View Full Version : Anyone think this might help get them back?

DFW Area Landscaper
03-11-2006, 11:47 AM
This is still in the "idea" stages, but I was thinking of sending out an exit interview to all clients who cancel. It might help to get some feedback as to why clients are cancelling service, as well as show the clients that we care about their business. The cost would be minimal, just a pair of stamps and two envelopes.

Anyone else have some thoughts as to what should or should not be addressed in the exit interview? Anyone think the exit interview is a good or bad idea?

DFW Area Landscaper

03-11-2006, 12:08 PM
An excellent idea if your turnover/attrition is high. You can't get better until you understand how well you are doing now. Giving people choices to choose from lets you know how to redirect and focus your efforts...good luck with it.

DFW Area Landscaper
03-11-2006, 12:22 PM
I already know that 90%+ are cancelling service due to A & D. Not much I can do about A & D because if they get laid off from work or they sell the house, you are fired no matter how happy they were.

Yesterday, I lost a client to a competitor who is going to trim the shrubs for free just to get the lawn mowing business. Because she had been with us 3 years, I asked her why she was cancelling. Normally, I don't ask because if they sense weakness, they will eat you alive. Plus I don't want them to feel like they will have pressure to stay with us if they ever return.

If they are canceling because they are finding other companies to do the work at lower prices...that is what I really want to know the answer to.

As for poor quality, I do expect a small percentage of cancellations over that. It's going to happen. You can't keep all the clients happy all the time. If I learn that half of them are cancelling due to poor quality, that would be eye opening. But I am certain our quality is good enough for the majority. I am not concerned about trying to please the chronic complainers.

DFW Area Landscaper

03-11-2006, 12:44 PM
We really don't worry about loosing our "mow and go's", because there are always more clients calling to sign up.

More importantly, I have found that the ones that cancel for reasons other than cost, we really didn't want anyways. These were the people that were expecting more than just a mow and go. These were the ones that would call about pidily stuff like "you missed behind the air conditioner" or "the edging is not exactly how I want it".

But you are right about not costing you much to send this out. Nothing ventured nothing gained! I know Just Mow It never asks why....they just give a friendly "let us know if we can help you in the future".

DFW Area Landscaper
03-11-2006, 12:58 PM

What is your minimum charge for mow & go? Are you firm on $25?

I am seeing some door hangers for $20 again this year. One guy is printing $16 and I got one at my house yesterday.

I think the exit interview is good for two things: It shows the client that we care about their business and more importantly, it will tell us if we are too far above market rates.

DFW Area Landscaper

03-11-2006, 01:01 PM
It's a very good idea DFW...always good to know why people quit. If you can do it anonymously, you'll probably get more honest responses.

I usually ask customers why, never hurts to ask.

03-11-2006, 01:24 PM
Its an excellent idea. A very wise man once said

"Customers who complain are our best friends because they give us an opportunity to improve"

Which is very true.

Kohls Landscaping Co
03-11-2006, 01:29 PM

I think that it's an excellent idea. The worst thing that is going to happen is that they won't respond. Take their comments as constructive criticism.

Another idea would be to send out maybe one survey during the middle of the season to let your customers voice their opinions about your services. This may save you losing a customer of two. I think it shows your customers that you care.

Like z_clark said, maybe not so much the mow 'n go's, but maintenance contracts.


Precision Lawns
03-11-2006, 01:30 PM
We've thought about doing this, but I wonder how many of them would actually return it to you? Of the customers we've had cancel, it's like they went into witness protection or something. They seriously drop off the face of the earth and will never again respond to a letter or phone call, even if they were easy enough to get a hold of before. Possibly having the ability to do it anonymously may get some people to complete an exit interview, but I'm not so sure. After the phone call or letter saying they're cancelling service, most of them close the book on us. I'd love it if the exit interview idea worked, since there's a couple of our ex-customers who we would LOVE to know why they cancelled, as they gave no indication that they were dissatisfied with anything, just up and cancelled and then dropped off the face of the earth.

03-11-2006, 01:30 PM
Excellent idea DFW.... I'm just not sure if people would be willing to take the time to fill 'em out.

03-11-2006, 01:32 PM
Yes, we are at a firm $24.99. I am paying labor by the yard, so anything less than that is just right off my cut! I have not run in to anyone charging lower over here...but I don't live in the area I mow, so I dont' get all the competitions advertisements. I can imagine you problems with pricing if these $18 guys are coming in....

My best customer is a lazy one! The one that is too lazy to pick up the phone and cancel....even if some one advertises a lower price. These customers are also too lazy to call and complain about piddly things.

I do like your idea, but still think that the ones who cancel are the ones that I didn't really want in the first place.

03-11-2006, 02:01 PM
If they canceled once they will cancel again..Get over it and find better clients. It's Just business nothing personal..

03-11-2006, 02:16 PM
I say take the time and energy spent on mailing out exit interviews for a mow and blow operation would be better spent on a direct mail ad campaign.

sure it only costs 2 stamps, ink and paper, and an envelope in direct costs.
But it also takes time to make, time to mail, time to correlate the results and in the end, I think you will find what you already know. Most people do things for irrational reasons.

If the market is churn and burn, then roll with it and just work on getting more clients and following the business plan.

03-11-2006, 02:19 PM
If they canceled once they will cancel again..Get over it and find better clients. It's Just business nothing personal..

You missed the whole point. Ok, try to follow.... Its not about getting customers back, its about how he can better improve and grow his buisness. Its all about growth.

03-11-2006, 02:23 PM
NO.. I did not miss the point..You missed what I said.. "It's just business nothing personal".. and if you want to spend all your energy "trying" to find out why they left..god bless... We don't have the time to do that..

DFW Area Landscaper
03-11-2006, 02:47 PM
I will try it out on the last 9 cancellations and see if anyone responds. Best of all, I don't have to keep doing it if I don't want to.

I guess there are basically three reasons I am wnt to do this if I have the time.

1.) Most importantly, find out if I am losing clients to lower prices from competing LCO's

2.) I would love to find out what I can do to capture their applications business if they were already using a competitor when they signed up for mowing service...is there some offer or discount that might work?...typically, if they are using Chemlawn or a competitor for lawn treatments they only hire us for lawn mowing and keep the high margin stuff with Chemlawn...also, when they switch everything over to one company, I have a slight barrier to entry because almost none of the residential lawn mowing companies offer chemical applications...if they want to cancel, they have to find two companies to replace me

3.) Let the customer know that we valued their business (even though it probably won't matter)

BTW, here is the newest version of the exit interview.

Z-Clark, it is amazing that you arent' seeing people in your area mowing lawns for $20.

DFW Area Landscaper

Fantasy Lawns
03-11-2006, 03:31 PM
I would say it's time n $$ well spent .... it's easier to keep present customers than to advo n get new one's ... so if we look at "why" they leave it's no more the effort when we ask "why" did you call me in the first place

One of the first things I ask ANY new customer is "how'd you hear of us or what made you call me" ....

N one of the last things I may or may-not ask a customer when they leave is "why" .... I get very few cancels as a note unless the house is sold or they are moving .... as fore the pita's I rarely ever ask

Hey John saw your advo in the Saving Safari .... looks nice .... good luck with that .... you really need to get a web site up on the Simply Mowing Idea .... be curious to the cost of that if you wish to PM me

After this year I'm reducing my area even more to just the Island .... with over 200 on the Island .... Keep it just Commercial over the bridges

Have a great summer

03-11-2006, 04:30 PM
great idea.. set up nice too..

03-11-2006, 06:33 PM
DFW, I think you are on the right track. I would omit some of the "is my truck nice and clean" stuff, and I would concentrate on the market forces and end product aspect.

03-12-2006, 03:40 AM
I personaly didn't like the second version... What does the customer care if the new guys will be around in a couple years, or if the new company collects sales tax... maybe the new company pays the state the tax and doesn't pass it on to the customer...It also seems on the second version that you are assuming the reason was price... the first one seemed more professional to me.


03-12-2006, 05:07 AM
yeah, good thinking.im really keen to hear responses you get.i hope you can give us a follow up,cheers mate:waving:

DFW Area Landscaper
03-12-2006, 11:10 AM
I am curious to see how many clients indicate their new lawn mowing company is charging the state sales tax.

DFW Area Landscaper

03-19-2006, 06:39 AM
have you got any feed back for us DFW

03-19-2006, 12:09 PM
Excellent idea DFW.... I'm just not sure if people would be willing to take the time to fill 'em out.
I was reading up on a similar thing, it was suggested that if you send a crisp One Dollar bill responses are, I think it was tripled. This was for Market research not customer survey but I don't like the "money" idea at all.

That being said, we don't have one dollar bills in Canada.:cool2: