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Tim Wright
10-07-2006, 07:33 PM
In a few weeks I am putting out a newsletter for my current customers, outlining our growth over the past couple of years, new services offerred and new services in the works, as well as the new employees and systems we are implimenting

I was thinking of including a survey that would help me get a pulse on what we can do to fill voids, improve business, and move forward with growth.

I would also include space for refferrals, a SASE and give them a(one) free cut if they send it back filled out, suggestions and refferals. Up to ten refferals.

What do you think of the idea?

Thanks,

Tim

huh
10-07-2006, 09:20 PM
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=37810

somewhere in the mist of this long thread ETWMAN said his company did a survey

He has built quite a business for himself with many innovative ideas

I think the survey idea is a good one as well.....I would try and contact ETW and see who he used

it may cost more money to use a "pro" survey company, but there are things I believe they can offer that will make sure you get the most from the responses.....questions you may never have come up with and ways to shape the questions and the potential answers to learn the most you can for your efforts

ETW seamed interested in helping people that were serious in the thread I posted....I bet he would give you some helpful information as well

good luck :)

DaughtryLC
10-07-2006, 10:41 PM
I think it would be a great idea!

etwman
10-07-2006, 10:49 PM
You can gather some minor information by doing an in house survey to your customers, all assuming you can get them to fill out your survey. We went to an outside marketing/advertising firm and gave them a list of about 50 customers we did work for over the past five years. In addition we gave them 10 customers names that didn't go with us. Prior to giving them the list someone in our office contacted everyone and asked them if an outside marketing company could take 5 minutes with them and ask them some questions. All said that would be fine. From there on out the firm composed a list of detailed questions which brought out alot of useful information.

It took them about 5 weeks to do the study. They gave us about a 50 page report on all they discovered. It was very useful and informative. We would have never been able to gather this information in house. It cost several thousand to do this but we wanted to see where we were at before moving forward with some unique marketing ideas. You really need to know where you're at before moving forward. You may think you know how your doing but a detailed study like this will really place the cards on the table.

Don't get me wrong, you can gather some info from small surveys but customers are more willing to share information about your company to an independant source. Never once in this big report did it say which customer said what. Assuring them of this brings out really good information.

Hope this helps some.

Dano50
10-07-2006, 10:56 PM
Surveys are a cheap and effective way to gauge how well you are doing as well as to determine your strenghts and weaknesses. The more specific you can make them the more valuable they will become.

Be open to criticism and be thoughtful to what you get back. An independent survey is always going to be more valuable but don't hesitate to create one of your own. Feedback is the greatest source of knowledge for customer service.

Tim Wright
10-08-2006, 12:02 AM
Your reply's are priceless. Thank you!

etwman, do you remember some of or the type of ?'s that the independant firm asked that you or I may not necessarily come up with on our own? or is that information that you cannot freely give out without getting into trouble with the firm?

I am just curious I guess, as to what type of questions were the most valuable to you in the survey.

Tim

huh
10-08-2006, 12:07 AM
I remember well one thing he mentioned is that his customers ALL seamed to remember the CLEAN, MATCHING, PROFESSIONAL trucks he was driving....and I do agree they are sharp!

etwman
10-08-2006, 09:00 AM
Tim -

I don't have the exact questions right in front of me now but I do remember a couple.

1. How many different price quotes did you get for your upcoming project and from who? This way we learned who the real competition was, which wasn't much.
2. What was your decision primarily based on? Was price the deciding factor?
3. What impressed you the most with the company during construction? This one had some interesting responses. I recall one customers response vividly. Her response was "the crew was curteous, professional, in uniforms, didn't smoke or use foul language. It was a great feeling to let the kids go out on the swingset and play in the backyard while the crew was here and not have to worry about what they may hear or see. They even talked to the kids on occassion when the opportunity presented itself. You are always a little skittish about construction crews and not knowing what to expect." Things like this you don't even think about, but the customer does.
4. Would you consider using this company again for future work?
5. What services do they not offer that you would like them too?
6. What other services do they offer? This one was interesting to see if the customer knows what all you do. If they don't know it's now your job to educate your customers.

These are just a couple. The firm took all the answers and compiled it in a big report with percentages, etc. which was alot easier to understand then just reading responses. I'd say they asked each customer about 30 questions. If they answers "yes" to question 5 they skipped down to question 7A, they knew how to do it and not take too much of the customers time.

After I read through all of it I gave copies out to the guys, they found it very interesting and rewarding. Granted we couldn't tell which customer said what but we had an idea on a couple of them.

Hope this helps some.

Tim Wright
10-08-2006, 05:30 PM
Indeed it does help. Very similar questions as to what I have in mind.

How do you track projects and employees? As I have mentioned in another thread, I am serious about CLIP software. Do you use it?

As for referrals, I am going to offer my customers a free lawn cutting for sending a good refferal. I am thinking of giving my employees the same incentive, but in cash value of a lawn cutting.

Also, do you use a contract for mowing, or just agree to mow for the summer? Right now I just mow with no contract, except for the apartments that I mow.

Tim

Tim Wright
10-08-2006, 05:35 PM
I remember the thread mentioned above with your equipment. I distinctly remember that you have a NH & rake, and had posted the photos just as I was buying mine.

So......I am looking at getting a deisel truck. How does the GMC pull?

Which truck is best for pulling the tractor?

Where in Central PA are you?

Thank you,

Tim

Tim Wright
10-08-2006, 06:26 PM
etw-Never mind on your location. I found it.

Thanks,

Tim

etwman
10-08-2006, 09:24 PM
We track all our projects and employees in an intregrated spreadsheet program. We don't have a ton of customers so we didn't find Clip extremely useful. We may only have 50 customers in a year, 5 of those may be on a mowing route.

We only mow three commercial sites now and have pretty detailed contracts for each of them.

The GMC pulls great with that Duramax. A 3500 series truck would tow that okay, but you may want to look at a 4500/5500 series. The bigger the truck the less problems you will have with overworking it, the longer it will last.