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The customer is right, except …

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Educate clients on your expertise so they understand how landscapes should look and work.

Kristen Hampshire | March 7, 2012

The customer is always right about their opinion of your service. The customer is always right to be frustrated or unimpressed with your service. “They are never wrong about that, and you need to listen and react,” says Sharon Serpico Hanson, CEO, Serpico Landscaping, Hayward, Calif.

But sometimes the customer is not right.

They can be wrong about how they think an irrigation system should be managed. They can be wrong about the way a landscape bed should be maintained. (But being wrong is not their fault.) “The customer is not always right about the decisions they make or what they ask you to do,” Serpico Hanson says.

That’s why education is a significant component of Serpico Landscaping’s business.

“We feel if you are going to hire us, we need to educate you because we are the subject matter experts – we are the professionals,” she says. “We know how to make your HOA shine and how to be really good stewards of your property. We know how to manage your water well and how to prune your trees – all of that.”

But if this expertise is not communicated to clients, who can blame them for an attitude of I’m-always-right?

Teach them. Client education is an ongoing effort, beginning with the initial client meeting where Serpico Landscaping’s capabilities are emphasized and continuing into the field, where staff uses technology to show clients ways the property can be improved.

Listen to them.
When a client has a beef, listen carefully. “Customers are always absolutely right in how they feel about your service, and you can never argue with that or second guess it,” Serpico Hanson says.

React to the problem. Ask questions. Make changes to the current service. Address customer concerns directly, and return to educating them. For example, an HOA client wants to know why there are charges for frequent irrigation system run-throughs. The client says this is not necessary. “We explain why it is necessary and that we want them to have enough information to make a good decision,” Serpico Hanson says.

At the end of the day, pleasing the customer comes down to communicating early and often. “It’s that ‘C’ word again,” Serpico Hanson says. “It’s a communication intensive business.”
   

 

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