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The dog in customers

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How to measure client loyalty in the lawn and landscape industry.

Steve Baxter | April 4, 2013

Nothing is more critical to the success or decline of a lawn care and landscape business than what customers think or say about its products and services. As a rule, lawn care and landscape business owners and managers who understand and appreciate the significance of customer loyalty are the ones most likely to thrive. Those that don’t “get it” generally experience challenges that can seep into multiple areas of operations, including overall sales as well as recruitment and retention of loyal customers and employees alike.

Lawn care and landscape businesses that deliver a customer experience which drives engagement and generates strong recommendation behavior on all levels will get a higher return. Customer experience directly impacts referrals, repurchase, renewals and reputation. Today’s competitive market, combined with word of mouth through the web, amplifies the impact customer loyalty has on financial performance at a business, particularly so with lawn care and landscape companies that are part of a chain or larger system.

Net Promoter Score is the most widely adopted customer loyalty metric today. However, it’s become increasingly important for lawn care and landscape business owners and managers to go beyond just “knowing their number” to analyzing and understanding the feedback they receive and use it to actually improve their establishment.

Loyal customers have a profound effect on those around them, so it is important to have a way to identify and mobilize advocates as well as close the loop and address customers who have gone negative. Knowing what customers are saying about your services, and being able to segment drivers or aspects of that sentiment, creates insight that you can in fact act upon to help improve customer experience or maintain customer loyalty.

If your lawn care and landscape business is part of a chain or franchise, the systems’ intricate structures and hundreds upon thousands of locations can make it difficult to thoroughly measure, understand and address customer loyalty feedback. But, new software approaches that deliver Net Promoter are making this possible, moving from being a packaged commodity to a complete system that delivers insights and actions that drive success.

For example, Satmetrix software, NPS Go+, pulls feedback and survey responses from across the entire system using varied sources such as call centers, training groups, implementation teams as well as social media conversations, and provides segmented reporting and detailed analysis. The software helps lawn care and landscape business owners and managers identify promoters and detractors and implement better strategies, based on that feedback, to improve customer loyalty.

Results are achieved by recovering detractors and mobilizing promoters, allowing you to contain or increase revenue. Alert management and reporting by segment lets you take specific action and extend it to improve operations. Mobilizing new promoters and reducing the detractors allow business owners and managers to do that quickly. NPS Go+ delivers quickly by delivering insights and routing alerts to the appropriate people throughout your system.

This results in making improvements in operations that directly impact and improve customer experience, and getting a return on your investment faster by delivering more revenue through retention, renewals and upsells. NPS Go+ can be up and running in less than a week.

Promoters are those who recommend your products and services, both in person and online. They tend to provide stronger value not only in their own purchase behavior, but in the effect they have on others. Detractors are those who view your products and services negatively, and it is important to be able to act quickly and address these at-risk customers as soon as problems emerge.

Closing the loop with detractors not only minimizes negative business impact, but real attention paid to such customers often fosters loyalty and transforms a detractor into a promoter. Satmetrix software solutions offer real-time feedback allowing business owners and managers to identify at risk customers or segments that require action. Shortly after negative feedback is received, business owners or managers are alerted about the issue and can immediately respond, and when appropriate, put a recovery plan in place.

Role-based dashboards and home page reporting make it easier for the most appropriate employees in every unit to monitor and address customer loyalty by unit. Lawn care and landscape businesses are able to track loyalty by team, department, region, product or survey program, making it easier to identify and implement specific tactical process improvements that improve customer experience.

Satmetrix software can be integrated into the workflow that a lawn care and landscape business already uses with its front line, such as Salesforce or Outlook, making operations efficient and reducing administrative overhead. Reports describe what customers are actually saying and are tailored to each role and each employee. Your business grows by leveraging relationships with promoters and closing the loop and recovering detractors.

Understanding customer feedback across the entire operations of a business and being responsive to both negative and positive customers provide a complete picture of your customer world, generating much higher return and success for all facets of the brand.

To read about how a landscaping company uses the Net Promoter Score, click here.

Steve Baxter is the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales for Satmetrix, Inc., the co-creator of the Net Promoter Score concept.
 

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