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Need Help resolving a client complaint.


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A place to talk about general business discussions.
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  #1  
Old 01-25-2011, 05:32 PM
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Default Need Help resolving a client complaint.

I recently received a payment from a client with a note telling us not to return to either of his properties next year, because we had "ruined" his front yard by "excess mowing." When we started taking care of his property there was very little grass in his front yard to begin with. We still mowed his yard weekly because: 1) There was much more grass in the back. 2) That is what he requested. This summer alot of people in our area lost turf caused by moisture and temerature conditions. There was alot of renovation work around here this past fall. I feel that his complaint/reason for firing us was unfounded. I feel like defending our company. There is still a balance on his account, that I intend to collect here soon. What do you guys think about how I should respond, or should I respond etc.
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2011, 07:45 PM
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Google Earth will have a picture of his lawn a few years before you stepped foot on it.... it could help as a form of evidence if his lawn has always been crummy.


Perhaps this customer is just saying those words, but deep down he's just being cheap and doesn't want your service. People are weird.


I wouldn't recommend going back to these customers, though I'd hate to have them think you didn't do your best.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:24 PM
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During the summer months we typically raise our blade up a notch to prevent the heat burning out the lawn. Some weeks we skipped if it appeared to not need a cut, but always let the customer know that we felt it was OK till next week.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:57 PM
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I think you should contact him ,ask politely about his concerns,explain your side of his complaints,ask if there is anything you can do to make him happy ,and try to get a resolution your both happy with .If you cant make him happy ,shake his hand and ask him to contact you in the future if he needs something done .You might not ever get a return call ,but its also possible your replacement might not be up to his standards either and he might start thinking better of your work .
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:02 AM
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I agree. I think this is a a situation where the lines of communications either got crossed or there wasn't enough communication.

You have a good chance at resolving this by talking it out.

Do you feel this experience will change the way you operate at all? Have you felt there have been learning lessons from it?

Keep us posted.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:38 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. I definitely think it was mostly a communication issue, and the fact the client is uneducated about what it takes for a healthy yard. Obviously that is partly my short coming. There was also some miscommunication with his billing, and rather than talking to me about it, I felt that he took some frustration out by taking the cheap shot of saying our company "ruined" his lawn. This was definitely a huge learning experience for our company. I should of talked to him more about his lawn etc. There were other issues with affecting his lawn such as soil, tree problems, tree roots, major tree removal needed etc. for him to truly have a good lawn, and based on the condition of his property to begin with, I couldn't forsee him spending that money. I think I will take bruces advice and include a cordial letter with his final invoice.
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:25 AM
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Keep us posted on how this turns out. You never know! Just talking can really help resolve issues with many many things.

Quote:
I should of talked to him more about his lawn etc.
So if a customer calls you to mow his lawn and his lawn is pretty crappy, do you feel ultimately the quality of their lawn will reflect on you and it's important to talk to a customer about why the lawn is in bad shape and what you can do about it?

Or are you thinking something else?

As you think of other customers you have now, do you find the lessons learned from this customer will be applied to them?
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:58 AM
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Hindsight is always 20/20, turn this into a positive, meet with the client and explain what should have been done to the yard to turn the lawn around and have your estimate ready. Go on to explain that it is your general practise to offer clients solutions however in his case you made a wrong assumption they were only interested in mowing.
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:14 AM
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Go on to explain that it is your general practise to offer clients solutions however in his case you made a wrong assumption they were only interested in mowing.
Andy,

You bring up a very good point. Have you ever found yourself asked to maintain a property that had some issues with the lawn before you got there and the customer only wanted lawn mowing?

What is your view on if these are good customers to take on or not? Do you feel that the quality of the lawn, even if you are not hired to alter the lawn quality, will ultimately reflect on your business? So in a sense, can a negative light be cast on your business if you mow a lawn that needs more attention than just mowing, but the customer does not want you to resolve that issue?
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:16 AM
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Andy,

You bring up a very good point. Have you ever found yourself asked to maintain a property that had some issues with the lawn before you got there and the customer only wanted lawn mowing?

What is your view on if these are good customers to take on or not? Do you feel that the quality of the lawn, even if you are not hired to alter the lawn quality, will ultimately reflect on your business? So in a sense, can a negative light be cast on your business if you mow a lawn that needs more attention than just mowing, but the customer does not want you to resolve that issue?
Yes. most of the time.

Every request for service I get, when I look at the property I look at everything and write a proposal for each thing we suggest, why and the charge. Even if you call us for pressure washing and I notice to have a tree that needs to be cut, brush that could be chipped, maybe you need a spraying on your lawn etc.

Two keys here, you cover your butt, if you want your lawn mowed and I notice it has an insect or maybe is compacted and will not turn itself around, I give you a quote, that way down the road you can't come back and say why didn't you tell me.

The other thing is we want to cut travel, let you be aware of issues, be aware of things we can do. You never know and it does happen that you call me to cut a tree and I give you a quote but also a quote for pressure washing, maybe someone asks you down the road, do you know a company that offers pressure washing, even if you do not hire us to do your place, you might mention us.

It's all about expanding your network every way you can.
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