If you own a service business, such as landscaping, lawn care or cleaning, you know that your customers must be in the center of your business’s daily and long-term plans.
Because without customers, you won’t have a business.
So, customer service skills, specifically your customer’s experience with your business, are vital to your company’s success.
5 Ways to Ensure a Perfect Customer Experience
You can set your cleaning or lawn care business apart from your competitors with your customer service.
You’ll see more brand loyalty if your customers believe that they’re getting great service and are treated well by your crews.
Here are five tips to improve your customers’ experience with your company:
1. Be customer-centric.
Customer-centric doesn’t mean the customer is always right. And yet, your customers’ pain points or dreams should take precedence over procedure. You want to come across as caring about your customers and willing to work hard for them to ease their pain or to meet their goals.
One way to be customer-centric is to keep an open dialogue with your clients. Zech Strausser, President of Strausser Nature Helpers Landscape and Snow Management Services of East Stroudsburg says,
“I believe customer service success is built from effective communication. At my company, we work very hard at delivering proactive, during and after emails, calls and in person meetings. Clients cannot (sic) stand being in the dark. It's the old fashion (sic) way to make your clients’ life easier. While we focus on our clients in many other ways, communication is the foundation.”
2. Don’t procrastinate in responding to your sales prospects or complaints: You’re in the middle of a meeting, and you get a ping that someone just messaged you.
Granted, you’re not going to check your message in the middle of the meeting, but you should answer it within an hour.
More customers and sales prospects are interacting with companies via social media because it’s…
- And gets results
Studies found that, "...chat and text usage for customer service issues will increase exponentially: 367% for text and 250% for a chat. Because conversations are private and immediate, customers using these apps expect to receive a quick, personal response.”
So, it’s vital that you engage your customers through social media and respond in a short timeframe. Apps, such as:
… will help you engage with your clients and sales prospects.
3. Focus on your typical customer’s needs rather than trying to please everyone.
Every company, big and small, has a portion of their clientele that’s considered their “ideal client”. So, you need to prioritize what your company will do to achieve excellence for that group of people.
For example, your residential cleaning customers want their houses cleaned, including furniture dusted, floors mopped, and kitchens and bathrooms left sparkling. Your customers may only be able to afford a cleaning service that uses standard products.
However, if your customers care about the environment and want you to use organic products (and they have the money to pay for natural cleaning products), then you cater to their needs.
Sure, you can serve both types of households. But where is the majority of your energy going to go to – a thorough cleaning that allows a couple to enjoy their weekend without having to spend Sunday cleaning? Or the family that values organic cleaning products over traditional? It all depends on who your ideal client is – so take some time to think about who regularly hires you.
4. Customer-centric doesn’t mean cheap fees.
Your goal should be excellence in your work, not the lowest price in town. Many times, customers who like cheap services don’t appreciate the energy that goes into that job. You end up getting clients from Hades that will make your relationship with them a headache.
Don’t skimp on your fees. You don’t have to be the priciest in town, but you also don’t want to be the cheapest.
Here are two resources to help you prices your services the right way:
5. Your goal is to foster long-term relationships with your clients.
Did you ever hear of the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule? Simply put, the Pareto principle roughly states that you’ll spend 80% of your energy on 20% of your clients. So, you want to identify that 20% and focus your excellence on them.
Why? Because it takes more time and money to get new customers. You want to foster a healthy, long-term relationship with 20% of your base.
Jay Worth, marketing manager at Tomlinson and Bomberger, a landscaping company in Lancaster, Pa., shares his story:
“Creating lifelong relationships with clients is in our Mission Statement. It's at the core of our DNA as a business! When I first started at Tomlinson Bomberger, I was trying to answer a question a client had, and make it ‘fit’ into something I could sell (my prior experience was at a national lawn care firm, and this was a model they used). My supervisor stopped me, and said: ‘Jay, I would rather you sell them NOTHING than sell someone the WRONG THING.’ I knew then I had found a home at Tomlinson Bomberger.”
Internalizing customer service skills is a lifelong project. You need to know and practice what skills people are looking for in the service industry.
Then, you need to teach your staff those skills. Just like you want your brand to reach across all communication channels, you want your customers to have positive experiences every time they interact with someone in your company.
Here are some articles to beef up your customer service skills:
- Francis X. Frei, “The Four Things a Service Business Must Get Right.”
- Sunday Steinkirchner, “5 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service.”
- Micah Solomon, “10 Effective Ways to Transform Your Customer Service and Customer Experience.”
- Gaurav Sharma, “4 Strategies to Help Improve Your Customer Service Standards.”