Are You Treating Your Customers Like This?
Think about the last time you went to a restaurant. How was the waitress? I distinctly recall the best waitress I have ever had. She greeted us with a smile, she explained everything on the menu to us, she was personable (but not annoyingly so) and she used one phrase that I recall vividly. Every time she came around she would say “I am just checking in on you…do you need anything?” She was on top of everything. She knew I needed a refill before I did, she made sure to clear the table of any items and she was visible anytime we needed her. These are the servers we don’t mind giving a large tip. Now contrast that to the worst experiences I’ve ever had. You know the bad service. Miserable servers that are never around to help and only show up when necessary (aka bring food and collect payment).
Now in running our business, which server are you? Are you the kind of service provider that is just there to provide a service and expect to get paid? Or are you the kind of proactive provider that is consistently visible and attentive to the needs of the customer?
We all know that retention is very important in our business, but it is really easy to get distracted and take our existing customers for granted. We just get so busy, especially in summer and we forget about providing awesome customer service or even how to do it. We are also lured by the possibility of getting new clients that we can forget about our existing ones. We have all been there, so how do we fix it? Here are three reasons why your clients may be leaving you and how we can fix it:
1)You’re Not Showing Personal Interest
Now you don’t need to get all up in their business, but you should know them on somewhat of a personal level. Get to know their hobbies, their kids’ names, dogs’ names, where they like to visit, what they like to eat, etc. It is no surprise that we feel more comfortable with people that we know, like and trust. By showing some personal interest on who they are outside of the business we conduct with them, we turn our customers into friends. I often call this principle a “Foundation for Forgiveness”. Basically, anyone that is liked and trusted by another is building a strong foundation for the future if there is any issues that come up. Think about it. You are much less forgiving if a stranger breaks your window than if your buddy does it, right?
2)You’re Not Getting Ahead of the Complaints
This one is really important. You never want to be completely oblivious when it comes to customer complaints. They want you to be on top of everything and have a pulse on any possible issues. So this idea requires actively checking in on them. We want to do this by sending emails or calling them whenever there might be an issue. Or even learn from the good waitress and say “Just checking in on you…” or “Is there anything else I can do for you”. For this one we also have to know the properties well. Make suggestions that will make you look proactive no matter how small or tedious it may seem. A certain thing may not concern us, but it may concern our customers. So make sure you tell them about the dirt that accidentally flung on their car, or the rut you accidentally made behind the shed, or the tree branch that will need to be trimmed soon. If they still complain just take it, apologize and promise them that you will do better next time. No reason to argue. If anything they will appreciate that you noticed the issue and your honesty.
3)You’re Not Sending Proposals
There really is no better way to show how concerned you are about their property than to send proposals. If you see areas that could use some new plants, mulch, tree trimming, or any improvement at all don’t be shy to mention it! Many of us think that by doing so we will be seen as pushy and greedy, but honestly the customer appreciates any input on their property. If they don’t want suggestions, they will let you know. The truth is though, that all clients hire you because you are the professional. They trust your judgment and opinions and they want to know that you are playing an active role in making their property better. Do you feel like sometimes this may be a waste of time because you don’t get any response or feedback on your proposals? Don’t feel that way because you have no idea how many times they will file it away and come back a few months later and ask for it to be done. Trust me this is one of the best ways to be viewed as a hero and dramatically increase your revenue at the same time.
A lot of this may sound like common sense, but there are so many of us that get caught up in the hustle of the growing months that we need reminders like this. I know I do. Our best clients are not the ones that don’t exist yet. The best clients are the ones that we are already working for. So don’t be afraid to get to know them and find out more about them. Be vigilant in what you and your guys are doing. Avoid complaints as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to tell on yourself if you need to. It will save a lot of headaches down the road. Lastly, send as many proposals as possible for each of your properties. Be aware of everything and take lots of notes for each property and don’t hesitate to talk to your clients about the improvements needed. Just check in from time to time. Make them feel special and they will make your life a whole lot better. They will like you, trust you, give you more work and forgive you for years to come. Heck, they may even tip you.