View Full Version : Customers that like to talk too much.

02-27-2004, 09:38 AM
Do you have any? How do you handle the talkers? I have this one in particular ( top notch customer I make out good at his place) that I just dread going to his house. He just enjoys talking and its hard to get away from him. I hate to give the cold shoulder or be rude but dang I work for a livin and 15 or 20 minutes of talk wreaks the whole day.

02-27-2004, 10:04 AM
Can you change your schedule and go to his house when he's not there?

02-27-2004, 10:15 AM
I have alot of customers who like to gab when I come over. It is always hard the 1st year, but after that I figure a little extra into the job just for gab. Besides I don't want to be rude, and say got to go. It is good to have that personal touch and helps build customer loyalty. Like you said I work for a living and if it wasn't every time it would be ok. But 30 min can throw off a whole day.

02-27-2004, 10:38 AM
This is what works for me. If I do not want to talk to them I do not shut off the eqiuptment and lift one side of my headset so they have to yell at me to yak....... they get the point real fast.
If they catch me when I am between tasks I look at my watch and give them maybe two minutes then I tell them I have to finish up because I have to pick up my kids later.

02-27-2004, 10:50 AM
I have a couple, great people but a little gabby. I save these for the end of the day and allow a little time to talk, but if they get to long winded I tell them I gotta go because my wifes makin dinner and I gotta be home in 15 minutes or I want to get home before rush hour ect. Works well for me.

02-27-2004, 10:53 AM
i let them talk, if you can make those your last accounts of the day.this way your not messin up your schedule, maybe not home on time but this could also be the time when the neihbors come home from work, join the conversation and maybe pick up more work, of course it could mean just more talk!

02-27-2004, 10:54 AM
i bill them for it
if it is a i time thing or they want extra work no problem
but if they just want to bs no problem i am on the clock and they pay for my time
they learn to talk quick when they find out

Acute Cut
02-27-2004, 11:37 AM
It's part of the reason i do this job. I love it. Besides, those people are the ones putting food on my table. And i am NOT the cheapest in town. I am sure that even little Johnny down the road would be happy making half of what i charge. Plus i have reaped well those seeds of 'friendship' that i have sown. It is also harder to fire a friend. There are many benifits ethically and business wise.

IF you KNOW a customers is going to gab, pull out the 52" wb and mow thier 2000K lawn with it. Save time to chat. j/k

I have even preached to my crew(s) that this delay in thier routes is OK. I encourage it actually. A customer will more likely tell you of an issue they are having with your service if you make time to chat, vs you being to busy. They might be too busy to try and get you to fix it and find another service. I have read that keeping a customers is cheaper than generating a new one. Do you believe that? Then TAke the time guys. We are not bullet proof in our business's.

02-27-2004, 02:05 PM
Never stop working or loading up the vehicle, turn it on. Bill customers, inform the ones that are not under contract to have the check under the mat prior to work (this is to prevent from having to ring the door bell.) If they are not talking about future work, after they get the first point across politely tell them you have other clients waiting, or that you schedule is tight and you must push on, but feel free to email or call you later.

But this is that competitive advantage once a company grows and is afforded the ability to have a crew(s) operate independently of you (the owner) from actually having to service the yard. You could then set appointments or do surprise visits on your crews, both will allow you to "chat" with clients. AKA, Customer Service/Relationship building. I am looking forward to implementing this value add service this year!

02-27-2004, 08:08 PM
Acute Cut has the right idea. Build relationships and you probably wont hear the whole so and so said they would do it for $10 less

02-27-2004, 08:51 PM
I feel my career is sales. I sell leisure time and increased net worth. (the value of your home will be higher with well maintained and manicured landscape). My labor is the tool I use to do it. Communication and relationship building is the way I educate my customer to my vaule. Also I believe it is better to find out about problems throught out the year rather that next April when "xxx cheap cuts" gives them a flier. Just be sure to educate them that time is money also and most will respect that.

02-27-2004, 09:09 PM
Hire some mexicans so the customer don't have anybody to talk to.....................just a thought

02-27-2004, 09:13 PM
I take care of an elderly housing complex. Talk about people who like to talk. They try and tell you their whole life story. As soon as one stops talking another comes over and starts. Even worse though are the customers that send their kids out while you are mulching or something else. I thought we were their to take care of their yard not their kids

02-27-2004, 10:03 PM
That's most of my clients. I mail their bills once a month so at least I don'thave to go to the door each time. Some will bring the check out to me or step out to chat a bit about something. I try to give them some time. The extra bit of time and personal touch can be what keeps clients. I go around and talk to each of last years clients in persom to sign them up for this year.

02-27-2004, 10:41 PM
I have a few customers that like to talk, I already have my workers trained to call me on the cell phone when they see someone talking to me for too long. this way I have an excuse to interrupt our conversation and work my way to the truck.:D

02-28-2004, 12:01 AM
You obtain a goldmine by treating your customers like gold. ACUTE CUT was right on the money! People long for the way business used to be done " Customers First". We started our business when I was fourteen years-old with ten accounts our first year. We have been in business for ten years. We still service eight of those original ten. One of the two we no longer service passed away. We need to get back to the times when people went above and beyond what they are "contracted ",or payed to do. I have one customer who , it never fails, always has a " favor" that she needs me to do. She is an elderly widow. I sometimes think she makes up these favors just so we can talk. Whether it is getting her dog to come back inside or to open up a tightly sealed jar of pickles for her, I gladly take the few minutes to do it. Show your customers that they are more than dollar signs to you and they will soon turn into your goldmine. Life is not supposed to be about how much money you have. As long as you have a house over your head and food on the table for the little ones,thats all that really matters. Look at it as an "investment"!

02-28-2004, 12:11 AM
One trick that I've done in the past, tell your helper that if MR. Talks-a-lot, talks to you more than 5 minutes, hold your cell phone up and say that you have a phone call. Hopefully, he'll let you go!

02-28-2004, 12:16 AM
Oh my gosh, I have this one account and this guy has me come in, sit on the couch and just goes on and on for literally an hour. I get so frustrated because time is money and I don't have the time to gab. I started calling him before I went so that he knew I was on my way and then when I pulled up I just went straight to work. I found out that he is not the kind that enjoys a conversation, but rather just likes to listen to himself. Overall, he is one of my best accounts because he has me doing a lot of extra stuff and pays handsomely.

Acute Cut
02-28-2004, 02:30 AM
(SNIFF, SNIFF) That was beautiful man.:( I wish i had a crying smily for ya. It was like the preachers words.

I am in the same boat here. I usually have about a 98% return rate. This year was odd since i was gone alot (got married) and some stuff slipped by. I am still above 95% though.

Ever gone to mcdonalds and had to wait for the counter staff to get off the phone to help you? It seems like it is a chore to take my money. i hate that. I dont want my customers to think it is a chore to take thier money.:D

As an innovative company setting many different standards in my area i have to always be aware that i am not irreplacable. They lived before me and will do so after. I just want to mow in the in between. lol

02-28-2004, 03:17 AM
Always seems to be the "more elderly" that like to chit chat. But with Karma being what it is, I figure the attention I give them, will be returned to me, when I'm older (and dare I say lonely?)
Try to never cut them short, but when I have to go, I have to go.
Like the phone call idea. Should work every time.

02-28-2004, 04:18 AM
Originally posted by Acute Cut
It's part of the reason i do this job. I love it. Besides, those people are the ones putting food on my table. And i am NOT the cheapest in town. I am sure that even little Johnny down the road would be happy making half of what i charge. Plus i have reaped well those seeds of 'friendship' that i have sown. It is also harder to fire a friend. There are many benifits ethically and business wise.

I couldn't have said it better myself!!:D

Mikes Lawn Landscape
02-28-2004, 06:04 AM
Originally posted by DUSTYCEDAR
i bill them for it

Really, how many times have you billed for talking ? What do you call it A chit chat fee. How do your customers respond to being billed for talking. Do you charge them $60.00 an hour or is the rate lower because your not using equipment. Do you bill by the minute or do you go ahead an round up to full hours.

The reason I ask is got a call the other day from a new customer it took about 30 minutes to go over her property and the we chatted for about 30 minutes when I left I had a signed agreement for $3000.00 worth of work and a check for the first months work. But how do I bill her for the 30 minutes of chat time.
Any help on this would be appreciated since you seem to have a good handle on billing customers for chat time

Thanks for your help Dusty

02-28-2004, 07:42 AM
Acute Cut I agree comuacation is important for owners and customers with out it I wouldnt have the job however like most things there is a point when it becomes exsessive and thats where I am at with this guy. Some good advice here Ive tried the run the equipment thing doesnt work he'll stand and wait, the cell phone thing would go the same route, hire Mexicans now there is a plan but with my luck he would have a ciesta with tacos and burritos with the crew while telling long stories about the old days:rolleyes:. Well I guess I ll just drive on with this customer he is my best pays well, never argues a bill and pays as soon as he recieves the monthly bill.