Everybody expects good service. It’s why we tip our bartenders, barbers and baristas. It’s why a five-star dinner is different than a trip to Red Lobster. And yet, if we asked you to define what makes good service, you’d probably all give different answers.
At U.S. Lawns, we’ve spent about two years discussing the Service Revolution. We think that’s pretty real. But let’s be honest: service isn’t something you can measure with numbers, or correlate directly to revenue. We know it when we see it—but is that enough?
It’s time to get consistent when we talk about service. Yes, your personal definition of great service may differ from someone else’s. But when you’re in charge of training a team, it’s important to have standard guidelines. That’s why the folks at the Home Office have put together a few key phrases we think you should adopt in your customer interactions. These are basic service words that every customer wants to hear. How often are you saying them? Take a look, familiarize yourself, and share them with your team.
- How else can I help? This is one of the most important customer service questions you can ask. And it isn’t just about upselling enhancements (although that’s a definite side benefit). It’s also a way to unlock your customer’s true wishes—and allow you to be responsive when addressing them. It’s a fact of human psychology that people don’t always ask for what they want unless prompted. By expressing genuine interest in your customer’s needs—and then demonstrating your willingness to act on them—you’ll position yourself as a valuable partner to their business.
- How did we do? No job is finished without this question. And we don’t just mean landscaping jobs; it could be a proposal presentation, a property walk-through, a new billing process—anything. We’ve had franchise owners who worked with clients forever, never hearing a complaint, only to learn later that the customer was highly dissatisfied. You and I are not mind readers. We don’t always know when someone’s unhappy, especially since it’s human nature to avoid complaining. Asking for feedback will generate real evidence to work from. And if it feels awkward to ask outright, you can always try sending surveys, asking for Yelp or Google reviews, etc.
- Call us for anything you need. Yes, this may sound redundant, since your customers obviously know how to reach you. But that’s not the point. This phrase really says: “We care about your specific needs, and we promise to always be responsive.” It also lets them know you’re up for a two-way conversation. So, practice saying this at the end of phone calls, after a QC inspection or a walk-through, during meetings, in your emails, and just about every day. Because your customers can contact you for anything they need—that’s called Radical Personalization, and it’s what separates you from your competition.
- We really enjoy doing business with you. “Thank you for your business” sounds a little like you’re grateful for their money. “It was a pleasure doing business with you” sounds too formal, and possibly fake. You have to be sincere, or this phrase won’t work. We really enjoy doing business with you. Note: if you can’t say this sincerely about a particular customer, you may want to ask yourself why. Perhaps it’s time for a “How did we do?” conversation next.
- Our community… What do you and your customers have in common? You’re local business professionals in the same geographic area. This is a good thing to bring up, because human beings like interacting with others they can relate to. Saying “our community” or “our city” or “our neighborhood” will create a sense of comfort, as well as fostering loyalty. It’s a subtle, almost subliminal message, but one that unmistakably says, “we’re in this together.” Encourage your team to see customers as neighbors, and you’ll increase their sense of loyalty and investment, too. We’re all in this together—that’s the power of the network.
As you work to bring customer service into your business, expressions like these can help you define and quantify what you’re doing. They give your team something concrete to practice, and to know they’re doing right. The more we talk about consistency this year, the more we’ll continue to introduce tools that help you achieve your goal of outstanding service—however you define it.