better business phone

Discussion in 'Industry Surveys & Polls' started by SharperImage, Jan 4, 2012.


Better business phone?

  1. iPhone

    69 vote(s)
  2. Droid

    33 vote(s)
  1. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    oh i'm always growing but at my own pace.

    i don't feel the need to be the first one to answer the phone.

    if a person is that hard pressed for a lawn service they can't wait for a call back or won't leave a voicemail so i can return there call then i don't want to work for them in the first place.

    i rarely get the chance to actually answer my phone when it rings, even for regular clients i've had for years. i'm either driving or on a property when most people call.
  2. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,722

    My chances of getting a new customer go way up IFF I'm able to answer their initial phonecall. Getting over there for a prompt estimate also aids in making a great first impression. Obviously, it is challenging to always be available to do so.

    Some folks choose, for whatever reason, to NOT leave a message...and they're very likely calling another potential LCO after hanging up. Just because they 'don't leave a message' seems like a silly reason to not want to have them as a customer.

    Ever noticed that our excuses are mostly, if not ALWAYS, self~serving? :waving: :laugh:
  3. SharperImage

    SharperImage LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Very good points. I am still growing so I just thought I'd throw this question out there.
  4. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    well even though i'm in the industry i don't see our services as emergency services.

    if someone calls and leaves a message and can't wait for a return call then i don't want to work for someone that impatient.

    being that i'm solo and starting to really fill up my schedule i now feel i can be as picky as i want. so thats what i'm doing.

    you don't leave a message you don't get a call back. when you do leave a message i will call back as soon as i can which normally means when i'm home and done working for the day.

    i personally am not going to stop my mower to take a call or sit in the truck infront of a finished property or a property about to be started to take or return calls.

    note these are potential client calls i'm talking about. when my regulars call i will usually call them back before i pull away from a property because i already have there info and it will be a quick 30 sec. to a min. phone call.
  5. PK Mows

    PK Mows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    25 years ago we were having this discussion about computers vs. ledger books. A few years later we revisited it with cell phones vs. beepers.

    It doesn't matter what business you're in, this is a microwave society and the Customer expects fast response. Large companies spend tons of money developing ways to speed up their response time, nobody likes to stand in a line. Small companies have the advantage of being in the position to have almost instant response time, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't take advantage of that if they have a goal of growing.

    What I'd love to see, and I'm sure it's coming soon, is a complete accounting/routing/service program. I'd like to be able to download the days work, (having all pertinent Customer info) from the computer to a phone, then as each property is finished, one click and the account is updated in the phone and a billing email is sent. Then when you get back to the office, you download that day's work to the computer and all accounts serviced are updated.

    This would be great for multiple crews as you could schedule them very efficiently and even have the start and stop times on each job. That would make generating reports a snap.
  6. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    because for one thing as i said i don't view this industry as an "emergency need".

    when someone calls up looking for a mowing estimate they can wait until i get back to them for that estimate. its not something they need right away.

    the other reason. i prefer to spend my day working on my properties straight through driving from one to the next with no interruptions in between then make my phone calls and emails once i'm done. doing it that way you finish the actual labor part of the day quicker.

    answering the phone every time it rings or return calls every time you miss them causes you stop actual labor and slows you down.

    growing my business is important but i also have some pet peeves about people who call and don't leave a message or when i return calls and emails or when i actually will answer the phone. and my up holding my pet peeves are more important than growing my business fast.
  7. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,722

    Think about how much a new customer is worth by the end of your season.
    That same customer is worth nothing to you if they choose another LCO.

    When a potential customer is in the mode of finding an LCO - they very likely want to get it done in a short time...and I can't blame them. They have lives too, and wish to get back to them. This procedure is an inconvenience to them!! When a new potential customer calls, the ball is immediately in your court.

    Even if you make arrangements to give them an estimate later that day, or even the next day, at least the line of communication has been opened by answering the phone. I find too many folks choose to NOT leave a message these days (for whatever reason) making that initial communication vital.

    Having missed a few calls, I've used the log of their missed call to call them back ASAP. By waiting until evening, they've more often than not already chosen another LCO.

    I can step back and see that some of my best current customers could very well be the type to not leave a message when first calling. They are impatient people - and they pay what I ask because they don't want to bicker. Just git-ur-done.

    Lawnsite is about sharing what works and learning from other's mistakes.
    Keeping on keeping on may not work the best...but to each their own.

    Old adage:
    Some folks are so contrary that when they fall into a river...
    They insist on floating upstream. :laugh:
  8. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    being that i'm solo and getting to that "full" point of what i can handle by myself if a missed called ends with someone choosing another LCO so be it.

    my first priority is to take care of all my current clients. if someone isn't willing to leave a voicemail for me to return there call i'm really not interested in them being a client of mine.

    first impressions are everything and while that goes for the way i am it also goes for the way a potential client is. if they won't leave a message on an initial call or expect an immediate return call, whats to say they won't be that way once they are your client?

    i want my clients to understand that when they call they need to leave a message if i don't answer and that i will get back with them as soon as i can. that could be an hour from when they called or a day from when they called.

    i'm to the point in my business where while i'm still looking to grow i can be as picky about who i take on as a client as i want to be. so if you want a call back leave a message. no message no call back. if you find another LCO because i didn't call back soon enough well all i say is "oh well"
  9. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,722

    I'm solo as well.
    Being in a position to answer the phone when it rings takes some effort for sure. A pair of decent noise reducing earbuds attached to my smartphone allow me to hear it ring while working. I feel this is most important for the first 3-5 weeks into the season. The rest of the year I wear foam earplugs as they do a better job of protecting my hearing.

    Why do they call? Is it in response to YOUR advertising?

    Some folks get abandoned by their former LCO for various reasons...
    Did the previous LCO get out of the business?
    Did the previous LCO find this customer to be a PITA?
    Some folks decide they don't want to mow their lawn anymore...
    Some folks can't get their mower started...and their lawn is overgrown while their mower is at the shop.
    There's a plethora of reasons why folks might be trying to call YOU for your services.

    Obviously not all the above folks/scenarios fit into one's business model.

    ^^^ A few probing questions can ID who/what they are.

    Got any current PITA customers that you would consider replacing?

    I offer these bits of wisdom not as a retort to you, yardguy28. It sounds like you already know all this. But when any of us can help another reader/poster - it makes Lawnsite truly better than sliced bread!
  10. kgflyboy

    kgflyboy LawnSite Member
    from MO
    Messages: 91

    I use an android phone. I have also owned iphones. They are both useful, and it comes to personal preference. If you have a Mac at home, it will be easier to sync some things if you use an iphone.

    I definitely want to be able to return emails and calls while I'm out working. It seems like some people just hate change and don't like technology much. Ask customers whether they would rather you return their email/calls when you get them or when you get home. I think we all know what they will say. You can't underestimate how important customer service is in any service industry.

    My favorite app for my phone is square up. I haven't used it much yet, but I'm planning on encouraging customers to consider debit/credit card payments this year. It will save me time and money because I won't have to drive to the bank with cash or checks as often.

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