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Tech to grow your turf business

September 8, 2020 -  By
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Software on different platforms (Photo: ServicePro)

Feed a need Software can help companies tailor their services to meet a specific client’s needs. (Photo: ServicePro)

Today’s lawn care clients are a new breed, says Steve Martinko. The owner and CEO of Contenders Tree & Lawn Specialists in Waterford, Mich., says that lawn care clients have become more demanding and distracted.

“We’re in the age of connectivity and real-time customer support,” he says. His company relies on software to fulfill customer demands and prevent a communication lapse with clients. Here’s how three lawn care operators use software to manage customers and grow their businesses.

Manage customer needs

Martinko says that software serves a purpose beyond data collection — tailoring services to customers’ needs. “If software can help enhance the relationship, you want that,” he says. “We’re able to provide a proposal with site-specific notes that when sold get transferred immediately into the client’s account without redundancy or risk of human errors.”

ServSuite has been the customer relationship management (CRM) software for Contenders Tree & Lawn Specialists for the past four years. Martinko says the software improved efficiencies, leading to more satisfied customers and a $500,000-per-year net growth in the first two years — double the company’s previous growth numbers. The company has a revenue of $3 million and provides 45 percent lawn care, 45 percent tree/shrub care and 10 percent pest control to mostly residential clients.

Serving 350 clients per day in the metro Detroit area, Contenders’ technicians need to be trained to properly input accurate data. The software offers the ability to forensically analyze how mistakes are made in the system, so technicians can receive extra training as needed.

Tracking leads

Chris Barlow, owner of All Green Pest Control & Lawn Care, a $600,000 residential lawn care and pest control company in Provo, Utah, uses PestPac for his CRM. In the last year, the company also adopted Slingshot, a third-party answering system. Slingshot’s staff answers sales calls and online chats, gives basic quotes for services and provides lead generation during overflow periods before and after business hours. It integrates with companies’ CRMs and offers the ability to select specific requests to forward to them.

Barlow says the service has been helpful in capturing sales leads during their busy times, but recommends that users of third-party answering services be meticulous about which requests they want the service to respond to — these services charge per minute on the phone and per response on chat or text.

People management

CRM software also provides a clear picture of how to manage lawn care companies’ people.

“It gives us the information needed to know if we have to add more representatives on the phones, when representatives can take breaks and when the best time is to conduct weekly customer service meetings,” says John Guth, vice president of lawn at Green Lawn Fertilizing, a $16 million company in West Chester, Pa. The company provides 74 percent lawn care services to 90 percent residential clients and uses Real Green’s Service Assistant as its CRM software.

“Our software is also used to identify wins and recognize high performers,” Guth says. The company has 70 technicians that access Real Green’s Mobile Live on iPhones. Mobile Live tracks technicians and products, allows users to add additional work to a route and access call logs from customers in real time. Technicians also can sell services and provide them on the spot.

Green Lawn’s customer service team continues to work remotely and uses a variety of apps to supplement the CRM, such as Dropbox, Chronicle, ReviewTrackers, Whip Around, Mojo, Sales Rabbit, Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft Teams and Google Analytics.

“The biggest tip is to identify the data that’s going to help grow your business, have reports that create transparency around that data and benchmark yourself weekly against those data points,” Guth says.

Abby Hart

About the Author:

Abby Hart is the managing editor of Landscape Management. A native Clevelander, she spent 10 years in Chicago, where she was operations manager of a global hospitality consultancy. She also worked as managing editor of Illumine, a health and wellness magazine; and a marketing specialist for B2B publications. Abby has a degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication.

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