You may recall the saying, “you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” At U.S. Lawns, we’d like to challenge that idea. In 2014, we’re making a bold commitment to please every client with every service. Our goal: 100% Client Retention.
Most people respond to this in one of two ways: “That’s an impossible goal,” or “Why do I need that to grow my business?” We recognize that circumstances are often out of your control, and 100% client retention is not easily accomplished. However, we do think it’s critical to strive for—otherwise, it wouldn’t be part of our Brand DNA. And that’s because customer service does grow your business. In fact, it’s one of the most significant business tools you currently possess.
Let’s go back to Business 101. (All the basics you learned in U.S. Lawns New Franchise Training.) There are three main ways a company can outperform its competitors. First, it can generate the most sales. Second, it can operate with the lowest amount of overhead. Third, it can charge the most accurate prices for the same products or services as everyone else.
Customer Satisfaction makes money. Think about it from all three of the perspectives mentioned above.
More Sales. Customer Satisfaction is perhaps the best sales tool in your arsenal. If your clients are happy, they’ll renew their contracts every year…it won’t even be a question when it comes budget time. And since you’re working in a local market, more clients translate into more visibility…and eventually more clients. When your current customers start referring you to their fellow members of the Chamber of Commerce or your local Apartment Association, you’ll start closing sales left and right—and without making a single cold call or knocking on a single door.
Low Overhead. Customer satisfaction makes money without costing much in the process. Unlike the cost of equipment, all you need for customer satisfaction is the right attitude and the right employee training. U.S. Lawns Home Office assists with training and recruiting, as well as the messaging you need to provide to your staff. As long as you lead by example, it won’t take much investment in time or resources for everyone in your office to follow.
Charge Accurate Prices. Corporate clients aren’t cash-strapped individuals. They have budgets, and they’re willing to pay for a long-lasting business relationship. Offering a certain level of customer satisfaction sets you apart from the pack. You become more than a landscaper—more than a commodity. Instead of selling grounds care, you begin truly selling service; and that’s something your competitors simply can’t do.
This goes back to the all-or-nothing nature of our goal: 100% Client Retention. We want you to strive, not only for that, but 100% Customer Satisfaction. Imagine you’re asking a client to rate your service, on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being “absolutely outstanding.” If you score anything less than a 10, you might as well have scored a 0. “Absolutely outstanding” is the only acceptable service level at U.S. Lawns. “Pretty good” isn’t good enough. “Okay” is totally not okay.
Why? Because “okay” won’t make you any money. A client who thinks you’re just “pretty good” isn’t going to recommend you to their colleagues. And if you’re average, you won’t stand out from your competition. In order to be in service industry, you actually have to provide outstanding service. And you have to provide it 100% of the time. Service has to be your business.
So, what are some things you can do to improve your customer satisfaction? We’ll be talking about that more in the coming months. But in general, here are a few things you can start with:
Develop your business relationships
Ask your clients about their needs
Constantly strive for higher standards of excellence
Earn the trust of everyone who does business with you
Be consistent and responsive
By leveraging your people to deliver the kind of service that stands out from the crowd, you’ll be retaining clients who will recommend you, adding new ones, and growing into a more profitable business.