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tiedeman
04-04-2006, 01:34 AM
I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think that perhaps it's time to make the customer #1 again. *Let me try to explain and please listen to my story

Over the last 4 years or so, I have approached customers anymore with the, "you are no more special than the last customer." *I have dropped customers because of disagreements, or basically told customers tough luck. *Now I am not saying that I always treat customers badly. *There are many times that I go out of my way for lots and lots of customers. *But it seems that the only ones that I go out of my way for anymore are the ones that treat me better or have the larger pocket book.

I contribute my short temper to two things: stress from doing work that I hate, and believe this or not to lawn forums. *Now before you pipe up and shoot me down, I am not talking about all forums. *Just two major ones come into mind. *But before I go on about that I wil talk about the stress part first.

My stress was and is brought on from doing jobs or work that I really didn't want to do. *I dreaded going to work everyday, and just wanted to really get paid. *There were times were I would skip trimming on a customers property and then make up something such as "the trimmer is broke" just for I wouldn't have to do it, and I could get going. *Sure, some properties I took pride in, but 75% of them I could care less. *I was more of a "hurry and get the job done" guy compared to a quality job guy. *But since I have been making the switch slowly over to what I love to do and have wanted to do for years, applications, I have noticed that my stress level has decreased greatly. *So much so that my wife has noticed it.

Now back to the forums as my second leading source of customer bashing. *It seems that the forums that I was going to, created more customer hating feelings in my body. *I saw how some people reacted to other customers and thought that I should do the same. *I should rule with an iron fist. *It was like a plague. *Constantly rotting away at me. *

BUT...and I mean a big but, since I have started to post more here on the Gopher site, my stress level has gone down, and my appreciation for customer service and putting the custmer first has increased greatly. *I am not trying to kiss butt, I am telling the truth. *The people that post on this site actually try to help each other, and ask serious questions. *They don't go off topic, and really want to make their business work. *I love this site for that. *Since being on this site, my head has been exploding with new ideas to get and retain customers, as well as going above and beyond customer service. *I am honoring customers more with great discounts, referral programs, and other great things. *I try to put myself in the customers shoes and ask, what do they really want.

I can actually sit here today, and tell you that for me, customers are #1 again.

NickN
04-04-2006, 08:42 AM
Lol!I agree.I basically do the opposite of what is "recommended" on other forums and business is booming!Every customer is special and though some may not have as much money as others,we're creating and installing their dream landscape.It may not be "our" dream landscape,but in their eyes,it is.
Also,you never know who your next customer may know.They may have a millionare friend just waiting for the right referral to come along.

kc2006
04-04-2006, 08:48 AM
I know what your saying about the forums, and I'm pretty sure we are both on at least one of the others. I too have stopped going there really, I'll check it once in awhile but I don't read it anywhere near as much anymore. I found myself taking too much of others info in and doing things I really didn't want to do, it was making me lazy and I started the "keep the customers in their place and don't budge" complex.

Just remember though, keep the customers number 1 after the sale too, you listed all the things to get the sale, keep up with it. I know you are but don't forget about it down the road.

Steve
04-04-2006, 11:35 AM
I am very happy to see the forum become more and more an education tool. We should all learn and grow from each other.

Now getting to your customer thoughts.

I do see how first off you were not happy cutting lawns and that had a negative impact on your job performance. I am happy to see you are getting away from doing that kind of work. You should always go towards the direction that makes you feel good. This is your business.

As you grow and service more and more customers, it seems you can not offer the same type of personalized service.

I see it as the difference between making a custom hand made car one after the other. Each takes a long time and you need to charge a lot to do it.
When you get larger you create more of an assembly line. Where you can create more cars in less time. The personal time invested in the making of each car gets less and less but you do hope to maintain a standard level of quality. You can also charge less, thus being able to reach out to a larger customer base.

Some customers are going to want to monopolize your time. These are the customers I feel you would be better off replacing with customers who won't do this. There are plenty of people out there that just want you to perform the service you said you would perform and will be fine with it.

The more of these customers you can find, the more you can service at a lower price.

You can't make everyone happy. If you charge more and service fewer customers you can then position yourself as a very personalized service, but my question is, are people calling for that? Or do they just want a good service at a good price.

This is why I feel your guarentee idea is fantastic. Offer the guarentee and you will get a small percntage of people unhappy with you. That is fine. Refund their money and in the time it took you to care for that one customer, they can be replaced with two or three others who will be just fine with you.

What's your thoughts on this?

tiedeman
04-04-2006, 01:52 PM
Yes, I do agree that you can not make everyone happy, but I am going to try hard to make 99.9% of them feel more appreciated.

Steve
04-04-2006, 01:55 PM
Well good! Keep us posted how it goes throughout the year.