How to deal with a "know it all customer"...

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by AmGreen, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. AmGreen

    AmGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    Customer had a backyard full of weeds and some common bermuda (wire grass) which he wanted to keep, as he has sodded the front yard with tifway. Common started it's green up and was probably around 10% green (mainly beside the asphalt road and the foundation) but had a long way to go. There was an accessive amount of fescue clumps, henbit, and some type of tall gabbage looking weed with yellow flowers. At any rate, the customer wanted me to do the job as quickly and cheaply as possible. I sprayed glyphosate (round up) at a rate of 1.5 oz per 1000. I informed the customer of what I was spraying, since he asked, and told him that some of the greening bermuda may yellow but would not die. Got a call from him a week and a half later telling me that I have killed his entire lawn. I tried to explain to him that the bermuda was not dead and that everything would be ok. It took me another week to get out there and look at everything and he was still stuck on "you've killed my lawn - I did my research online", as I walked over his lawn and the bermuda was already greening back up - not to mention we had a frost 2 days after I sprayed. Anyone have any ideas on how to handle this guy. Should I do any other work for him if he calls (as I'm sure he will).
  2. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    Unfortunately, this is a PITA customer. All you can do is try (very hard mind you) to earn his trust and try and get him on your side. He may or may not stick around until the bermuda greens up, but after it does he will most likely call you to do more work. Be prepared for constant free service calls about every little blade that might have disease or grubs in June. You can deal with the guy or get rid of him now. I have quite a few PITA customers. It took lots of time to earn their trust, but you will always have 1 or 2 that know more than you no matter what that cancel.
  3. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    all y7ou can do is outsmart and out wit them. i never let a customer out smart me because if they dont have a degree in turf, then i dont think they
  4. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    After listening to their plan of attack, Agree and then explain very nicely how they have it under control and THEY DON"T NEED YOU. Move on because Know-it-all customers will always be a PITA. There are more fish in the sea.

    Here in retirement city Florida, we get the Yankee Know-it-All quite regularly. He had the most beautiful yard in the North and will have it in the south also. I just keep doing their neighbors yards and wait till they approaches me for service. Then I nail them with a lot of extras to get their yard back in shape. In some cases I tell them Sorry I am booked and not taking on any new customers.
  5. Happy Frog

    Happy Frog LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,224

    This should help you out:
    I don't think you are dealing with a "knows it all" customer. He had some concerns about his lawn and wanted to double check on the web what you told him about the lawn, that's all.
    One way to approach this in the future is to first acknowledge your customer's concern (this is very important). Something like: Yes, sir, I understand your concerns for your lawn and it may looks like it is dying. In fact, the yellowish color you can see is due to the chemical we used to kill the weeds and was accentuated by the frost we had. It is a normal side effect and your lawn will start to green in a few days. Your satisfaction is very important to us and I can come to reinspect your lawn if you feel there is a problem. Would you like us to do that?
    You'll find out that most customer will answer by the negative, and will trust your judgment.
  6. AmGreen

    AmGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    Suprisingly enough this guy is from New Jersey - Imagine that...
  7. AmGreen

    AmGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    Unfortunately I did try this tactic and it didn't seem to work - the guy went into a rage when I tried to inform him that his common bermuda was fine. He started kicking the dirt saying "see, it's dead, every bit of it." I think I'll take Ric's advice and simply tell him when he calls, that I'm busy. Funny thing is, I do 6 other lawns in that neighborhood - that I now intend on making sure they ALWAYS look better than his.
  8. Frank Fescue

    Frank Fescue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 713

    look, some people only understand force.
  9. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    What exactly is he asking you to do? If he isn't willing to "work with you" on a solution than you've answered your own question
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    No Way!!!!! People from NJ are the salt of the earth. They are never Know-It-All's. BTW the pope is Jewish.

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