The lifeblood of any business may be new customers, but the backbone of any business is long-term customers. Luckily, you – and your employees – can attract new customers and better retain old ones by practicing a little old-fashioned customer service.
Liz Tahir, an international marketing consultant, speaker and seminar leader based in New Orleans, has several good customer tips that apply to landscaping companies of all sizes.
- Remember there’s no way the quality of your customer service can exceed the quality of the people who provide it. Think you can get by paying the lowest wages, giving the fewest benefits, providing the least amount of training for your employees? It will show. Companies don’t help customers … people do.
- Realize your people will treat your customers the way they are treated. Are you polite in your dealings with them? Do you try to accommodate their requests and listen to them when they speak? Consistent rude customer service is a reflection not so much on employees as on management.
- Do you know who your customers are? If a regular customer came into your shop or facility, would you recognize them? Could you call them by name? All of us like to feel important; calling someone by name is a simple way to do it and lets them know you value them as customers.
- Do your customers know who you are? If they see you, would they recognize you? Could they call you by name? It’s important for customers to feel you and your employees are accessible. Remember that visible management is an asset for your business.
- Give your clients the benefit of the doubt. Proving to a client why they’re wrong and you’re right isn’t worth losing a customer over. You will never win an argument with a customer, and you should never put a customer in that position. Instead, work hard to find common ground and try to use a contentious issue as an opportunity to go the extra mile for a customer if possible.
Competition and profit margins are tight these days. But improving your customer service is a cheap and easy way to stay ahead of your rivals.