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The most important aspect of growing your business is keeping the customers you already have. If you must first replace 30% to 40% of your customers every year due to cancels, it will be difficult if not impossible to grow your business.
In order to limit cancels, it helps to understand why lawn and landscape customers cancel.
Below is a small excerpt from a large consumer focus group study conducted several years ago in 4 cities throughout the Midwest and the east coast as to why homeowners cancel their lawn care service.
Poor service, poor results, (specifically poor weed control) and lack of professionalism (not showing up, rude behavior, etc.) were the primary reasons for dropping a lawn care service.
Most customers applied a "two strikes and you're out" rule when canceling lawn service. Many canceled simply because the service didn't show up to fertilize the lawn when they were supposed to, or because they refused to come back to re-treat when things weren't done right the first time.
Poor results were usually the first step toward an unhappy customer.
Many droppers reported a decrease in service and results over time.
Unresponsiveness was another customer irritation.
Customers desired better communication between themselves and their lawn service.
Some customers stated that lawn services were often responsible for problems instead of fixing them.
Unprofessional, untrained, and unknowledgeable staff was a turnoff for many respondents.
Sometimes cost was an issue. A few respondents, especially those who perceived very little differences between lawn care service companies, would always switch services for a lower price.
Taking care of and retaining your customers is imperative if you want to succeed in this business. Think about the cost to replace them – somewhere between $50 and $300. Wouldn’t you spend that much to keep them if you needed to?
It makes sense to do whatever you can within reason to save a good-paying customer. And one of the easiest ways, is calling them on a regular basis. One of our lawn care clients calls his customers after each and every application, just to be sure they weren't having any problems.
If you receive a lawn complaint or a question, follow-up immediately. Guarantee your client's satisfaction with your service. Unhappy customers are not only expensive to replace but they can take away even more business when they leave by sharing their dissatisfaction with others.
Always under-promise and over-deliver your service.
The Focus Groups:
We paid groups of homeowners that had used professional lawn care services in the past five years to sit down in a comfortable environment to answer specific questions about their experiences with the lawn care industry.
Groups were usually limited to no more than 10 people. Each group session lasted about 2 hours and was filmed and transcribed.
These people included a broad spectrum of demographics in 4 mid to large city metro areas.