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i just read somewhere........

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i'm taking a few courses at a local college. in addition to upgrading my pesticide/turf/sports fields knowledge, i'm thinking of what else i'd like to add. one of the courses is "customer relations." i think i have this area perfected at this point, but one thing that interested me was this, which i read in the brochure. IT SAID: "studies have proven that 90% of unhappy customers do not complain. instead, they seek outlet by telling others. on average, an unhappy client will tell 12-15 people about a bad service they have recieved." CAN THIS BE ACCURATE?
  2. Tulsa Lawn Guy

    Tulsa Lawn Guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 61


    Want to learn more about 'customer relations' or 'people relations' in general?

    Read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie... it's a classic.
  3. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851


    There is an old book out called "How To Win Customers and Keep Them for Life" written by Michael LeBoeuf, Ph.D. I used to buy these books by the case when I was "coaching" associates (employees) for a large retailer that I used to work for. It is an excellent book and you can get more from that book then you can from years in school.

  4. nitrotim

    nitrotim LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Posts: 525

    I think it applies differently to different industries. Back in 1985 when I worked in the automotive industry the study said that 1 happy customer will tell 5 other people they are happy and one unhappy customer will tell 20 people they are unhappy.

    BTW Bobby you will be proud of me i will be itaking the basic Pesticide course on the 26th and will be in Freehold three times in Feb for 3ab7a.
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    I wouldn't be surprised if it was even more in many cases...no matter what kind of business and/or service.
  6. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,439

    that number wouldn't surprise me in the least. in my college marketing courses, which i majored in as well, the numbers we always read was 1 will tell 10. obviously it's a number that's impossible to firmly estimate, but i've always found it true. i'd say companies doing business at the local level, such as the typical lco, are more apt to face the wrath of an unhappy customer's spreading of the poor reviews.

    figure it this way: it only takes 1 person to have a bad experience to tell their neighbors of their views. the adjoining 2 neighbors are probably a given to hear of it, add in 1 or 2 across the street, and their's 4 people of 10. throw in local relatives and theirs another, say, 2. now we have 6. add in just 1 friend to tell, maybe a co-worker and we've already hit 8. this doesn't even include the old game of telephone where one of those people pass it along to someone they know looking for whatever service. at this point of dillution, the story is now that you ran over someone's dog with the mower, simply flicked your cigarette butt on the yard and told the homeowner Rover should have gotten out of the way.

    everyone's goal should be to have 90%+ of their service business based on referrals. this lowers marketing costs and raises pre-qualification of the lead. 1 bad experience and you've turned a couple of solid leads into people who probably wouldn't even call you.

    and bobby, if you can squeeze 'em in, take a communications/public speaking course and a business writing class if you haven't done so already. i've always found those to be the most beneficial to my varied careers. they are the one constant that i've seen across the board: effective communication.

  7. chevyman1

    chevyman1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    Booby, by all means, take a sales and rapport building class, it can only help curb your abrassiveness...and yes, unhappy people tell their friends and bury small companies who treat them like garbage
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    if this is true, i'm trying to figure out how it is possible that i keep adding clients at will, as well as resigning clients that have cancelled in the past. all of my work is sooooo close to my home, that if this "tell 12 people" rule really applied to lawn services, i'd have been wiped out already. although, it may really take effect if i tried to majorly expand to like 200-300 lawns, but so far, i don't think it has been a problem.
  9. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,439

    it's nothing more than playing the odds. you still are working within a larger population than you can cover by yourself, so until you hit critical mass, you'll add customers, but you will also rule out customers who have heard of your reputation through the 10.
  10. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    here's the thing though. with our bbusiness, there are so many variables, so many possible ways to tick a client off, that you need a 5 page contract just to cover every detail, then, when you won't allow them to walk on you, you just earned 12 bad references, from each one? i'll give you two quick scenerios: the contract states that if the property is not servicable due to construction, new driveway being put in, whatever, they are supposed to notify us 24 hrs in advance. well, this one client failed to do so THREE WEEKS IN A ROW, as they were having major renovations done to thier property. i told them i needed to be paid for the 3 "dead" visits. they refused. i canceled thier service. another incident was a client i took to court not long ago for failure to pay. in both of these instances, i was 100% in the right, but if the numbers are accurate, i've had my name badmouthed to about 24 potential clients between these two . it seems to me, you just have to accept these things and move foward. you can't stop a client from badmouthing you, even when you're in the right

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