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View Full Version : Some customers just want to complain


JD2320
11-02-2010, 08:32 PM
Had two customers back to back today that complained. One was banging on her window when I was exiting the backyard.

How come you didn't get the corners?
I did Mam' the machine throws fertilizer up to 25 feet.
It's not liquid? How long have you had that machine?
No, it's granular as always, and I have had it for 4 years since I have had you as a customer.
I have crabgrass!
Can you come out and show me please?
See the crabgrass?
I'm sorry mam' that is not crabgrass, it is course fescue and I can not control it unless I kill it off with roundup and reseed.
How come you didn't do the strip by the street when you aerated a few weeks ago!!!
I did mam' I also did a pass up the other side of the driveway.
It sure didn't look like it

Didn't believe a word I said.

Next job one street over.

I have grubs!
I didn't notice any grub damage, can you show me please?
Right there
Oh nothing to worry about. Thats your shady grass, red and chewings fescue that are a bit shallow rooted from the way they grow and clay soil and some pulled up a bit when you were raking your leaves. Digging for grubs as I said that I asked him, did you find any grubs?
No

Didn't believe a word I said.

Maybe I need to work on my explanations, or just agree with everything they say.

:rolleyes:

DA Quality Lawn & YS
11-02-2010, 09:35 PM
Customers get ornery (and slow paying) this time of year.
They are tired of paying the lawn guy and want you done and off the yard for the year.

That said, a guy told my brother (also in the biz) to "get that damned go kart off my lawn" as he was applying with his PG. People just love to complain and the lawn guy is an easy target.

Next year, try to hit people's homes when they are not home. It is SOOO much easier.

JD2320
11-02-2010, 09:40 PM
Customers get ornery (and slow paying) this time of year.
They are tired of paying the lawn guy and want you done and off the yard for the year.

That said, a guy told my brother (also in the biz) to "get that damned go kart off my lawn" as he was applying with his PG. People just love to complain and the lawn guy is an easy target.

Next year, try to hit people's homes when they are not home. It is SOOO much easier.

I had to believe this first lady was angry about something else. She's always a little weird but today she was downright rude. She also did the old, My lawn has never looked so bad to me. It looked fine.

Long term pre pay customers too. I fully expect they will both cancel.

grassman177
11-02-2010, 10:04 PM
i have no idea why some cant just live their life and get over the small things that end up blowing way out of proportion.

i had some call after a rain and say my fert washed away and they wanted me to re fertilize. really???!!!!

JD2320
11-02-2010, 10:29 PM
i have no idea why some cant just live their life and get over the small things that end up blowing way out of proportion.

i had some call after a rain and say my fert washed away and they wanted me to re fertilize. really???!!!!

And they read nothing. The one lady thought I didn't get the corners because she was convinced I do liquid when it clearly states on the leave behind and no less than 3 other documents that every app is granular and I've done no less than 27 applications at her house over 4 years!

I'm sure you have something (like me) on your leave behind that says water in etc etc etc.

I get enough cancels as it is especially with this economy. I don't need cancel customers because they are having a bad day and are as skeptical as the day is long and don't trust anyone.

jasontimm
11-02-2010, 10:37 PM
ya, i had one come running out of her house last week, yelling at me because "i didnt get close enough to her side walk" with the winterizer, as she stood on her sidewalk i pointed to her feet and asked her what she was standing in (sidewalk full of prills) i just shook my head and kept going...this time of year i hate people....except you guys.

Harley-D
11-03-2010, 10:15 AM
I hate people that ask you a question, any question, then blankly stare off already thinking of something else assinine to say while you try and educate them. Then they cut you off, because they weren't listening anyway, and ask the next dumb question. How do these people survive? Our society is on auto pilot and heading toward and mountain side....

MarcSmith
11-03-2010, 10:54 AM
I hate people that ask you a question, any question, then blankly stare off already thinking of something else assinine to say while you try and educate them. Then they cut you off, because they weren't listening anyway, and ask the next dumb question. How do these people survive? Our society is on auto pilot and heading toward and mountain side.... and I see tomorrows leaders today(campus students) doing that same stupid crap. so its not getting any better. And the teachers are just as bad....

cgaengineer
11-03-2010, 11:34 AM
On the flip side I heard through my parents that a neighbor in their neighborhood I service both for mowing and chemical, said that he has never seen his lawn look so good. I get concerned with customers that have really high expectations because one single accident or mistake and you are canned.

I really hope I can fill the shoes that he has provided for me. I have other customers that tell me I do a good job and they get complements on their lawn, but this fellow is different. He has been through many lawn service companies and chemical companies...I just hope I can make him happy come spring.

txgrassguy
11-03-2010, 01:53 PM
The best way to handle complaining clients is to remain calm, patiently answer their questions and be on your way.

I have had, upon occasion, client's whom pay a great deal for my services launch into me without warning. I listened for a moment, answered their comments and they persisted. I then asked what was really bothering them and they told me about something that was frustrating them - and it wasn't me.

I simply tut-tutted with them and all apologized the next time I was on their property.

Prior to developing a thick skin stuff like this used to bother me but it doesn't any longer. I do, however, draw the line at a client actually grabbing me when they want to show me a problem. Had one client whom was known for this as he had been through other service providers and when he approached me with the clear intention of man handling me to the area he was complaining about I told him very clearly if he grabbed me I would beat the living dogshit out of him.

His wife gasped, he backed up and proceeded to calmly show me the problem (which wasn't anything covered under my contract) so I got a good $$$ repair out of it and he is still my client to this day. They laugh about it now about how I set limits and his wife told me (out of the hubby's hearing) she was glad someone finally stood up to him.

You want a job where no one complains then work for a coroner's office bagging stiffs. Once you get used to the smell it really isn't bad work.

cgaengineer
11-03-2010, 02:22 PM
The best way to handle complaining clients is to remain calm, patiently answer their questions and be on your way.

I have had, upon occasion, client's whom pay a great deal for my services launch into me without warning. I listened for a moment, answered their comments and they persisted. I then asked what was really bothering them and they told me about something that was frustrating them - and it wasn't me.

I simply tut-tutted with them and all apologized the next time I was on their property.

Prior to developing a thick skin stuff like this used to bother me but it doesn't any longer. I do, however, draw the line at a client actually grabbing me when they want to show me a problem. Had one client whom was known for this as he had been through other service providers and when he approached me with the clear intention of man handling me to the area he was complaining about I told him very clearly if he grabbed me I would beat the living dogshit out of him.

His wife gasped, he backed up and proceeded to calmly show me the problem (which wasn't anything covered under my contract) so I got a good $$$ repair out of it and he is still my client to this day. They laugh about it now about how I set limits and his wife told me (out of the hubby's hearing) she was glad someone finally stood up to him.

You want a job where no one complains then work for a coroner's office bagging stiffs. Once you get used to the smell it really isn't bad work.

What haven't you done or ran across in your life tx?
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JD2320
11-03-2010, 02:58 PM
You want a job where no one complains then work for a coroner's office bagging stiffs. Once you get used to the smell it really isn't bad work.

I have no problem fielding complaints, or concerns. What bothers me is when I explain things to them, or try to educate them, I can sometimes clearly tell they just don't believe me.

You are telling them they are wrong, and no one likes to be told that or to be proved wrong.

Im always calm with them, straight forward and truthful, and I have been doing this stuff for decades. I....am the professional and like they don't like being proved wrong, I don't appreciate the raised eyebrows or getting the distinct impression I am BS'ing them and or not believed.

At the end of the day though they can shop with their feet, and with the confidence that sooner or later they will find someone that agrees with them, and shines them on.

garydale
11-04-2010, 08:03 AM
If they only knew how much more they are paying for their attitude.
I have good clients that we will do anything for, where as with complainers I wouldn't cross the street to put them out if they were on fire.

txgrassguy
11-04-2010, 09:20 AM
Nope, you miss my point about speaking with the client. They are chewing on your ass because something is amiss.

Once you find out what that problem is, presuming you are not the one at fault, their complaints will go away. However, should they continue to badger you needlessly over an issue that isn't caused by you - now you have a limit problem with that client.

By a limit problem, what I mean is they either do not respect you or simply do not care about your service as you have failed to educate the client about what YOUR tolerance level exists at for their bullcrap.

The single biggest lie out there, aside from the bama man, is the age old adage of "The customer is always Right". The simple truth is provided you are completing your work appropriately - the customer ISN"T right, and shouldn't have your permission to treat you as anything other than what you are - namely a profession providing a professional service for a professional fee.

So now you have to make a decision - do I want to retain this whining ****** or am I going to drop them quicker than crap out of a Canadian Goose.

I will tell you that once you adopt the attitude and make it a firm belief that you are a professional and demand to be treated as such your clients will pick up on that quite quickly. You'll find clients that will applaud your professionalism and stance as well as those that you will royally piss off. Once you learn to differentiate between the two and learn how to tell the whiners to squat on a fence post with splinters your complaint(s) received will solely focus on omissions on your part.

Cga - man you make me laugh sometimes. I can answer your question this way: I have never been an Astronaut although I have been accused of being a space cadet; never been successfully married and never won the lottery. Can't really help the first one, sure as hell ain't trying the second one again and as far as the third - well if I want to win I'd better start playing.

ted putnam
11-04-2010, 10:21 AM
Txgrassguy, these last couple of posts you've made have been great. A similar incident happened to me years ago and I have taken your stance ever since. I went to a fairly new customers lawn for a "weeds" service call. While inspecting the lawn, the man approached me bofore I had a chance to ring the bell. He said(in a loud tone) "I've got a hell of a lot more weeds than I should for what I am paying".(raises his voice even higher)"I pay you guys a lot of money to keep the weeds out (raises his voice higher, raises hand begins pointing and takes 2 steps toward me when he was only 5 ft away.)At this point I quickly but calmly tell him he better not touch me . He's not letting up and at this point screams at me "So you better get the weeds out...WEEDBOY!" I calmly told him he and I couldn't work on his lawn together anymore. He needed to find someone else. I turned, walked to my truck and drove away without saying another word. I guess I left him in shock, I don't know because when I got back to the shop there was a voicemail from him apoligetically asking me to call him back. He said he had never been "fired" before. In his position he had always been the one doing the firing. He wanted to talk to me some more and maybe work something out. His wife had been observing us from the garage and neither of us knew it. I didn't find out from his wife until months later that she insisted he call me and try to apologize.They ended up being great customers while I worked at Chemlawn(not Trugreen) many years ago.

So, I wholeheartedly agree with your approach.
GREAT POSTS!

txgrassguy
11-04-2010, 03:56 PM
Thanks Ted. What you have found out, like what I have been saying, is the more professional you believe yourself to be and adopt the philosophy, clients will respect you that much more.