At the CEOs Unplugged panel at NALP’s Leaders Forum in January, six of the lawn and landscape industry’s top CEOs shared business advice with an audience of more than 200 other industry professionals.
One question dove into what CEOs will focus on for business improvement in 2020. They highlighted three key business trends.
Business Trends #1: Customer Experience
Customer experience is defined as interactions between a customer and a company throughout their business relationship. An interaction can include awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy, purchases and services.
And it’s no surprise that elevating customer experience is trending.
It’s no surprise that customer experience is a high.
“We as an industry need to focus on customer experience. If they don’t’ have a great experience, they’ll switch. It’s about how awesome the customer is,” explained Krisjan Berzins, Kingstown Lawn & Landscape, at Leaders Forum.
And research backs him up. American Express research found that 86 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Also, a Temkin Group study said companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn an average $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience. This amounts to a 70 percent revenue increase in 36 months.
The results: Companies who successfully implement a customer experience strategy achieve better customer satisfaction rates, reduced customer turnover and higher revenue.
Business Trends #2: Green Infrastructure
Green infrastructure, an alternative to traditional water management systems, provides cost-effective solutions to many of today’s water woes, such as flooding and stormwater pollution.
By definition, green infrastructure involves a variety of water management practices, such as green roofs, roadside plantings, rain gardens, and other measures that capture, filter, and reduce stormwater. In doing so, it cuts down on flooding and reduces runoff. Green infrastructure by design captures the rain where it falls.
“In terms of what’s trending, green infrastructure, such as rain gardens and green roofs, are hot,” explained Jeff Foley, Para Space Landscaping, at Leaders Forum.
In fact, in the U.S., more than 30,000 properties have been flooded an average of five times each, NRDC reports. EPA estimates annual flood damages will increase by $750 million by the end of the century.
There’s opportunity if you are cutting edge with this technology, Foley emphasized.
Business Trends #3: Innovation
What’s lacking in the landscape industry? According to LandscapeHub’s Lisa Fiore, “there is a lack of innovation. We need to focus on solutions.”
While “invention” is a creating a new idea, “innovation” by definition is the application and successful implementation of an idea.
More simply said, innovation means introducing something new into your business. Some ideas of this are:
- Improving or replacing business processes to increase efficiency and productivity.
- Developing new and improved services, often to meet changing customer demands.
- Adding value to existing services to differentiate a business from its competitors and increase its perceived value.
When a business filters innovation ideas (whether those come from inside or outside the company), identifies ones to focus on and implements them, that equals success.
Experts say innovation can help a business improve productivity, reduce costs, build brand value, become more competitive, establish new partnerships, and even improve profitability. On the contrary, businesses that fail to innovate lose marketshare, suffer decreased efficiency, lose employees, and even lack profit.
EDITOR’S NOTE: NALP’s Leaders Forum is the premier executive-level conference for landscape and lawn care company owners, senior executives and emerging leaders. If you want to take your leadership skills to the next level—and move your business to the next level—this conference is for you. Learn more about the 2021 event!