As a business owner, you probably dread dealing with
customer complaints, but they must be handled because they don’t just go away
and can’t always be avoided. Especially in the lawn care industry, no one is
perfect and you are definitely not going to please everyone.
Why Do Your Customers Complain?
To properly deal with customer complaints it is important to
understand why customers complain. Your customers complain when they are
frustrated with something that occurred during the lawn service they received.
It comes down to not meeting their expectations. For lawn and landscape
companies, this can be a multitude of things including not showing up when
scheduled, leaving the gate open, not blowing off a porch or patio, or not
billing the customer correctly.
Fortunately, most of these problems can be avoided or fixed
in a timely manner. Now, I know you can’t please everyone because there are
always a handful of customers out there that are off the charts crazy. It
doesn’t matter what you do for them, you just can’t please them. Those however
are the exception, the vast majority of customers that complain sincerely want
their problems resolved.
Where Do Customers Complain?
In all likelihood, customer’s will complain in one of two
ways, on the phone or on the internet by leaving a negative review on websites
like Google, Facebook, Yelp, or other review sites. I will talk about how to
handle customer complaints but first, let me explain how to avoid them getting
out of hand and you can’t avoid a negative review.
When a customer calls your office to complain over the
phone, it is important to understand they just want the problem resolved. They
are unhappy, and whether you agree with the issue or not, they are giving you a
chance to fix the problem for them. You need to fix it and fix it fast. You or
management staff need to take their call and not become defensive even if you
feel like they are wrong. You never fight fire with fire, It is a recipe for
disaster. You should handle every complaint with a “YES” attitude, and do
everything you can to prevent the complaint from going to a public place lake a
negative online review.
Remember when customers complain, they are not trying to
hurt you or your business, they just want their problems resolved.
Your customer service team needs to know if a customer call
with a complaint and wants to speak with a manager, let them speak to the
manager. The worst thing they can do is try and screen the calls for a manager,
if you have a manager that does not want to take customer complaints then you
might consider looking for a new manager. Another thing you must do is to make
sure that the manager and everyone on your team has the power to fix a
customer’s problem. If they don’t have the authority to deal with the customer’s
issues then all the problems will eventually be escalated to the owner, either
directly by dealing with the client or financially by losing the customer and
getting a negative review online that could cost you future business. I am not
saying as an owner you will never have to deal with complaints, but if you are
dealing with all of them, then the problem is with your process. When a
customer calls to complain the ideal outcome is to have the issue resolved or
scheduled to be resolved before the call ends.
What To Do When A Customer Leaves A Negative Review Online
For most recurring customers that are not crazy, when they
leave a negative review online it’s the final straw. It is likely that you
either didn’t correct an issue or have repeatedly failed to meet their
expectations, and now they are mad and are trying to hurt your businesses
The good news is, it’s not too late. You can still fix the
issue, and it can be turned into an opportunity for new business. The way you
handle negative reviews online can make or break your business in the future.
If you have a lot of complaints or negative reviews online then you need to
seriously look at your process and find out what you need to do improve your
How To Respond To Negative Online Reviews
Before we cover how to respond to negative online reviews
for your lawn or landscape business, let’s remember what a negative online
review is. It is a cry for help from an angry customer. It’s usually from a
customer that has tried to get the problem resolved by phone or email, buy your
company failed to help them. It is usually customers last way to express their
disappointment in the service they were provided. The most important thing to
remember is this complaint is now public and every potential new customer can
see it, and more importantly how you handle it.
The worst thing you can do is be defensive or attack them.
When someone is looking for a new lawn and landscape company they expect not to
see all 5 star reviews. But on those 1, 2, or 3 star reviews if the owner is
arguing with the customer or calling them crazy that reflects poorly on
business. More importantly how does it make your potential future clients feel?
Probably like if they are unhappy with the service they receive it won’t be
handled properly either. Then they move on to your competitors. When someone
replies to an online review in a negative way they take that negative situation
and make it worse. That one review and inappropriate response can cost the
business thousands of dollars in lost revenue just from the way it was
What you should do and yes this is where the magic happens,
you should respond with a “YES” attitude and do everything you can to resolve
the customer’s problem by taking it offline.
Here is an example of how you should respond:
Hello [customer name] I am very sorry about the problem you
are having with the service you were provided and want to resolve this for you
right away. My name is [your name] I’m the [your title] I’m going to contact
you immediately via telephone, so we can get this problem resolved for you
Then you pick up the phone and contact the customer and get
the problem resolved ASAP! Whatever it takes. You need to understand that once
a customer publishes a negative review they can typically not remove it, they
can usually update it or comment on it. After you resolve the problem, you can
ask the customer to update the review saying that you took care of the problem.
Every potential customer in the future who reads that review
will know that you stand behind your work and are willing to fix a customer’s
problem. Customer’s know that no company is perfect, they just want the
reassurance that if a problem does come up, you will be there to help them.
Every lawn care business will have customer complaints; it’s
how you handle them that defines the success of your business.
If you’re interested in learning more about how lawn care
marketing mechanic helps their clients manage their online reputation and help
them get their internet marketing right you can schedule a