Providing Five-Star Service to Lawn Care Customers - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Providing Five-Star Service to Lawn Care Customers

Photo: Ziehler Lawn Care

This information came from a session during the 2023 ELEVATE conference and expo. Don’t miss ELEVATE in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 3-6, 2024.

Does your lawn care company offer unmatched customer service? At Ziehler Lawn Care, based in Centerville, Ohio, they have developed a culture of customer experience to create a clear vision for their team to execute towards and be inspired by.

Andrew Ziehler, CEO of Ziehler Lawn Care, says customer experience is a company-wide team responsibility rather than a single department or person. This causes a mindset change from damage control to doing the right thing throughout the customer relationship to prevent issues from arising in the first place.

Foundation First

To decide who they wanted to be as a company, Ziehler first had to understand the customer’s thoughts and emotions. Dessine Ziehler, president of Ziehler Lawn Care, says the first step is to understand why customers purchase lawn care services.

Some may want to save time and others want a healthy, weed-free lawn, but digging down into the why behind these two responses reveals that customers want to make life more enjoyable, which is Ziehler’s core purpose.

By creating a clearly articulated foundation, you can have clear and consistent expectations for your team to execute. It also creates team member autonomy, accountability and buy-in. Ziehler says it provides a framework and guideline for creation and decision-making and facilitates consistent improvement.

Provide Quality Results

Some of the ways that Ziehler ensures they provide quality results is by timing their applications right, making adjustments on the fly based on the environment, being consistent with their products and having a simple application process.

Ziehler says they can go above and beyond in simple ways by bringing in customers’ trash cans, newspapers or deliveries.

Communicate Proactively

Ziehler says they build trust and add value with their clients by having full-circle communication. They listen, verify, set expectations, communicate internally, execute and close the loop by letting the customer know they did the job.

Some of the different ways you can be proactive include setting proper expectations during the sales process, notifying customers when you are coming and what you will be doing, and knocking before performing service. You can get ahead of potential issues by communicating customer-wide challenges and conducting service call follow-ups.

These after-service communications can be automated to say what was done, by who and when. Specialists can leave notes for the customer and solutions and upselling can be mentioned as well when closing the loop.

Communicating proactively also means responding to failures with a sense of urgency, doing what’s right and remedying the situation.

Develop a Team with Shared Values

Ziehler says that typically, training customer service is at the bottom of the checklist, but by recruiting A-players, you can find employees who can provide a quality customer experience.

When hiring, look for individuals with shared values and purpose, not just if they fit the position description. Ziehler says the relationship starts with hires during the interview process. When onboarding new employees, they spend a lot of time covering their foundation and avoid the mundane.

For the first 60 days, employees are paired up with a dedicated trainer and they have power hours of training for two to six weeks after starting.  

Gather and Evaluate Feedback

Ziehler Lawn Care is also able to improve their customer service by gathering feedback. They utilize metrics like service call rates and cancel rates, as well as customer reviews. Ziehler also evaluates how often they are called on their money-back guarantee.

They also send out a customer survey one to two times a year, which has 15 to 20% participation. They will proactively address specific customer concerns and contact those who gave them low ratings. They’ll also schedule property visits for larger concerns.

Ziehler says they make a point to share the specific callouts and overall feedback with their team.

Look for Opportunities to Innovate

While their customers say they are knowledgeable, professional, friendly, courteous and proactive, Ziehler is still always looking for new ways to be better, faster and cheaper.

They empower their team to share new ideas and also seek new concepts by networking with their peers.

For more content like this, register for next year’s ELEVATE in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 3-6.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.