“Human connections are everything, in your personal life and in business”
Every long-lasting business relationship survives because it is a “win-win” for both parties. In the case of your lawn care business as well, the customer should be happy with the value your service provides, and you with what the customer pays you for it. That being said, the relationship isn’t purely transactional. Turning these transactions into long-lasting customer relationships is critical to building a company that lasts.
The question is, how should you go about it? Here are a few tips you might find helpful:
1. Invest in Relationships
Here’s what we have learned – If your customers feel nurtured, cared for, appreciated, they will be more forgiving, understanding, and compassionate when there’s a problem. If your customers are mistreated, ignored, unappreciated, or neglected they might not be satisfied even when everything is going as per plan.
There are a lot of practices that you can adopt as a business to invest in relationships. An example of this is the people at Northern Lawns Inc. who provide tips and tricks on what their customers can do to improve their lawns. Adding value to your customer’s life goes a long way. Sending holiday messages, giving the occasional discount, etc. are some of the other ways businesses can really build a rapport with the customers.
You need to find a way to go above and beyond really. Treat them like kings and queens. If the relationship with your client is not personal, there are chances they might find some other lawn care provider who does go above and beyond.
2. Always Deliver On Your Commitments
Whenever a customer hires you to maintain their lawn or garden, they intend to continue with you for an extended period of time. In short, they want a long-term relationship. Finding a trustworthy service provider is as big a challenge for customers as it is for you to find a new customer. The most important factor that determines the longevity of your customer relationships is the quality of your service. Delivering diligently on the commitments you made while starting the relationship sounds simple, but you’d be surprised to know how many businesses go wrong here.
Over-promising and under-delivering is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business. Not only does it impact your reputation, but also directly impacts growth; especially in an industry like lawn care that is driven by word-of-mouth. So the next time you promise the sun and the moon, ensure you have the firepower to get there.
When you hold true to your commitments, you gain trust and that is when you become the first choice for their business in the future.
3. Transparent & Consistent Communication is the Key
Companies that keep open channels of communication with their customers often build long-lasting relationships. With time, customers build a sense of loyalty to your services and become less likely to move to other vendors even if there are a few hiccups in your services. Hiccups do come and sometimes things do go wrong. It is always best to be honest and transparent in such scenarios. Accepting your mistake is a trustworthy action.
Denying or hiding it and blaming others is not. If your customers come to know that you are hiding something then it really breaks their trust and you are perceived as a “shady contractor”.
Additionally, communication should never be a one-way street – it’s important that customers are able to share their views on your service and suggest improvements. Moreover, if they see you accepting their feedback and implementing it in your services, they feel valued. This is a giant leap towards building a lasting relationship.
If you work on annual contracts, consistent communication becomes even more critical. You shouldn’t just reach out to customers when the contract’s about to end. It’s always advisable to have regular conversations with your customer to get feedback and communicate the same to your crew.
This ensures two things –
1. You are able to work together consistently and incorporate customer feedback to ensure success
2. There are no surprises when you approach the customer for the all-important renewal conversation
4. Customer Retention is As Important As Customer Acquisition
Talking about renewals, customer retention is crucial to run a profitable lawn care business. Attracting new customers can cost businesses up to 5 times more than retaining current customers. A list of long-standing repeat customers can give you a solid cash flow to grow your business. Whereas, a high customer churn will have you constantly chasing new customers, leading to slow growth.
Long-term customers also often bring in referrals that act as a critical channel for your revenue growth.
Be creative and personal with your customers, focus on identifying their problems and work on addressing them throughout your relationship. Do not focus on the short-term monetary gains as the long-term benefit is much higher.
Conduct surveys, feedback sessions with your clients after every project and implement their feedback to improve your customer experience. Build trust with your clients by being attentive to their needs and being receptive to their feedback. You’ll see the multiplicative effect it can have on your business.
Let us know your ideas and how you ensure a long relationship with your clients in the comments below.