I recently visited my dentist. He quickly diagnosed a cavity, which he filled for an additional cost. This got me thinking about my lawn care company and how the green industry can apply a similar technique in servicing our customers’ properties.

In other words, are you doing enough in-the-field diagnostics that lead to sales? Are you offering your clients enough preventive maintenance and service options to keep their landscapes from developing “cavities?” Finally, are you responding to complaints in such a way that resolves your clients’ issues but also provides you with more selling opportunities?

A complaint from a customer doesn’t have to be all bad news, although there are times when you “bite the bullet” and return to his or her property to fix the issue. In many cases, customer complaints and negative online reviews offer opportunities to prove the value of your company’s services to clients by turning those negatives into positives and maintaining those relationships.

A good example is when weeds or problem grasses grow back in a customer’s flowerbeds after your company has recently weeded and installed bark mulch. New weeds can spring up in a client’s landscape some weeks after your team did a good job of weeding and mulching. It happens. This offers the opportunity to suggest monthly or quarterly weed control applications.

Another example is lawn damage caused by insects and diseases exacerbated by uncontrollable environmental conditions. These problems require special treatments that are not included in most standard lawn programs.

Do your field specialists look for these issues so they can diagnose them and offer solutions for your customer? If they do, then they are saving your clients from preventable lawn damage while also eliminating a complaint and costly callback.

Consider the following points to provide additional beneficial services to remedy clients’ service issues:

  • Keep on training: Employee training is key to successfully resolving service complaints and selling more services. We have monthly training meetings to make our team aware of common lawn issues depending on the time of year.
  • Establish expectations: Create clear guidelines for your staff and your clients about what exactly is included in your regular service program and which services are handled for an additional cost.
  • Client education: Pay special attention to outlining exactly what each client will receive in terms of service. Consider also explaining the role they may play in keeping their lawns green and attractive, such as mowing height and proper irrigation.
  • Preventive problem solving: Your field specialists are on the frontline and they are the experts. They should be on the lookout for problems before they turn into complaints. Your field specialists should be diagnosing issues, documenting them and communicating them to your customers. Even if customers do not buy the curative treatments, your technicians have covered their bases to avoid future liability issues.
  • Motivate your team: As its leader you must motivate your team and get team members excited about providing superior customer service and sales throughout the season. Consider running contests to determine how quickly your team can resolve client issues and sell additional beneficial services. You might also try incentivizing them with cash prizes or gift cards.

The more trust you have built with your clients by delivering them professional services throughout year — regardless of conditions — the more likely they are to buy from your company and the more loyal they will become.