The Customer Hot Line

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Sean Adams, Apr 15, 2002.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    I just wanted to share this with everyone. I'm sure there are a lot of differing opinions on the best way to handle client calls, but consider this....

    I was talking to a lawn care business owner in the fall and he asked me about dealing with clients calling him. He wasn't sure what was best - regular phone line, voice mail, answering service, cell phone, pager, etc... His business was growing and he was on that edge of hiring a full time office manager to field calls. However, his clients had access to him because he was very serious about keeping the lines of communication open. He believes it is what has helped him acquire and keep many of his clients...and I agree. This is what I suggested - a hot line for his clients.

    I suggested setting up a dedicated number that was only for his clients. He did not use the line to call out, dial up, etc.... It was simple. It was a number that his clients called when they needed or wanted anything - emergency or not, because it was to be understood that all calls would be answered in order received within 24 hours. Since there often aren't too many lawn care emergencies that I know of, 24 hours would be plenty of time. This number was not to be given to anyone - not insurance agent, employees, wife (be careful), kids, friends, etc....

    It would allow him to separate calls, and he wasn't interrupted during working hours, family time, vacation, etc...

    I spoke to him today and he told me it is working perfect - better than he had hoped even. He explained to clients that this was the only number to call. He had his cell phone changed, dropped the pager, and left a voice message on his existing line for clients to call the hot line number provided in their pre-season package information (he doesn't leave the number on the voice message).

    We also discussed setting up a hot line voice mail box for his employees as well. They have 2-way, cell phones etc...but the idea is just as simple...when your employees are out working and someone stops them for an estimate or a client asks them for something, they have to stop, write it down, log it (or God forbid, remember it) and report back to you or the office, etc... This separate hot line is set up for the employees only. When a situation like this comes up, they simply call and leave the message....

    "Mr. Jones stopped us today (Monday, April 15th) and asked if we would have time to plant 3 shrubs in the fall and if we could add pre-emergent to his beds next week."

    It keeps things organized and nothing is forgotten, and the employees love it.

    Sean Adams
     
  2. the point man

    the point man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 79

    Sounds like a pretty good system to me. I don't want to spend
    the money on an additional phone line, but I should, considering
    the # of hours I spend on the computer. So I know that my
    customers sometimes have to call me more than once to reach
    me. That bothers me, but additional lines are expensive. I think
    my business is considerably smaller than the one you mention,
    though.
     

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