How to Better Manage Negative Customer Reviews

One negative customer review can lose a company 22 percent of its business, according to marketing firm Moz. What’s worse is that four negative customer reviews can chase away 70 percent of potential clients. Those are not positive statistics for any small business, including lawn and landscape companies.

Obtaining regular customer feedback is important to prevent bad customer reviews.

Use client feedback you obtain from surveys or site inspections to improve your service experience and help prevent negative customer reviews.

Despite the fact that online reviews are less trustworthy than customers think, according to the Journal of Consumer Research, Pew Research Center found that 82 percent of American adults “sometimes” or “always” read online reviews before engaging in a new relationship with a service provider. And 65 percent of them believe customeare generally accurate.

So what does this mean for you, the landscape professional? You can better manage the rise of bad customer reviews by listening to your clients with these strategies:

  1. If you can convince customers that you are taking their issues seriously, you can prevent three out of four of them from venting their frustrations via bad reviews, says a Corra study. Do this by making sure you respond publicly to negative reviews so customers feel heard and valued. Unfortunately, 96 percent of dissatisfied customers won’t tell the company how they feel, but they will tell 15 of their friends, so seeking out these negative customer reviews, while time-consuming, is important.
  2. Track signs of customer disengagement. Are your customers unsubscribing from your email lists, asking not to receive your direct mail or deleting your apps? Find out why.
  3. Ask customers for feedback on what they want on a regular basis to stay ahead of trends. You can also use customer feedback garnered from surveys or site inspections to improve your service experience.

The good news: Ninety percent of customers will give a company a second chance before giving up, the Corra survey says, so know that your efforts here will not go unnoticed.

For more customer service tips from landscape business experts, as well as insights into marketing and sales strategies and financial management, consider attending the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ LANDSCAPES event, Oct. 16-19 in Louisville, Kentucky.

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H-2B Cap Relief Pushed Until After the Mid-Terms


Last week, Congressional leadership reached a bipartisan deal to fund the government through the November mid-term elections. The appropriations committees in the House and the Senate filed a conference agreement on the FY 19 Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense appropriations bills, known as a “minibus”. The minibus includes funding provisions supported by Republicans and Democrats, and a funding level for the DOD that should encourage President Trump to sign the funding package despite his public statements aimed at shutting down the government without border wall funding. The minibus also includes a “continuing resolution” (CR) to maintain funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal Departments through December 7, 2018. The Senate passed the agreement (93-7) yesterday and the House is expected to approve the deal when they return from recess next week. Continue reading

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Rising Concerns with Distracted Drivers

Authored by Claire F. Martin, of Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson, P.C., H.R. Advisors to NALP members. This article appears in the September/October issue of the Landscape Professionals Magazine. 

Many industries require their employees to drive, either their own vehicles or company-owned vehicles, as a part of their job duties. However, the landscape industry is one industry that overwhelmingly requires its employees to drive for the job. With the rise of smartphones and the ability to multitask while driving, drivers, employers, and legislatures have grown more concerned about distracted drivers. Continue reading

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Lawn, Landscape, and Sports Turf Field Day at Virginia Tech

Author Tom Tracy is the Executive Director of the Virginia Turfgrass Council 

Turfgrass, horticulture, arboriculture, environmental sciences, and other industry segments can operate in self-imposed isolation.

Working towards achieving cohesiveness between different industry segments, Virginia Tech’s new School of Plant and Environmental Sciences conducted the second annual Lawn, Landscape, and Sports Turf Field Day on August 14. This event, administered by the Virginia Turfgrass Council, was held in Blacksburg at the Virginia Tech campus and more than 90 people attended. Continue reading

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4 Make or Break Web Marketing Trends for Landscaping Companies

Author: Alain Parcan, director of marketing for Market Hardware, Inc., an NALP consultant. See him speak at a Power Session at LANDSCAPES 2018 in Louisville. 

What’s trending up in web marketing and what’s trending down? Market Hardware’s team of Web Marketing experts put their heads together to come up with a comprehensive list of the 4 Web trends landscaping companies need to be familiar with. Here’s what you need to know. Continue reading

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One Contractor’s Journey Toward a Stronger Team

Article Author Lisa Perdue, is a Manager of Professional Development for LandOpt, an NALP Consultant Member firm.

Thomas Fancher can’t hide his pride in his team members. The owner of Dallas-based The Plant Concierge knows his team is his most valuable resource, and he is committed to finding unique ways to keep them engaged.

When Fancher and his team began to evaluate ways to enhance the business, they realized that they had a communication problem as many of their Account Managers weren’t proficient in Spanish, and some of the crew members weren’t proficient in English. Continue reading

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The West Coast Turns Out for the NALP Field Trip

Marty Grunder, Inc. Frank Mariani and Pacific Landscape Management teamed up with the National Association of Landscape Professionals to host the third annual NALP Field Trip, this time in Portland, Oregon. Record numbers of landscape pros joined us in Portland for the multi-day event.

The education sessions started with Marty Grunder kicking drawing in an analogy of David and Goliath. Grunder explained that no matter your size of company, you can always find your “slingshot” that sets you apart, like David did.  Through Grunder’s SMART method, he led a discussion of how companies of every size can distinguish themselves within their marketplace.  An important component of this method is being selective and building relationships with clients that are enjoyable to work with, but are also sustainable and profitable.

Another highlight of the event was the chance to tour the grounds and have dinner at the incredible Nike campus.

“We were so pleased with the amazing response we received from members all across the country, who came out in droves to experience our third annual Field Trip in Portland.  The combination of incredible content, being able to view one of the most successful landscaping firms in the country, as well as networking with some of the best and brightest in the industry, combined to make this our most successful Field Trip yet,” said Sabeena Hickman, CEO of NALP.

NALP would like to thank our event partners (Marty Grunder and the team at Marty Grunder, Inc., Frank Mariani, Bob Grover, and the team at Pacific Landscape Management), as well as our sponsors, and the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association, for supporting this event.

Dates and location for the 2019 event to be announced soon!

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Use the NALP Action Center to Contact Legislators

NALP is aggressively pursuing legislative fixes for our key advocacy issues; H-2B permanent cap relief and Pesticide Regulatory reform.

But we need your help NOW, before a looming September 30 deadline.  September 30, marks the end of the fiscal year for the government and Congress is required to pass 12 appropriations bills to keep the federal government funded and running.  Continue reading

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Telling the Story of Landscape Career Paths

We want to tell the story of the the amazing careers anyone can have in the landscape industry.

NALP’s Industry Growth Initiative is doing just that in a new national media campaign. We’ll be pitching stories to media such as:

  • Does Your High School Graduate Need to Go To a 4-Year College?
  • 10 Unusual College Majors That Pay Off
  • Why Millennials Don’t Want a Typical Office Job
  • All in the Family: Local Company Finds Hometown Success.

 

We need your help telling these stories. Contact Missy Henriksen if you can share any stories like the following:

  • Successful landscape professionals who opted out of college and trained on the job,
  • Advice/testimonials from young professionals who pursued an education in horticulture and are now successful landscape professionals,
  • Testimonials from young millennials working in the industry, or
  • Companies who are family-run and have found hometown success regionally.

 

 

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Senate and House Agriculture Committee Leaders Meet to Discuss Farm Bill

Last Thursday, Senate and House Agriculture Committee leadership met officially for the first time to discuss the 2018 Farm Bill, prior to full Conference Committee discussions.  Leadership of the Committees that met include   Agriculture Committee Chairmen Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Members Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN).   A full conference meeting including all the conferees will occur at a later date, likely not until September after the August recess.  Staffers on both Agriculture committees and for all the conferees will be busy working toward reconciling the two version of the farm bill in August and NALP will stay heavily engaged in the process; advocating for the inclusion of the critical pesticide preemption language in the final Farm Bill.

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