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Profit Power: Your process is costing you customers

October 23, 2019 -  By
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Customers might love your work, but hate your service. Photo: iStock.com/oatawa

Customers might love your work, but hate your service. Photo: iStock.com/oatawa

Can you recall a bad experience you’ve had with one of your vendors or sub contractors, where you loved them and their product, but you really disliked their process and how they serviced you?

And when it eventually got to the point where you couldn’t tolerate it anymore, you stopped doing business with them and you likely didn’t have the heart to tell them the real reason why.

Years ago, after completing a $400,000 landscape project for one of my clients, I proactively asked them for feedback on the experience. They told me: 

 “Jeffrey we love the pool and landscape you built us but we hated your process!”

It was really hard to hear this, and at the time, it felt like a punch in the gut, but it was the exact wakeup call we needed to improve how we ran the business. It was a defining moment for creating processes that ensured our clients were happy with both the product and the process.

Last month, I fired a vendor that I had been using for years, for the same reasons.

Over the years of doing business with them, I had become good friends with the owner, which made the situation all the more difficult. His firm did outstanding work, and I was really grateful for that.

So why did I fire them?

Because their process was painful, reactive and onerous. And to make matters worse, they didn’t improve when I pointed out their deficiencies leaving me feeling like they didn’t hear or care about my feedback.

Does this happen in your business?

Are you aware of the limitations in your customer-facing processes? 

Is there any part of your business where you are doing good (or great) work, but your customers still aren’t delighted?

The customer’s experience is as important as the quality you provide.

Most clients assume you do good quality, that is just the “entry ticket” but it doesn’t guarantee you will retain your clients or gain their referrals.

To win their hearts and minds, you have to provide exceptional customer service based on well-organized processes. The kind of service that will make you No. 1 on Google, and the talk of the local cocktail party or BOMA reception.

You have to be great at the big things AND the little things.

Here are two ways you can dramatically improve your customer’s service experience:

  1. After a large landscape or irrigation job is completed, or a large maintenance contract is underway, meet with your customer and get their feedback on the different steps they took with you and your company from start to finish. Meet in person and ask them questions about your process to uncover the hidden obstacles that might prevent them from referring you or doing future business with you. And then turn those obstacles into process improvement strategies.
  2. To dig deeper, you can host “client advisory luncheons” with groups of your biggest clients and encourage them to be truthful in sharing what you did and how they felt about it.  Record it and share it with your team. Your clients will respect your desire to be the best in the industry.

Your employees may get tired of hearing you complain about customer service, but they can’t ignore your clients’ feedback when it is shared in vivid detail!

Your challenge: Find out what your clients like and dislike about your service — in their words — and find out what sets you apart in their minds from all their other service providers. Then fix the glaring problems and continue to strengthen the processes that you do well.

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Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit www.GetTheLeadersEdge.com.

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