We joined Kevin Moore from Outdoor Living With the Pros for a discussion on plants and the nature of Value, Quality & Service. Click on the player to hear the podcast.
When handling unsatisfied customers it’s important to recognize why they’re complaining. If you don’t know what the problem is, then it’ll be rather difficult to determine your response to landscape complaints. Here are some helpful tips to deal with an angry customer.
Talk To Them Before Your Response to Landscape Complaints
This may Sound obvious but we sometimes assume we know what the problem is before any discussion. Talk to the customer and ask them what made them unhappy with the service you provided. Are they frustrated with the lawn service? Did you order the wrong colored pavers? Where the wrong plants used in the wrong place?
When providing a service, of any kind, there are a number of things that might go wrong and it’s up to the business supplying the service to make things right again. And while you won’t be able to please everyone all of the time, you need to do your best to keep the consumer in question as a customer. Sometimes this means going above and beyond your normal job duties in order to make this happen.
If they call the office to make a complaint on the telephone, you need to realize that they’re expecting the problem to be resolved. They’re giving you the opportunity to offer a response to landscape complaints which means you need to fix it as quickly as possible. When customers complain, they aren’t trying to do damage to your business; they just want the issue taken care of.
If a customer leaves a negative review on Social Media, that generally means that they’re done dealing with you. Maybe the issue wasn’t corrected or their expectations haven’t been met.
All hope is not lost however, because you still have the opportunity to avoid future problems. Take a look at how your business is handling things and consider the fact that you might need to tweak or overhaul how your company is operating. Listed below are helpful ways to deal with unhappy customers when running a lawn care business:
Solve the Problem
If there is a problem, it’s best to solve it as soon as possible. Letting it go by the wayside does nothing to retain an angry customer. Little problems can also become even bigger problems and this can happen quickly, so it’s best to make things right, right away.
Listen and Learn
Ask the customer why they are upset and then actually listen to what they have to say. Don’t interrupt them while they are talking because doing so may create resentment. The client may think you don’t care about their point of view. When they’re finished talking, be sure to repeat what they just said, so that once again, they know that you’re listening…. a response to landscape complaints might be something like “Yes, the pump on the fountain isn’t working, and yes, we’ll be out to replace it tomorrow afternoon.”
After talking to the customer, it’s best to go back and examine your notes to see if maybe you missed something. Gather your team and talk to them as well. Did someone make a mistake? Look at the issue from the viewpoint of the customer and try to put yourself in their shoes. If this was your yard, how would you feel if something went wrong? If you discover that you or your team did something wrong, apologize to the customer and do what you need to do in order to fix whatever it was that went wrong.
What I mean by this is don’t hide behind your computer when something goes wrong. Get out there and make things right! A customer is more likely to respect you when you visit them at home or at their place of business.
It’s best to document every home or business that you landscape. You should have a file for each consumer that you service. Keeping good records allows you to backtrack in the event that something DOES go wrong.
It’s not a matter of if something goes wrong, it’s a matter of when, and you should always be prepared to make things right. When keeping documentation, however, it’s always best to be organized.
Cut Your Losses
While this method should be a last resort it may need to be considered in response to landscape complaints. When dealing with the public, it’s important to realize that you’re not going to get along with everyone. When this happens take a step back and determine whether or not this is a customer worth keeping.
However, if the customer is demanding and the two of you are not a good match, then don’t be afraid to speak up. You may want to refund their money after fixing their lawn, or you could always refer them to another landscape company. Perhaps you know of someone who might be better suited to meet their needs.
Observe the Outcome
Take note of what happened after the response to landscape complaints. Did you order the wrong flowers? Was an employee late, again? Determine what you can do in the future to make sure that you, or your employees, don’t make the same mistake twice.
No matter the complaint, it’s always best to keep a level head because it does nothing for you or your business if you get upset every time something goes wrong. In fact, feeling hurt of injured only tends to make the situation worse than it already is. So, if you get a complaint from a customer, smile, be polite and do your best to make things right!
Rainwater harvesting is a very simple technique that anyone can practice, no matter what part of the country you’re in. All you need is an effective rainwater harvesting system.
Harvesting rainwater is the process of collecting rainwater and storing it for future use. Though it’s an old method for storing water, it’s highly effective and proves to be a highly reliable option. Here are some advantages of rainwater harvesting for your landscaping clients.
1. Rainwater Harvesting is good for the pocketbook.
Do your customers think that they don’t get enough rainfall for rainwater harvesting to be worthwhile? If so, then just point out the fact that even with only 1/2 inch of rainfall, a 1,500 sq ft house can accumulate nearly 500 gallons of water!
To put this into perspective, the average American uses 50 gallons of water for one car wash, so that’s 10 free car washes! The average car wash service is $6.34, so that’s $63 dollars of savings for minimal effort.
And of course, a rainwater harvesting system can be directed at free watering for landscaping, which means more potential opportunities for your company projects!
2. Rainwater is healthier for plants.
This one is a no brainer. It’s proven that rainwater is just healthier for plants compared to any other water source. For instance, unlike regular water, rainwater is slightly acidic and contains minerals and nutrients that plants love – like sulfur and potash.
It also contains no salt, so there’s no need to worry about salt causing any potential harm to the plants.
Because of the above factors, plants that reap the benefits of rainwater harvesting will be greener and healthier.
And if that isn’t enough reason to make the switch to harvesting rainwater, then here’s another one:
You can sometimes get free fertilizer in the form of nitrogen solution when there are thunder storms.
Your clients will definitely be shocked to hear this (pun intended).
3. Lower supply – greater demand.
On a more somber note, it’s no secret that many parts of the world are currently suffering water shortages. For example, it was a big story in international news that Cape Town South Africa will be the first major city in the world to run out of water.
And in the United States, Flint Michigan hasn’t had clean drinking water since 2014.
So clearly we shouldn’t take free and clean water for granted – and this is what rainwater harvesting allows. The possibilities are continuing to evolve so being a pioneer could be a game changer for your company.
Our hardscape supply partner, Techo-Bloc, has permeable pavers that have assisted in making them a leader in the Rainwater Harvesting arena. We have access to experts that will be glad to advise you on projects that would benefit from this technology.
Here is a contractor project that might offer some insight:
Retaining walls and landscaping are often used in commercial and residential premises. Walls assist with great elevations and slopes to hold back soil and prevent erosion. In landscaping, retaining walls that are low can be used for planting beds and add to the curb appeal of land that was previously flat.
Employing services of landscape designers to layout a retaining wall and landscaping project is important. Skill and keenness are needed to prevent the wall from leaning, bulging or cracking and becoming useless in the future. Keeping in mind the drainage, base, back fill, and height of the retaining wall is key before commencing construction.
Types of Retaining Walls
There are four major types of retaining walls. Putting them up will depend on the size to be erected, soil type and materials available.
1. Anchored Retaining Wall
Anchors are mechanically directed into the soil attached by strips and cables to support an assortment of fronts of the retaining wall. Ends of anchors undergo expansion after pressurized concrete or other mechanical means are used to create this physical change. Anchored retaining walls are best for thinner walls.
2. Gravity Retaining Walls and Landscaping
Commonly used by landscapers, gravity retaining walls use mass and weight to keep the soil compact and prevent erosion. Materials used to erect these walls range from bricks, unmortared stone, pavers and dry-stacked stones. For shorter walls, reinforcement is done by digging a trench for the retaining wall to fit into.
3. Sheet Piling Retaining Wall
In areas with limited space, this wall is what you need. A very thin wall made of vinyl, wood or steel is driven in the soil at least 1/3 of the length. Additional reinforcement is done by erecting a corrugated structure vertically. This type of retaining wall is suitable for areas with softer and lighter soil. If you intend to put up a larger wall, strengthen the piling with an anchored retaining wall.
4. Cantilevered Retaining Wall
Usually taking an L-shape, cantilevered retaining walls have steel bars immersed in concrete or retaining walls from masonry attached to a slab foundation. The wall remains sturdy for a long time because the weight of the soil above exerts a lot of pressure on the slab.
Block retaining walls and landscaping are commonly used because the materials used during construction are easily available. The advantage of block retaining walls is their sturdy and durable aspect that makes it an investment. You can now seed your field and with time you will have a lawn growing on healthy conserved soil. This area of landscaping conserves the environment by preventing the occurrence of rills and gullies caused by running water.
Mulching is one of the best techniques that homeowners and landscapers can use to maintain the health of their trees. This is because it’s known for its ability to make the growing environment more favorable.
However, over mulching can turn out to be one of the most severe landscaping mistakes that a homeowner or landscaper can make. It will lead to damage to saplings as well as other plants.
Therefore, you need to know how to calculate mulch. This is the main reason why using proper mulching techniques in landscaping is recommended.
Bear in mind that the proper mulching depth should range between 2 and 4 inches.
If applied appropriately, the mulch will assist in:
- maintaining moisture in the soil
- weed control
- enhancing the structure of the soil
- preventing certain types of plant diseases
Additionally, mulch plays a vital role in protecting plants from weed whacker damage and lawn mower blight.
Mulch also gives your planting bed a uniform and well cared for appearance. For this reason, every landscape care provider must know how to mulch.
However, excessive mulch can cause numerous complications for homeowners. For this reason, you need to determine how much mulch to buy when it comes to mulching landscape beds.
Complications resulting from excessive mulching include:
- Too much moisture in the root region leading to tree stress and making the roots rot
- Insects and tree illness issues
- Micro-nutrient venomousness
- A high rate of weed growth
- Stinking planting beds that are caused by the sour mulch and anaerobic conditions
- Creation of hiding place for rodents that eat the back and girdle of trees
It’s evident that the type of mulch selected and the technique of application can be vital to the well being of your trees. Here are the tips to help you do the right thing when applying mulch.
- Examine the plants and soil in the zone that you intend to mulch and find out if the drainage is adequate.
- Determine the depth of the mulch and never add mulch if there’s already an adequate layer. Check the existing mulch to segregate any entwined layers and refresh the appearance.
- In case the mulch is heaped around the stems and tree trunks, pull it back multiple inches to expose the base truck and root crown of the tree.
Proper Mulching Techniques
In most cases, organic mulches are considered to be better than inorganic mulches since they have the required properties to improve the soil. In case you choose to use organic mulch, make sure it’s well aerated and composed. Never use sour-smelling mulch.
Composted wood pieces can form excellent mulch, particularly when they contain a variety of leaves, bark, and wood. Don’t use non composted wood pieces that are heaped deep without being exposed to oxygen.
Put a 2-4 inch layer of your mulch if your site has good drainage. If there are some drainage issues, try to use a thinner layer. Never put mulch against the trunks of trees. Following these recommendations for proper mulching techniques will lead to successful plant maintenance and growth.