Some customers just want to complain

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by JD2320, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. JD2320

    JD2320 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    Had two customers back to back today that complained. One was banging on her window when I was exiting the backyard.

    How come you didn't get the corners?
    I did Mam' the machine throws fertilizer up to 25 feet.
    It's not liquid? How long have you had that machine?
    No, it's granular as always, and I have had it for 4 years since I have had you as a customer.
    I have crabgrass!
    Can you come out and show me please?
    See the crabgrass?
    I'm sorry mam' that is not crabgrass, it is course fescue and I can not control it unless I kill it off with roundup and reseed.
    How come you didn't do the strip by the street when you aerated a few weeks ago!!!
    I did mam' I also did a pass up the other side of the driveway.
    It sure didn't look like it

    Didn't believe a word I said.

    Next job one street over.

    I have grubs!
    I didn't notice any grub damage, can you show me please?
    Right there
    Oh nothing to worry about. Thats your shady grass, red and chewings fescue that are a bit shallow rooted from the way they grow and clay soil and some pulled up a bit when you were raking your leaves. Digging for grubs as I said that I asked him, did you find any grubs?

    Didn't believe a word I said.

    Maybe I need to work on my explanations, or just agree with everything they say.

  2. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,266

    Customers get ornery (and slow paying) this time of year.
    They are tired of paying the lawn guy and want you done and off the yard for the year.

    That said, a guy told my brother (also in the biz) to "get that damned go kart off my lawn" as he was applying with his PG. People just love to complain and the lawn guy is an easy target.

    Next year, try to hit people's homes when they are not home. It is SOOO much easier.
  3. JD2320

    JD2320 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    I had to believe this first lady was angry about something else. She's always a little weird but today she was downright rude. She also did the old, My lawn has never looked so bad to me. It looked fine.

    Long term pre pay customers too. I fully expect they will both cancel.
  4. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    i have no idea why some cant just live their life and get over the small things that end up blowing way out of proportion.

    i had some call after a rain and say my fert washed away and they wanted me to re fertilize. really???!!!!
  5. JD2320

    JD2320 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    And they read nothing. The one lady thought I didn't get the corners because she was convinced I do liquid when it clearly states on the leave behind and no less than 3 other documents that every app is granular and I've done no less than 27 applications at her house over 4 years!

    I'm sure you have something (like me) on your leave behind that says water in etc etc etc.

    I get enough cancels as it is especially with this economy. I don't need cancel customers because they are having a bad day and are as skeptical as the day is long and don't trust anyone.
  6. jasontimm

    jasontimm LawnSite Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 362

    ya, i had one come running out of her house last week, yelling at me because "i didnt get close enough to her side walk" with the winterizer, as she stood on her sidewalk i pointed to her feet and asked her what she was standing in (sidewalk full of prills) i just shook my head and kept going...this time of year i hate people....except you guys.
  7. Harley-D

    Harley-D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    I hate people that ask you a question, any question, then blankly stare off already thinking of something else assinine to say while you try and educate them. Then they cut you off, because they weren't listening anyway, and ask the next dumb question. How do these people survive? Our society is on auto pilot and heading toward and mountain side....
  8. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    and I see tomorrows leaders today(campus students) doing that same stupid crap. so its not getting any better. And the teachers are just as bad....
  9. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    On the flip side I heard through my parents that a neighbor in their neighborhood I service both for mowing and chemical, said that he has never seen his lawn look so good. I get concerned with customers that have really high expectations because one single accident or mistake and you are canned.

    I really hope I can fill the shoes that he has provided for me. I have other customers that tell me I do a good job and they get complements on their lawn, but this fellow is different. He has been through many lawn service companies and chemical companies...I just hope I can make him happy come spring.
  10. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    The best way to handle complaining clients is to remain calm, patiently answer their questions and be on your way.

    I have had, upon occasion, client's whom pay a great deal for my services launch into me without warning. I listened for a moment, answered their comments and they persisted. I then asked what was really bothering them and they told me about something that was frustrating them - and it wasn't me.

    I simply tut-tutted with them and all apologized the next time I was on their property.

    Prior to developing a thick skin stuff like this used to bother me but it doesn't any longer. I do, however, draw the line at a client actually grabbing me when they want to show me a problem. Had one client whom was known for this as he had been through other service providers and when he approached me with the clear intention of man handling me to the area he was complaining about I told him very clearly if he grabbed me I would beat the living dogshit out of him.

    His wife gasped, he backed up and proceeded to calmly show me the problem (which wasn't anything covered under my contract) so I got a good $$$ repair out of it and he is still my client to this day. They laugh about it now about how I set limits and his wife told me (out of the hubby's hearing) she was glad someone finally stood up to him.

    You want a job where no one complains then work for a coroner's office bagging stiffs. Once you get used to the smell it really isn't bad work.

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