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Your customer’s problem is your problem

Earlier this year, after my lawn had been aerated and fertilized, I noticed yellow grass forming along the eastern perimeter of my front yard. My initial thought was that my lawn service had inadvertently over-sprayed grass killer while treating the rock landscaping that borders the lawn. So I called and asked if a rep could come out and take a look at it.

A couple days later, a tech stopped by to examine the grass and told me I had lawn mites. He suggested I rake the yellow areas to remove the dead layer of grass. As he prepared to leave, I asked, “Is there something you can do to eliminate the lawn mites?” He said that he would add it to my next service ticket but, in the meantime, I should reseed or re-sod the areas of my lawn that had been damaged.

Later, I went to the lawn service’s website and found an entire page devoted to the detection and treatment of lawn mites.

I contacted the same service tech, Mitch, who diagnosed the problem and asked him why (since his company dedicates an entire web page to the detection and treatment of lawn mites) this issue had not been addressed in the preventative maintenance last fall or earlier this spring? And why is it my responsibility (when his company had twice serviced my lawn in the previous 30 days) to identify the problem, schedule a tech inspection, and replace the affected areas of grass, when I had retained a lawn service to ensure the health of my lawn?

I told him, “I think our goals are the same: A green lawn. I’m writing checks and watering regularly but I expect you to manage the rest. Even if lawn mites were beyond the scope of our service agreement (they’re not), I would expect your counsel regarding treatment—even if additional charges apply—because we both want a green lawn, right? Does this sound reasonable to you?”

To his credit, Mitch did not become defensive. He agreed that my expectations were reasonable, accepted responsibility, and returned the following day to repair the damaged areas of my lawn.

When your customers have a problem, you have a problem. Rather than overlooking the issue or passing the buck to customers, accept personal responsibility and express genuine interest in resolving the problem quickly.

Doing so will leave a lasting positive impression that customers will recall (in the case of a lawn service) when rates increase, it’s time to renew their service agreements or a neighbor asks for a referral.

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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