Problematic Call-aheads

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I offer a call-ahead service for client's who need to kennel their dogs or unlock their gates, as I suspect most folks do.

    There are about a half dozen clients that I dread calling. I know, if they answer, I'll have to make the sale again.

    It's like, with most clients, I give them a short 15 second speech to let them know we'll be out tomorrow and it's over.

    With these problem clients, it's 20 questions. What's this application for? Didn't you just do one? I don't think we really need to do this one, do we?

    Oh, and my personal favorite, "What time tomorrow?"

    I mean, heck, I've got to get other things done and I don't have time for a 3 minute phone call with each one of them. The purpose of the call-ahead is to give the client a heads up, not to re-invent the sales wheel with every application.

    And it seems to be the same clients every time. With some, in the past, I've just downgraded them to non-call-ahead and it's worked out ok, but I've only done it to people who used the call-ahead as opportunity to skip...about 2 or 3 over the years.

    How do others handle these clients? Aside from their "sell me on this again" attitude, they're not bad clients.
     
  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,826

    I have a few clients that lock their properties up like Fort Knox. They are lower class people who are worried about crime. But when I do call ahead so I can access the lawn, they do it, no Inquisition. The moment I am questioned in that manner, they are terminated, permanently. People like that are not worth my time. I will not deal with someone who is trying to count beans. Lest that becomes the story of my life.
     
  3. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 645

    We try to not offer call aheads unless it's absolutely needed or the customer insist on it. The only time we will offer a call ahead is when it's the only way we will be able to service the property. I would say try and make these calls during a time when they are most likely be at work ( during the day ). Leave a message on the answering machine to avoid having a conversation.
     
  4. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    That is just part of the reason I don't do call aheads. We send out the invoice so they receive it 2 days before the application. It tells them in big, bold letter; "Your Next Application Will Be Oct. 17, 2009 Please leave dogs in or kenneled and gates unlocked"

    If the client has prepayed, they get either a postcard, or an email notification. I don't have time to call 40 people/day, just to remind them that I am coming.
     
  5. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    it goes like this, select route, edit route, send and confirm send, E mail sent, done deal, every one gets one( save for a few mailers) and just like above they are told see you on X day, want to ask a million questions send a reply E mail with all your needs, the PITA's don't last long that way.
     
  6. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,530

    Absolutely! That is almost exactly word for word what I was going to post. That's how I handle it. Fewer headaches.
     
  7. LouisianaLawnboy

    LouisianaLawnboy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,199

    Get you a secretary to do it(wife, worker) and if they start asking questions the person just tells them that all they see is that their scheduled and really don't have any answers.
     
  8. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Switch to e-mail notifications. Also try to state in your contract that you will give advanced notice and the invoice is coming because you are showing up (weather or not an application was made).
     
  9. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    I do not do call aheads. I get a few that try to get me to call ahead. But I tell them when signing the agreement that they need to leave their gates unlocked or give me a key.
    It has worked out well for me but i have 5 extra keys on my key ring.
     
  10. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,795

    i have a few that request this for dog and gate issues, but i usually just try to show up with them home so i dont have to call. that gets to be too much. as far as the whole twenty ?'s every time you call. if they dont understand that you are doing what they contractd for then you get rid of them. no big deal if they ask what i s for, but not to try to get out of it. that is the line to draw there imo! you should explain this in a professinal manner to the select few that are a real pita and lose them if they are still a pita. a few is not important as your sanity
     

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