with the use of our time. We are busy people and not knowing what the plan is can be a major source of irritation. If one company can communicate with us at a high level, my feeling is every company has the ability to do so—if they have the desire to.

This is simply one example of how asking your customers a simple question opens the door to enhancing the customer experience. How easy would it be for someone from your company to call or meet with each customer and simply ask them, “How are we doing and what can we be doing better?” Our snow and ice management provider has never asked us this question. Have you asked your customers this question lately?

Now go forth.


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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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