Words of Wilson features a rotating panel of consultants from Bruce Wilson & Company, a landscape consulting firm.
In today’s around-the-clock marketplace, accessibility is being redefined. What was once a service mandate, “to promptly return calls within 24 hours,” has been replaced by customers wanting to know if you’re a mobile click away.
Commercial real estate managers and homeowners are both taking their cues from “uberization,” a rapid response mindset and economic shift that is transforming expectations and fundamentally altering the way customers buy services.
How do we make this a win-win?
In data we’ve collected from surveys, one of the top reasons customers leave landscape services companies is because of slow service. While quality is a given, it’s meaningless without speed. Customers want better than best and they want us to see what’s important to them from their point of view. For service companies unable to keep up, customers will go somewhere else.
For truly great customer relationships, it’s important to know the deal-breakers: lack of communication, inadequate and reactive problem solving, and an inability to scale services to meet customer needs. The good news is that we’re making headway to resolve many of them.
Technology is ensuring that we stay on top of our customer engagement and communications game. Online platforms drive and map marketing content and sales data in real time, while CXM apps track the customer experience. Artificial intelligence makes it easier to forecast customer buying patterns and online portals manage customer inquiries, job contracts and billings, and the flow of service touchpoints.
Thanks to a leaner and digital mindset, the time we saved by pushing paper can now be better spent creating a culture of service excellence.
Ask, don’t tell.
In a market where customers have more power over your company’s success or failure than ever before, excellence is a point of differentiation. It’s not enough to be technically proficient. Keeping up with the changes driving your customers’ experience requires learning how well you’re meeting their expectations. The best way to get that information is to ask.
Customer surveys return data that drives profitability. But beyond the ROI, when you give your customers a chance to voice their concerns, you’re demonstrating your value as a customer-centered organization willing to learn where your customers are coming from. The insight you get can help you make decisions that can lead to lasting and significant improvements in service and satisfaction, increase effectiveness, drive opportunity, improve retention, grow enhancement revenue, get new business through referrals and build a book of business that aligns with strategic growth.
Benchmarks for success.
- What’s your strategic intent for service? Are your employees aligned around your company mission? Is your company mission customer-centered?
- Is your service strategy formulated and aligned with your growth goals and market space?
- Are you putting yourself in your customers’ place? Do you understand their problems and financial priorities?
- Do you used surveys to understand how you measure up to customer expectations?
- Are you investing in/budgeting for tools and technologies that make it easier to match your customers’ need for efficiencies, and better engage, deliver and interact?
- Do you have a road map for service excellence across all touch points of customer interface?
- Are your employees committed to making their customer-facing interactions positive?
- Is your sales team aligned with operations, marketing with sales?
- Is your customer-facing team empowered to take action necessary to make decisions that strengthen relationships in real time?
- Are you continuously learning from your competitors?
- Do you acknowledge customer-facing issues/mistakes and work with your team to correct?
- Do you celebrate your service success behaviors that earn and drive customer loyalty?