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Customer Service???

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by lawnservice, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. garydale

    garydale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 813

    We practice all the best parts in customer service. This is a service business and our reputation is everything.

    We return all calls the same day and answer all questions, including items we do not provide. By directing potential customers to associated companys, or to other selections that meet their need. ie. (we do not mow, give them contacts that do mow.)

    We have lists of mow guys, landscape guys, snow removal, grade & seed guys and tree removal services that we will email or fax to callers. The lists contain names of companys we know and trust their work ethic.

    After a life time in the industry I know people remember good deeds an we return the favor.

    The terms, "not my job and we don't do that" are not accepable.

    Ps: Those lists are on our letter head and have our services on them as well.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,561

    Great Customer Service--that is the one thing the small guy can deliver better than the big guys. To the big guys a customer is just a number.

    Sure big companies have economies of scale, as for example they can buy their chemicals cheaper. I am sure they have improved, but I remember the early days at TruGreen, when I was doing 1500 service calls per year and that was only for the west side of town. As I recall we got two weeks behind at times.
  3. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    I want to direct this note to Lawnservice and TSM. I fully understand what "Customer Service" is and how to go about performing such services. I also understand that for us to perform well and serve our customers we must stay in business. So we must made decisions in the best interest of our business. For instance if we sell machines that have a gross profit of $500.00 and then we spend $1000.00 to fly in and call on that customer it is bad business. We just spent $500 to go service someone. AT that rate we will not be in business very long. Likewize if a lawn operator makes $40 on a lawn service to drive 500 miles to perform that service is bad business.

    We try to call on as many of our customers as we can each year and we do it in a manner that is best suited to us. Both from a profit and service point of view.

    I would ask you this. Of all the manufacturers equipment you have in your ownership how many factory reps have called on you? Be honest now. How many Equipment Manufacturers have called you and said they would like to stop by and visit? Not dealer sales people actual people from the factory.

    Calling on customers from the factory is an expensive effort. We try to touch as many customers as we can personally but it is expensive and difficult. We do provide excellent service help on line and over the phone. We also have a program for customers to take equipment to local Turfco Servicing Dealers. The most important factor is providing service in some fashion that is useful to the customer.

    Again I will say " to drive 500 miles to service on lawn is not good business" Likewize to fly from Minneapolis to the east coast to call on one customer is not good business. We do the best we can and in todays world help over the phone is more prudent than flying someone around the country.

  4. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    i started this thread for discussion purpose, not to argue, we all have our opinions. I wasnt asking for opinions but facts (as in...what do you do to service your customer...looking for straight forward as a matter of fact answers)

    Most answered witht their customer service policies

    most of us share the same policies

    turfcobob, we dont own any turfco equipment (not because of any specific reason, we have rented turfco aerators in the past. Being honest our local rental place has newer equipment so if we need to rent we go to him...he happens to have turfco aerators, they have performed well enough and the rental company keeps them well serviced, I'm talkin the straight drum aerator not the newer split drum)
    I got to tell ya...even though you may not like my comment and some others will get their panties in a wad as well...reading your post above this one, seems you lack customer service in my opinion. We ALL lose profit when we perform a service call and our profit margins are most likey much more narrow than yours (i know mine is). I agree with you that driving 500 miles for a $40 lawn application is bad business. Now I'll ask you....show me one lawn service operator that has a customer 500 miles from shop?! we dont! bad business...or we'd have to price ourselves way out of the market, right?
    I would really have to remember your comments on service from this message board and think really hard before i would commit to purchasing any turfco equipment. but thats just me.

    we use realgreen software....but if i did it over again i'd go another direction knowing what i know now about their lack of service, or to be fair i should say their s-l-o-w service

    we dont purchase much product from lesco because unlike someothers we havent seen much customer service from our local service store

    For us to stay in business and be profitable we need to provide service after the sale. we could not get away with telling a customer that they should try another company and see if they get better service. WE NEED to provide the best service, WE NEED to keep our prices in line, we can not ignore even one customer because negative news travels like wild fire. Likewise, for us to stay in business we need to deal with vendors that provide timely service.

    thats all i'm sayin

    i recently hired a marketing company for one specific service they perform. this company has been emailing me for months twice per week. they telemarket me twice per month...i finally gave in and agreed to give them a try. They offered me a 'catch' for my commitment. the 'catch service' they offered....they have not provided, even after a few emails from me and one telephone call (so far) I paid them up front. I commited to one full year. I will not renew because of their lack of service AFTER THEY SOLD ME. Heard from them way to often before the sale....now they are so quite I can hear a pin drop.

    thats my only point:rolleyes:
  5. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    hmmmm, only 'frustrating' discussions i recall with you was the symbiot discussions.
    and they were opinions, we have opposing opinions...does that frustrate you??

    speaking of symbiot :) they would fit in well with this thread as far as lack of customer service, no?? :waving:
  6. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,153

    I think when looking at customer service you also need to priorize and handle the "complaints" the way they need to be handled.

    I think EVERY customer should be called back...but sometime it does't have to go any further then that. As this may be what TufcoBob is talking about.

    Some customer are HIGH MAINTENANCE...but if it costs you more to do business with them then you are making...then you just have to let them go. Simple business theory!

    The customer might want you to drive 500 miles, but almost everything can be taken care of over the phone or internet via e-mail and pictures.

    I have a couple customers that all they do is complain.

    I used to go to their home and spend an hour or so...but no more! I would rather them call CL or someone else to do business!

    Customer Servce is #1 but you must "know" your customer and make sure that the "complaint" is legitimate!

    There are two sides to every story...so I think we need to understand that the vendor (or us) may need to make a decision if we need to follow up every time.
  7. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 707

    (deep breath) not to rehash this but you did direct your comments to me.

    you had no problem sending two aerators from Minneapolis to the east coast once you got my credit card number. your service before the sale was top notch

    rcreech...cant see how turfco could think of me as a pita customer. since purchasing two aerators that we use regularly (we did also purchase a less expensive machine that steers better than their machines that get used as regularly) we have purchased other turfco equipment.
    Are you suggesting that turfco should drop me as a paying customer??

    you are correct that there are always two sides of any story. some love turfco and feel they have supper service after the sale. i like their product, not so much their service seeing as how i couldnt even get them to answer an email that was inquiring about making another purchase.
    maybe, as luck would have it, i'm the one in 10 million that slipped thru their cracks? i dont know....but it is what I base my opinion on.

    To stay on topic....as already mentioned by someone, we are in a service industry. Dont provide a customer service and watch how fast they drop you. As a matter of fact I have been amazed at some comments by other LCOs on this site that want to charge a fee for any and every call back they get. I dont get that?

    enough from me
  8. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Lawnservice: Customer Service is taking care of the customer. Which we do at Turfco. We offer all kinds of hlep over the phone and we can have parts to you the "next day".
    We cannot send someone, to personally handle all problems and do not need to. But we do handle "all problems". We attempt to keep in close contact with our customers as allowed by the fact that we are in Minneapolis and our customers are all over the world. Not just in Minneapolis. Customer Service is Everything we do before and after the sale.

    TSM is complaining because we did not come to see him in person when he wanted us to. We have to and do adjust our schedules to get the best out of each dollar spent just like you guys route trucks to use the best of your dollar. We cannot just jump and run to each location in the world to make a customer happy with our presence. Simple adjustments and instruction have to be done on the phone.

    When I said I would not drive 500 miles to service a customer I was refering to a lawn customer not a Turfco Customer. We constantly go coast to coast seeing customers in person. If we were to make personal visits a part of the sale an aerator would cost $8000.00 not $2500 to $3500. Get my drift. We do the best we can with the money we have to work with.

    Customer service is Our taking care of our customers needs. Call us today and we will have you the part tomorrow. Call us today and ask for a visit we will do it as soon as we are in the area. TurfcoTim and I do alot of personal visits in a year. Like I asked before, How many of the manufacturers of other equipment come to visit you? A personal visit is only a VERY SMALL part of CUSTOMER SERVICE.

  9. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,153

    I was not saying that directed towards you at all! I am just saying that one has to know where to stop as customer service is a COST and you have to make sure that the COST is "worth it".

    Can't say that you are or are not a PITA customer or not as I dont' know you.

    Why was you wanting Turfco to visit you anyway?

    Here are the questions:
    Do they have a great line of products ? YES
    Do they support their products? YES
    Do they need to go to everyones place of business everytime they call? Maybe sometimes....but I doubt it!
    Does it make them a bad company if they don't show up everytime the customer wants them to? NO

    Let the Lawn Site Panel a.k.a. "THE JURY" see if you had a legitimate reason for them to come see you.

    I think Turfco is a great company and I actually have lunch plans with Tim on Wednesday of next week.

    He just e-mailed me out of the blue last week and said he was going to be in the area and wanted to meet for lunch.

    He didn't have to do that, but I think that is GREAT customer service if you ask me!

    Just like us in our business....Turfco can't always make everyone happy I guess!

    LIBERTYLANDSCAPING LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,283

    Sure, they always wan't to take you out to lunch BEFORE the sale...:) It's what happens AFTER they get your money that counts!

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