Customer loyalty is a critical factor to building a profitable lawn maintenance business. You don’t want to be replacing all your clients each year so make sure you aren’t making any of these top mistakes that cause your customers to leave you for a competitor.
When reviewing review sites for commercial lawn mowing companies, we found these same top customer complaints repeatedly.
“They never answer the phone”
This drives customer’s crazy. We get it, you’re out doing work, not sitting next to your phone, but your customer doesn’t want to hear that. Make sure you forward your calls to your mobile or use a virtual assistant/answering service.
“They broke my _________ and never told me”
Accidents happen. Your crew didn’t mean to run over the dog chain or weed whip the siding, but they did. Make sure you train your crews in best practices to minimize common mistakes, but also create a culture of accountability where you encourage them to acknowledge and communicate any damage right away. Customers are typically pretty forgiving if you’re transparent about your actions.
“Your crew left the gate open and my dog got out!”
Many people’s pets are embraced as being part of the family and a missing dog can fuel anxiety close to that of a missing child. Make sure you have a property checklist that each crew completes that include things like locking the backyard gate. A simple checklist completed before leaving each property can prevent a big mistake.
“Your company is always late” or “I want my lawn cut on Friday so it looks great for the weekend”
You do this for a living and have a long list of customers while each customer things that they are the only customer in the world. This is a tough one. It rains one day and you get behind or the grass growth is heavy and the crews are taking longer. There is no easy answer for this one except to make sure your contracts clearly point out the expected cutting day and the many reasons (weather, holidays, etc.) that are outside of your control that can change that day. Communicating early and often will keep everyone happy.
“Your crew left a mess behind”
I used to hate those calls for a couple reasons. One, if the crew truly was sloppy and just left a mess (not forgivable) or more likely…Two, it is a heavy growth season and no matter how careful the crew is there are some visible clumps or clippings. Let’s assume you will take care of number one through some form of discipline or accountability. The second reason is a tough one. I know from experience that most clients do not want to pay extra to have their clippings bagged and you surely can’t do it for free as bagging can double or even triple your lawn cutting time. My best suggestion is to communicate to the customer via your original contract and with some informational mailers the facts about lawn clippings during the heavy growth season. Use whatever mowing techniques you can to mitigate them, but also let clients know that you want to return the cut grass to the soil, and it is good for their lawn. Educate them and minimize the complaints. It works!
“My lawn looks terrible after you cut”
This is the easiest one to fix. Dull commercial lawn mower blades are the number one cause of lawns that appear burned out or have a bluish grey tint to them as the grass blades are shredded rather than cut cleanly. Make sure to cut a bit higher during summer months, sharpen your blades and change them often and you can make this complaint disappear quickly.
There are likely another ten or more common complaints, but these are the ones we see the most.
Take the time to train your crews and your customers to address these five and most of your headaches will go away.