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The Most Important Customer Question for Tree Services to Ask

The Most Important Customer Question for Tree services to Ask

Last weekend I embarked on what is an annual springtime tradition in the Upper Midwest: the initial voyage outside my house into my yard after a long, cold winter. Like almost every one of your customers, I had to pick up some fallen twigs, rake some leaves, and look around to see the condition of the yard. I know this journey prompts a lot of phone calls to your office, however, what I never thought of before was the importance of this stroll.

As I was cleaning up my yard, I realized my thoughts were on what I really wanted to do with this space. How I would love to have an in-ground pool or bigger patio with built-in barbeque pit. How the corner of my yard, which was full of buckthorn and sumac a year ago, looks so much better all cleaned up and manicured. I thought to myself; why didn’t I do that sooner. And that’s when it hit me – the one singular, most important question for tree care companies to ask their customers…

What is your vision for your yard?

It is a simple question that carries tremendously powerful results. No matter what their response is, you have an answer that is based in emotion and we all know that emotion is truly what makes a sale. Additionally, an emotion-based sale allows you to provide a customer experience that they will rave about into the future to their friends and family members.

Getting people to talk about their vision for their yard opens up conversations well beyond the reason that they called you to come out. It gives you a chance to recommend a tree replacement that fits their vision, schedule regular pruning on other trees, or begin the discussion about how a PHC program would benefit their yard. Plus, seeing someone’s face light up when they start telling you about an idea they had for their yard makes every sales call more enjoyable.

Starting with this question when you first meet with the customer, can help your conversation flow naturally to their emotions. If they wonder why you asked them that, simply talk about how proper landscape planning needs to consider the largest plant first – the trees. Without planning with trees in mind, their vision certainly will not take shape.

Transform your sales appointments with this question and I promise you, your closing ratio will increase and you will have more smiles to talk about. Isn’t that really what we all want?

Written by: Eric Petersen

6 Stages of the Customer Journey

6 Stages of The Customer Journey

We all want more sales, right? The easiest way to do that is to create an endless amount of referrals from your existing customers. To do that you must provide an exceptional customer experience that motivates people to tell others. I wrote on this a while ago, in an article titled 3 Tips for Redefining your Customer Experience. In that article, I talk about focusing your attention on every touch-point with your customers to improve the way your customers feel about your company. I’d like to take this a bit further and share with you the stages of the customer journey to help you and your team enhance the customer experience and turn your current customers into promoters of your business.

 

Stage 1: Research – The first stage is where the customer gets to know you, and guess what, they are doing this on their own. It’s no secret that the primary research tool today is the internet. Therefore, you must have an attractive, mobile friendly, easy to navigate website that helps the prospective customer answer as many questions about your organization and the services you offer before they contact you. It is estimated that 80% of the sale is done before the prospect reaches out to the business. People do not want to be sold anymore. They will research your company and only contact you if they feel comfortable. You must grab their attention here and provide them with access to reviews and social media accounts to give them a feeling of what they can expect from your company. Also, there must be ample opportunities to contact you on every webpage so when they are ready, they know how to reach you.

 

Stage 2: Connection – When the prospect does reach out to your organization either via phone call, email/text/chat or in person, the initial conversation is critical. It sets the tone for the entire relationship. Training your team on how to engage with a new prospect is very important. What message do you want to portray? Consistency is the best way to successfully deliver your message. If you use a tag line on your website, make sure everyone uses that in conversations with customers and prospects. This goes for field employees as well since a lot of referral business actually happens on the jobsite when a curious neighbor asks one of your crew members what they are doing. When everyone within your organization talks the same way, the customer experience is heightened.

 

Stage 3: Decision – Your prospect has completed their research and has either chosen to use your company or not. If they have chosen your organization, celebrate this decision by confirming why they made the proper choice. You can do this verbally, with a hand written thank you card or an automated email. Whichever way you decide to do this, make sure the customer gets an immediate response from you. There is nothing more unnerving than to sign up for a service and not feel like your business is appreciated because you don’t hear from them. If the prospect did not choose your company, institute a follow up procedure to gain insight as to why they chose someone else. This will show the prospect that you truly care about their experiences with you by learning what you could have done better to earn their business.

 

Stage 4: Define the Experience – Because there are a number of variables that determine when tree work will actually be done, you must set up a realistic expectation for the customer. Tell them what factors come into play and what you will do to notify them of changes or delays in their project. Every tree service has lost a customer because the customer got anxious to have the work done and went with someone else because they didn’t know when you were going to get to it. Eliminate this risk by defining what the customer experience will be right at the time of the sale.

 

Stage 5: Performing the Work – Now it is time to deliver the promise that has been sold to the customer and perform the work. Because the salesperson is rarely at the job site when the work is being performed, the crew leader must have been informed of any concerns by the customer before the job starts. Internal job briefing is vital to make sure the crew performing the work meets the expectations of the customer.

 

Stage 6: Review and Promote – Once the job is complete you must check in with your customer to see how satisfied they were. Again, you can do this a number of different ways from an automated email survey to a written card to a phone call whichever fits best with your company. Similar to the lost prospect, by asking the customer to review the services you provided, you gain an opportunity to learn how to improve. Remember to ask all happy customers to give a testimony or direct them to online to give a review. It is in this last stage where you truly see whether or not your customers are enjoying their experience with your organization.

 

Being able to provide great tree care is expected by your customers and that is why they contacted you. What sets your company apart is mastering the customer journey so they are left feeling fantastic about their decision to choose your company. So take time to dig into each of these stages with your team members and come up with ways you can improve on each stage.

Written by: Eric Petersen