Unhappy Customer? What do I do?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by RedMaple Lawns, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. RedMaple Lawns

    RedMaple Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 34

    I'm relatively new to the site...so here's a little bit about me...

    I've worked in the customer service industry since I was 15, mostly summer jobs and part-timers through college. I picked up the lawn care and landscaping trade after working for TruGreen. I've never had a problem dealing with people, especially customers, and have always received compliments on my work. I've only been in business for myself for 2-3 months, working it part-time this year in hopes that I can operate full-time by Summer of 2010. Honestly, I'm trying to get and retain any customer I can while keeping my prices decent.

    I've had this customer for approx. 2 months, it started with a pine straw and mulch install and led to a "full service" lawn and landscape agreement. He is a big-wig...a dentist who owns his own practice and lives on a local golf course. I'm sure his expectations are set very high. Anyway...nothing has been said until my last visit...which was on a Thursday. He calls Saturday to ask "What the hell did you do here?...I've been spraying 3 ft. tall weeds for 2 hours!" Honestly, I didn't know what to say? I tried to explain that I had worked for 2 hours...which is what was billed out. I didn't have time to stay and pull every weed and assumed (bad idea) that I could pick-up what was left on the next visit.

    He continued on...saying that "If you don't want to do it, then I can find somebody else. I want it done PERFECT. And I DON'T want to keep having these conversations."

    This was the first time I've heard anything from him...I'm going this Tuesday, while he is home, so that he can "show me" what I missed, etc. What do I do/say? And how do I act? I don't want to let this guy run all over me, but it's good money, and before this he's been a good customer.

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. Jpeg lawn maintenance

    Jpeg lawn maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,638

    IMO i would go like you said when the gentlemen is home and have him show you what you missed. Tell him that you will mkae sure everything is in great order from now on and just go away with your head held high knowing next time you will do a great job. We are human and will always make a few mistakes take it easy on yourself and listen to him and remember customers come first. thats why we are in buisness hope this helps good luck to you !!
     
  3. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    just sounds like miscomunication on expectations. Personally these are the kind of accounts i have been weeding out. I hear on here all the time about how "quality" is all "I" do. But after being in business for a while i have learned the mow, blow, and go yards where people arnt interested in perfection are my real money makers and are easy to please with no complaints and checks are always in the mail.
     
  4. FLAhaulboy

    FLAhaulboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    Be sure and charge him extra for being difficult!
     
  5. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    Ah the age old question is it better to make one stop for $200 or 4 mow n blows for $50. The 4 will take less time and be easy money, but the neighbor who is looking to spend 20K on quality landscaping will never call you because you give the impression that you cant give him quality. The one stop though will leave you feeling happy about the quality, but upset that you dont make as much as the other 4. Now that neighbor wont call you because you appear very expensive and he just needs his lawn cut.

    We do our share of both and this is exactly the case. We have an area that we took a couple of mow n go lawns. We now have 14 all on the same street. Although each individual lawn is not necessarily a money maker,but this area is our highest grossing area for the time it takes. Problem is very few of them ever get any extras so the season is short lived. Now we have several high end stops that get it all. They pay us what we want/need to make, but still dont compare to the mow n go when looked at hourly. However these stops easily take in a few hundred man hours each of straight labor every year which more than makes up for the other short comings.
     
  6. LouisianaLawnboy

    LouisianaLawnboy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,199

    You should have went over as soon as he called.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  7. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    i have a full schedule and struggle to keep up with spring and fall and all the installs i do as well. Works for me and i maximize my take.
     
  8. Mike's LawnCare Landscape

    Mike's LawnCare Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 488

    I see you work in Asheville . Just stand your ground and don't let him run over you !!
     
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    Just go on over there and listen to what the guy says, mostly that,
    the beauty of it is you don't have to say much of anything, just listen.

    It should be all right, as you understand what the man is saying, to say "Yes sir"
    and "ok" in between, otherwise let the man finish talking, then if you have any
    questions you should ask those, after that it is a simple matter of following the
    instructions and all should be good.
     
  10. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,280

    You should of went over that day to resolve the issues. Be honest with yourself when evaluating this, was it sub-par work on your part or is this guy being a pita. If this guy is being unreasonable, drop him. When I take a job I always discuss before hand the expectations along with it. Now you know from the phonecall he wants every weed pulled out. If I underbid a job that is on me and I will stay until it is completed properly. Then I will explain to the customer that next time we may have to tweak the price. By leaving a job not done and expecting to finish it next week you are setting yourself for misery.
     

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