Better, Best! Culture

You become what you are. It is almost cliché. We hear it on every sports-broadcast these days… “These guys have a culture of winning – It’s built into their organization”. Even though its cliché, it’s still so important that we all want to know how to get it or make it. Here’s how we think about building a winning green industry business culture.

Values

Values are virtues. At our company the key values are SERVICE, DISCIPLINE, RESPONSIBILITY, PRODUCTIVITY. In simplest terms everyone is focused on:

  1. Making the customer happy.
  2. Following a process to consistently deliver on that promise.
  3. Taking the initiative and using creativity to do their job.
  4. Working as long as it takes (nights or weekends)… all to make the customer happy.

Values are who you are and who you want to be. They can make you the best… or a mediocrity.  What are yours?

Leadership

Leaders reinforce the value through example… especially in the way they treat employees, partners, vendors and customers. I am the company’s chief officer and salesman.

On a recent sales call with one of our staff, I was actively talking the prospect OUT OF BUYING our product. After the call she said that in all her years she had never seen a sales person do that. In fact a day later the prospect called me and said the same thing. Why did I do it? It was the right thing to do… the product was not a great fit. Sure I could have closed the sale… but later on they may not have been very happy. Our #1 value, as you recall… make the customer happy.

People

Most people want to be part of something great. They want to invest their valuable time and energy in the pursuit of personal as well as larger organizational goals.

The trick is to find people who share your values, and then look for relevant experience or the ability to learn what you do. It is easier to teach people your business, than it is to teach them values.

So how do we hire people who share our values?  We first interview for our stated values. We try to involve as many people in the process so we get a good feel that a candidate “is like us”… and they fit it. Only then do we look at job and educational experience to determine if the candidate is worth pursuing.

Values, leadership and the selection and nurturing of our people are central to our efforts to build a culture that will drive our business success. Nothing is more important or worthwhile. Life is short… we want to spend our time in the pursuit of greatness with great people – or fail in the effort.

If you want to be the best, focus on culture from the start.

Better, Best! Landscape Business Customer Service

What’s makes you better competing with the other guy in the green industry when it comes to Customer Service?  What defines the best landscape business customer service?

Surely faster and better responsiveness is near the top of the list. Almost nothing succeeds in creating loyalty like quickly, happily and professionally fixing a problem or responding to a request.

The Best Are More Than Better

However, responsiveness while making you better may not make you the best! What do the best do when it comes to customer service? In other words, are they better than just responsive?  They are… they anticipate problems and/or requests before customer experiences them for themselves.

Now while it is not always practical or even desirable to anticipate everything, there is a level at which it is superior and creates customer value and fierce loyalty. How do they do it???? Client budgets are one of type of best practice that embodies and delivers on the anticipation promise.

Client Budget

At renewal time they not only provide a renewal budget, they provide a list of improvement and remediation ideas that educates the client regarding WHAT the client can do, and HOW MUCH it will cost.

Process

At renewal time, provide a simple one – two page document outlining the costs and benefits of the ideas with photos and text.  We can discuss and display the format of this document in a future article.

Benefit

Assuming your competitor is not doing this, you – with a simple document – get to demonstrate in concrete terms your superior customer care and your expertise.

Keys

The keys are:

  1. Produce a professional document with simple and accurate information.
  2. Deliver it to the customer with the proper description of your intent, your reasoning, and the benefit to the customer.
  3. Train (and re-train) your Account Managers to become expert at it… the document is nothing without the salesmanship that brings it to life.

If you want to better retention there is no better way than building fierce loyalty by anticipating the customers needs and providing ideas about how they can maximize the value of their investment in their landscape.

If you want to be the best – provide client budgets.