View Full Version : Phone Calls........just venting

Expert Lawns
06-17-2003, 11:53 AM
I was really frustrated yesterday when i got home from work to find that the same customer had called me 4 times throughout the day. By the fourth phone call, they were being rude and obviously they were irritated. They said "When I call, I expect a return phone call in a timely manner"

What they don't understand is that when i leave at 7am, and don't return until 9pm, it is impossible for me to return their call right away. I guess I could sit at home and just return calls all day, but then I would be running a phone service and not a lawn care service. They dont' understand this, and when i try to explain it to them, they either don't believe me or don't want to believe me because they dont' want to be wrong. anyways, I just dont' think that i deserve to have to listen to people's messages that are rude and purposely try to put you and your business down. ok, i'm done........

06-17-2003, 12:09 PM
You have several options: 1) Get an answering service 2) Have you calls forwarded to your cell phone 3) Call in and get your messages at least twice a day and call customers back. Your customers are right that they need to be able to reach you but not all the time. :p


06-17-2003, 12:14 PM
I used to have the same problem, not that cared too much about not getting timely messages from rude people, but I wanted to make sure I got my calls from new prospects quickly, as many people will call several companies for estimates and if you take too long to get back to them they will go with someone else without even getting a bid from you.

So, I did 2 things. I have my phone forwarded to my cell phone during the day. This is ok, but still the problem where you can't hear the phone while your working. But I check my messages between jobs and this way I can return the messages I want to within an hour or two, and of course screen out the ones I don't want to deal with until the end of the day.

One thing that new clients love is having someone actually answer the phone when they call. I know many people that just will not leave a message, and will keep going through the yellow pages until they can talk to a live person.

Expert Lawns
06-17-2003, 12:22 PM
I wish i had the luxury of having a cell phone, but I don't. And to stop and use a pay phone a few times a day would take too much time. :(

06-17-2003, 12:28 PM
You can probably get a pager (very inexpensive) and setup your voicemail to page you when you get a message.

Or at least check your messages at lunch time or something, just so your customers don't have to wait 14 hours for a return call.

06-17-2003, 12:29 PM
Ring, ring, ring,.....

...."Thank you for calling Expert Lawns, its a good day in the neighborhood blah blah, we are curently away from the phone cutting your and your neighborhoods grass. We plan to be back in the shop around 8pm, and be assured that your call will be returned no later than 9pm. etc etc."

This will work if you are booked and only deal with your current customers. If you got flyers out, or constantly getting estimates/ looking for new clients,
I would try all efforts to answer the phone/ cell phone/etc the first time they call. Because they may never call back.

06-17-2003, 12:35 PM
I'm getting rid of my old cell phone plan (not enough minutes) and setting up a new cell phone number with plenty of minutes and voice mail. This number will become my business line and message system. That way I can check the messages between jobs and if I get a call while I'm driving between jobs I can answer it right then. Plus, I can write it off then too which is always nice.

06-17-2003, 04:19 PM
if we are advertising, and trying to get more clients, my wife will check the answering machine every hour or two, and call them back quickly. if that is not the case, we return the call that evening. try this: call one of your clients, when they dont return your call promptly, call them back and tell them, "when i leave a messege, i expect a call back, immediately...." let me know how it works out 4 ya

06-17-2003, 05:48 PM
luxury :confused: you have a computer but no cell phone :confused:

06-17-2003, 06:08 PM
No cell phone? They're so cheap these days, it doesn't make sense NOT to have one, especially if you own a business.

I get annoyed when I can't reach someone too. Plus if I'm in the market for a particular service and the first place doesn't answer, I move on to the next one in the phone book (unless I was referred to someone, then I might leave a message and wait to hear back from them).
So besides making your current customers angry because they can't get ahold of you, you might also be losing business when people call and get your machine.

Look into a cell phone, shop around.

David Haggerty
06-17-2003, 06:48 PM

The lack of proper planning on your part
does not constitute an emergency on my part.

But I am an owner/operator and my wife answers every phone call. And I really don't have a "store front" type of business with lots of advertising and customer turnover.

But for those customers who ask "When can I talk to Dave?" I tell my wife to tell them "before 7 am or after 7 pm!"

I work in 4 counties! I'm not leaving a site I'm working on to deal with their problem anyway.

My stock answers:

Q: Can you do it today?
A: Probably not.

Q: Tomorrow?
A: Maybe.

Q: Day after tomorrow?
A: Probably.

Q: The next time he comes to my property?
A: Definitely!

A "timely manner" for me would be that same day.


06-17-2003, 06:54 PM
what the last guy said. If they are not patient enough to wait 24 hrs. for a return call, imagine what they're like to deal with on a weekly basis.

06-17-2003, 08:19 PM
I do not get cell calls, even when forwarded to my cell. :confused: I use the answering service from the phone company method that forwards all meassages to my cell. It keeps calling till I pick up. An answering service is a wise choice for what Jonathan said. People call till they hear a live voice most of the time. It is an expense to consider for they will beep you or call your cell. If you want good cominication, you definitely need a cell.

06-17-2003, 09:11 PM
Let me guess, its an elderly customer. A "timely" manner is within 24 hours in my book!

Gr grass n Hi tides
06-17-2003, 10:50 PM
Jimlewis posted a killer thread about phone calls a while back. I'll find it in my personal archive & bump it to the top for ya. Maybe some helpful info. in there. It's all about communication. The client doesn't have to treat you poorly, but on the other hand their viewpoint is something to consider.

06-17-2003, 10:53 PM
I am lucky that my wife is at home during the day and fields all the calls. She gets me right away if it is important or she take a message for me to call at night.

06-18-2003, 12:33 AM
I dont even have a home phone anymore, I dont need it. All calls, personal and business, go directly to my cell phone, which is with me at all times. It has a vibrate function so when I have the equipment going I still know when a call comes through. I look at the caller id to decide if I want to stop my work and answer it. All my customers are in my phone book on my cell phone, when they call, it shows up (by their name) on caller id, so I know who it is before I answer. Like I said, I have no use for my home phone, so I cancelled it. I dont use dial up for internet, I have cable.

06-18-2003, 12:38 AM
just say on the answering machine that you will return all phone calls after 8pm. Or say that all calls will be returned within 24 hours.

Expert Lawns
06-19-2003, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by tiedeman
just say on the answering machine that you will return all phone calls after 8pm. Or say that all calls will be returned within 24 hours.

I left a message saying "Thank you for calling Expert Lawncare, we're currently out mowing, and will be doing so until approx. 8pm. please leave a detailed message including your name, phone number and reason for calling after the tone and your call will be returned before 9pm....etc"

My mom actually called me yesterday and commented on how polite and professional it sounded. so thanks for the tips guys. also, i'm going out today to look for a cell phone. i know a lot of my friends have nextel, so that would be my first choice