So those are kind of the top three things that I look for. Again, number one is a fact are they reputable. Whether it's online, or from referrals from your neighbors. Number two, do they have good customer service? I can tell you when you give that phone call, that initial shot, if they don't call you back right away, or they don't call you in a reasonable amount of time, you're kind of looking to what the service is going to be looking like for the future. And number three, are they insured?
While traveling back from Canada this week I found myself in LAX Airport searching for food to hold me over till my return to Reno. Since the options were slim and the lines were long, I chose to wait in a 20+ person line at Burger King since I was in no rush for my next flight. While the three cashiers were working hard at pumping people through the line, there was still a limit as to how fast Whoppers can cook and french fries can deep fry. Before I knew it there were more people who had ordered and were now waiting than people in line to order. I found myself holding ticket order #89 as the server said, “Number 62!!!” at which I realized I would be here for some time.
While I sat back and watched the angry mob tap their feet, look at their watches, and start to panic, it was evident that Burger King was doing their job as correctly and efficiently as possible, but it was the inpatient customers who were just not smart to order if they were pressed for time before their next flight. There were two specific people that demanded that their food be served to them right away or they would miss their flight. The lack of patience was beyond me and it was obvious that there were just a few customers that realized Burger King was doing everything they could.
So why write about this experience? This was one of the few times that I witnessed a business that was failing by doing everything right! Many people ended up getting their food and walking away frustrated even though the employees at Burger King were working as fast as they possibly could. Although this is a unique situation due to the different customer base in an airport, other businesses should know how to react if the demand is way greater than what can be supplied.
1.) Be real with your customer up front:
In the case with the Burger King situation, it would have been helpful for the cashiers to give the customer a heads up regarding the approximate wait time before the customer committed to buy. With my business, this means being honest with a customer that if I am busy it might be a few weeks till I can get to a job, even if that means losing the bid anyway. I would rather lose the job than have a person pissed off because it took me an unreasonable time to complete. What does this look like for your business?
2.) Keep the customer informed:
Since patience is so hard to come by these days it is important to keep the customer informed on what the holdup is. In the Burger King situation, there was a delay on the fries to be cooked so the server was smart to make an announcement to the angry mob as to why it looked like everyone was standing around (this was due to waiting on an item to cook).
3.) Smile and Apologize:
It is strange how this step does so much and is understandably hard for an employee to swallow his/her pride and apologize for something they didn’t do wrong. Sometimes you can rectify the situation by just being nice in the end. A simple, “I am sorry sir for the wait, I hope you enjoy your meal” might just make up for the impatience of the customer. Although a pissed off customer probably won’t hurt this specific Burger King, due to it being in an airport without a consistent customer base, it hurts the business as a whole if a customer walks away believing that “every Burger King has slow service” which will prevent them from returning to any Burger King in the future.
I read an article today on the 8 rules to good customer service, which made me think if Cory's Lawn Service was keeping to these 8 rules? This is a area of a business that is probably the most key for success, because if you don't go out of your way for your customers then your customers will go out of their way find someone who will. I realize there are hundreds of lawn care trucks driving around in Reno everyday, so why should someone choose Cory's Lawn Service to take care of their property instead of the other guy? Before reading this article I prided myself on our over all customer service, and I still do, but I can see there are still some obvious ways we can improve to help our customers. (Quick Story) A few years ago my wife and I were picking out our Christmas Tree from a lot. I have never really thought about desiring good customer service at a tree lot because its a once a year purchase and half the time I forget where we got I tree the year before. Anyway, after selecting our tree I realized I did not have any cash and told the tree guy we would be back to pick up the tree once we went to the ATM. Right then the guy loaded our tree up in my truck and said, "Just bring the money by later this week whenever convenient. You guys have a nice evening". Since that day, I have continued to return to the same Christmas tree lot year after year and recommend my friends there as well.
So, how can a lawn care service provided a similar type of wow reaction? How can we stand out above the crowd? How can we better serve our customers? This is where the lawn care business can not just be about mowing the lawn and getting the job done, because honestly the next door neighbors kid can do that for a lot cheaper. It means, consistently thinking about small things that customers enjoy that you necessarily don't get paid for. It means, owning up to your mistakes and fixing them. It even means, taking the extra time to chat when Mr. Johnson comes outside to pay you.
Although nobody is perfect, as a business owner it is a priority for us to be thinking and applying these steps daily. If you are a current customer who is reading this I want to know if there are ways we are excelling or lacking in our customer service? Let us know your thoughts, good or bad.
Well it has been over 9 months since Cory's Lawn Service has last blogged, and it is time to get back on the horse and try again. The purpose of this blog is going to be about lawn care, obviously. I want to provide my customers, and anyone else who wants to read, with information and tips about lawn care in Reno. I also want to discuss about Cory's Lawn Service as a local business in Reno, what we are doing, what service we are providing, and what things we are working on to better serve our customers and community. Since starting Cory's Lawn Service in 2006 I have gone from knowing nothing about lawn care or owning a small business to currently having over 100 repeat customers yearly. Over the years I have sought out the tricks of the trade, advise from other local landscape companies, and learned some good old fashion trial and error. Ultimately I have learned to strive for outstanding customer service which translates first to having happy employees and owning up to my mistakes. I believe that it is specifically because of our customer service, that we have repeat customers year after year. Using this blog is another way that I want to continue our excellent customer service by letting people know what things they can do to help their lawns along with other valuable information, discussions, and tips.
Thank you for taking the time to check out Cory's Lawn Service blog. I know according to the calender we are still at the tail end of winter, but we look forward to the upcoming mowing season, along with helping you with anything that you might need done around your property. I am so appreciative of the customers year after year that trust and enjoy the work we do.