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View Full Version : "well, you don't want your clients talking bad about you..."


bobbygedd
10-08-2005, 06:09 AM
let me ask you pros a question, you guys, with your 6 month waiting lists, and pre qual clientelle...... i have heard it here, one million times: "always leave on a good note, always do the right thing, you don't want your ex customers talking bad about you, bad news travels fast....blah blah blah.....". so let me ask you this HOW CAN THIS POSSIBLY BE AVOIDED? if you have policies, reasonable ones, and you enforce them, you are GARENTEED to p!ss people off, and yes indeed, they will talk trash on you. if you don't enforce your policies, you are a sucker, and doomed. here are 3 scenerios that have happened to me, in the last 2 months alone: put in some plants last year, customer never watered, they were sickly, but made it through the winter. in this years drought, they slowly died. client asked to have them replaced, i said yup, at the usual fee. warrenty has expired, and you never watered. he was a bit disgruntled, but agreed. ok, i replace them at the full price, he doesn't water, and within 4 weeks they are skeletons. he demands to have them replaced, nope, sorry, you don't water, i don't replace. the end result-" bobby doesn't back his product." scene #2- i aerated and seeded 3 neighbors in a row, 2 of them watered, thier lawns are beautiful. one didn't water, she does not have even one piece of grass, none. she wants it re-done. nope, i aint doin it. no water, no grass, period. the outcome:" bobby does shoddy work, and doesn't back his product." scene #3- client was habitually late on his payments. it was a constant volley of cancelling service, waiting for payment, reinstating service, cancelling again, and so on. i finally got paid up to date, and cancelled him. the end result-" bobby is unreasonable, and is constantly demanding money." tell me HOW on god's earth, you can avoid being badmouthed. using these 3 scenes, what would you have done differently?

battags
10-08-2005, 06:46 AM
Bobby,

You just need to be more tactfull. My definition of 'Tact' is...

"The ability to tell someone to go to Hell, in such a manor that they anticipate the trip".

By reading years of your posts, I sometimes get the feeling that you forget the second part and just tell people to go to hell! Be smooth about it. I have never, as I'd guess to be true of the majority of LS members, had the negative experiences that you report. I don't wish your luck on anybody! Whew!

Brian

BryPaulD
10-08-2005, 06:55 AM
Make sure they know warranty doesn't cover things like non watering. People will talk $hit know matter what. Make sure more good things are said vs. bad. Always remember there are two sides to every story. Ask them if they could live without water.

Nosmo
10-08-2005, 09:35 AM
I can't tell you how to keep a customer or former customer from bad mouthing you .

The customer with the plants must be an idiot if what you say is true about never watering .

The same goes with the woman who never watered her aerated and seeded lawn. Even a monkey is not an idiot --Monkey See Monkey Do. Her neighbors were watering
their lawns.

The one who claims you are always wanting money is another idiot type case. Who thinks someone is going to work on their property and never going to ask to be paid ?

The ones bad mouthing you verbally if it gets bad enough
can be sued for slander if you want to pursue it. If any of them puts some of this BS in writing then you have grounds for a libel suit.

We have free speech in America but there are also limits.

Nosmo

roscioli
10-08-2005, 10:13 AM
The one very simple solution to this is top secret, but maybe I can share it here for my lawnsite friends to learn from:

COMMUNICATION

If you saw them not watering, you should have stopped and knocked on their door or called and said "sir/ma'am: i noticed that your lawn/plant wasnt being watered as it should, if you would like I could spend some time here and water it, but I would of course have to charge, so you might be better off doing it yourself. If it isnt watered consistently I wont be able to gaurantee that it will survive."

AND a chance to upsell the plant guy the second time around: Sir, I will add Terra-Sorb Hydrogel Crystals (or similar) to help retain the water so if you miss a watering it won't hurt as much. This will be an extra charge of $XX, but will be worth it. Maybe I should have recommended it the first time around, but it is only needed when watering will be missed... etc..

As for the guy who didn't pay on time, I seriously doubt he is bashing you to his friends, and if he is, I am sure they see through it, or know that he is bad with money.

bobbygedd
10-08-2005, 10:15 AM
curious as to why you sold your business in 2003

grassyfras
10-08-2005, 10:41 AM
Ya you should say something. If you know there gonna be PITA.

lawnprosteveo
10-08-2005, 10:58 AM
I don't think anyone can avoid that stuff. I have bent over backwards for people (before I had a service contract) and couldn't please everybody. Now, with a contract, at least I can say "it's in your contract." If you're in business long enough with enough customers you will eventually be bad-mouthed by somebody....no matter what.

TURFLORD
10-08-2005, 11:33 AM
If an EX customer wants to bad mouth me............here it comes...........................wait for it...................ASK ME IF I CARE :sleeping:

proenterprises
10-08-2005, 05:16 PM
"Customer's who complain are our best friends, because they give us an opportunity to improve"-Stew Leonard. Think about this.
Scene 1-State in contract that waranty it void unless a regular watering regimen is performed.
Scene 2-Ditto Scene 1
Scene 3-All accounts must be kept current, if not, immediate termination of service will be instated.

3 Problems solved.
If they chose to bad mouth you, it will only happen once, keep adding as problems arise...

topsites
10-08-2005, 05:42 PM
I don't think anyone can avoid that stuff. I have bent over backwards for people (before I had a service contract) and couldn't please everybody. Now, with a contract, at least I can say "it's in your contract." If you're in business long enough with enough customers you will eventually be bad-mouthed by somebody....no matter what.

I agree, thou I also think tact goes a long ways... I'm not talking about bending over backwards (because I've done it too and it's not worth it) but I AM talking about:
- Do NOT take your anger out on them such as by driving ruts into the turf with your mower.
- TRY not to cuss them out. Walking away from a bad situation is one thing, making it worse is another: Letting them have the last word helps.
- If I have to, this is one of the reasons I cross some off my schedule without notice: I don't WANT to tell them not because I'm being a b!7ch but because I don't want to start the snowball rolling.

In the end, two things come to mind:
1) Some WILL talk bad about you, it can not be avoided BUT the effect can be lessened and to some extent, they damage themselves as well.
2) If you fail to set your foot down, they will walk all over you AND your better customers will see that, and leave. So, setting your foot down gets rid of the crybaby bs, and either they dig it, or it's over. No reason to get nasty: Here's the choice, take it or leave it. If they can't see it AND don't want to leave it, then I make the choice for them but I don't rub it in by going 'ok I dun told you so and now I got to play the bad boy,' but a simple 'please call someone else and thank you for your time' is adequate.

This is also why sometimes I AGREE to do the work even thou I know I will never show up, JUST so I can get out of there with the least aggravation. It sucks, I would LIKE to tell them I'm not going to do it but then some would get all huffy and puffy and want to tell ME how it goes and so on... So that's all I'm trying to avoid is things getting like that in the first place...

roscioli
10-09-2005, 12:04 PM
Bobby- Sold my business because I stopped enjoying it, and I have a big thing about enjoying what you do for a living. Some people scoff when I say that because its not conventional thinking, but whatever...

Mr. Magpie
10-09-2005, 12:18 PM
"Customer's who complain are our best friends, because they give us an opportunity to improve"-Stew Leonard. Think about this.


Whoa, this is true. This one old guy kept bugging me about certain areas, and certain sprinklers.... let's just say he taught me how to trim a lawn right!

One idea Bobby: When you install plants, you should make up some really tightassed rule that you have about needing to charge them for a thorough sprinkler servicing in order for them to qualify for the plant warranty. Then tell them you will waive it if they PROMISE to water, since you appreciate their business so much. This will strike fear in them right to the core about their plants potentially dying of starvation AND they will feel like a privelaged customer at the same time. Try it and tell me what happens, Im out.

sheshovel
10-09-2005, 02:56 PM
Topsites you know that drives me nuts about you..The sometimes agreeing to do the work then never show up part! :blob3:
You really gotta stop that!
Because THAT is reason to talk bad about a company is the fact they are unreliable . :angry:
THAT will eventually bite you back in this biz.
It is lieing to the customer,inconveniencing them and making them mad and mad people discuss the guy who make them mad to everybody 10 fold!!
It is so much better for you and the customer if you just have the communication skills
(and I know you do)
and the courage to look them in the eye and say
"I'm sorry ,but we just don't see eye to eye on this and you need to call someone else" .......
and walk away!
Whats the problem Topsites?..NEVER say you are going to accept work and agree to do it then just don't show..
I cannot stress this enough
it is
BAD business :blob3:

Brianslawn
10-09-2005, 05:01 PM
everyone talks bad about walmart, and they dont seem to have too many problems finding customers

battags
10-11-2005, 01:55 AM
Bobby- Sold my business because I stopped enjoying it, and I have a big thing about enjoying what you do for a living. Some people scoff when I say that because its not conventional thinking, but whatever...


Words of a very wise man......

If only more people would understand this philosophy, we would live in a much happier society.

Brian