Building successful customer relationships is the cornerstone of any service-based business. As a landscape contractor, we interact with our customers on a daily basis at all levels of the company, from crewmen to our top executives. While we all know that good customer service is essential to maintaining customer relationships, many of us might be guilty of becoming complacent over time and forgetting the obvious in our daily customer interactions. It’s important to remember that a little goes a long way and that customers notice the extra effort that you put into a relationship.
With that in mind, here are a few basic rules of customer service that will help us put our best foot forward:
- Image: Take pride in the company you represent and make sure to look your best. Do your part to keep company vehicles and equipment clean and pay attention to your personal brand—is your shirt neat and clean, and your hair and face tidy?
- Customer Expectations: We always strive to exceed customer expectations. Efficiently managing job schedules and hustling through tasks to meet our deadlines will help us to consistently go above and beyond what is expected.
- Turning a Negative into a Positive: Making a mistake is not the end of the world. Recognizing a mistake and putting in the effort to fix it allows more room for improvement and builds customer loyalty. Take constructive criticism and use it as a means to improve the quality of individual and group work.
- Building rapport is an important part of customer service because it strengthens the relationship with clients and allows us to be more successful out in the field. Take interest in the customers personally as well as professionally, take the time to get to know them outside of work. Start with a firm handshake and say their name; it is the sweetest sound to their ears because it shows you really know who they are.
- Communication: Frequent and thorough communication allows for a clear understanding of expectations and provides an opportunity to give feedback early and often. Don’t forget that body language is a key part of face-to-face communication. Be sure to make eye contact when speaking to someone, and share a smile every so often.
- Quality Control: “Inspect what you’d expect”—if something looks wrong, fix it. You should demonstrate the same dedication towards our customers’ job sites as you would on your own home.
- Execute: Finish strong; after 90% of the job is complete and the day is almost done, don’t give up on that last 10%. Give it your all and don’t settle for any less.
Remember that when you interact with a customer, you are the face of the company and represent our values and our culture to that individual. Every interaction is a chance to make a good impression. As we head into the New Year, let’s take this opportunity to revisit customer service best practices so that we can continue to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. Warm wishes for this holiday season!