Many marketing experts state that the cost of acquiring a new customer can be as much as five times higher than the cost of retaining an existing customer. When you factor in all of the variables, including the time it would take for a new customer to become profitable for your landscape business, this number doesn’t seem too far fetched.
Of course, anyone in business knows that keeping customers happy and having them come back year after year is no small task. Even if your work is extraordinary, both residential and commercial customers need more than a job well done to remain loyal. Here are some tips and tactics to help keep your lawn care customers happy and increase customer retention.
Adopt a Specific Retention Strategy
Making retention part of your overall business strategy is a great place to start when it comes to keeping lawn care customers happy. When you have an official process in place, it will become part of the routine and every member of the team will be able to get on board. You’ll also be able to measure whether everyone is doing their part to make it happen.
Don’t Always Rush to a Solution
As a business person, your first instinct may be to offer solutions immediately upon hearing feedback, but that may be a mistake. It’s important to remember that the person on the other end of the line is a person first, and they want to be heard. Take the time to listen to every word and then reply. It will make them feel like they are being heard and they will feel appreciated.
Allow for Some Face Time
Email has become the preferred method of communication for many of us these days, but it’s also important to give customers some face time, too. If a customer is having an issue and you feel that it’s bigger than just an email, take the time to visit and meet in person. There is a different energy and you’ll be able to gauge the tone much better to provide a viable solution.
If lawn care customers feel like all of their needs can be met in one place, they will be less likely to shop around for other service providers. That’s not to say you should try to be all things to all customers, but aim for a diverse lawn care operation that provides all the basics, and let them know to come to you first with any new request so you can find the appropriate solution. If there are services you don’t offer that you feel your customers may want, you can reach out to businesses that provide those services and partner with them so your customer still goes through you.
If you let customers know in the initial contract that their service will be auto-renewed unless they cancel it, you will have less turnover from season to season. This will help simplify the process for everyone, and if they are happy with the service you provide, they won’t be thinking of canceling. You can send out an email or letter in the spring to let customers know that the season will be starting soon, and that can act as their cue to cancel if they so desire.
Maintain Discounts for Established Customers
Everyone likes a deal so don’t be stingy and only offer discounts to new clients. Instead, show your established customers just how much you continue to value their business by providing them with repeat customer discounts. As mentioned above, the cost to keep existing customers is less than acquiring new ones, so letting them know you appreciate their business with various deals and discounts will help keep them around.
Some examples of discounts you can offer your customers include:
- Percentage discounts off specific services
- Discounts for combining two or more services
- Discounts for pre-paying for a specific period of time
- Referral discounts for sending new clients that sign a contract
Surveys and Questionnaires
The best way to find out what is on your customer’s minds is to ask them directly. You can prepare a list of general questions and send them out to each one of your customers before the lawn care season begins, or for a greater impact, you can prepare specific questions for each customer.
For example, create a list of 5 to 10 general questions that are for everyone, then add 5 more that are specific to that customer’s property and services. Not only will this make them feel special, like you took the time to cater to their needs, but it could represent a good upsell opportunity. You can send out these questions via email, or through regular mail, if that’s what your customer prefers.
Use a Proven Software
Having all of your lawn care customer information organized in one central location is a key component to keeping them happy and retaining them from season to season. Using proven software that’s designed specifically for the landscaping industry will allow you to streamline your entire business process, including customer service and relationship management. It will be easy to stay on top of issues and keep your customers happy and feeling like you care about their needs.
Keeping your lawn care customers happy will not only create a firm foundation for your company but will also help you win new clients. Most of the time, if a consumer is happy with their service then they will recommend the company to their friends and family. Word of mouth is a powerful tool in not only building your landscape business but also keeping it flourishing.
It’s important to remember that while lawn care is important to keep a property looking great, it is a non-essential service and there is always going to be competition. This is why it’s crucial to make your customers feel like they are taken care of and nurture those relationships like you would any other. Take a tour of Arborgold today and take your landscaping business to the next level.