Ken Beasley on Customer Retention
U.S. Lawns Franchise Owner Ken Beasley has the secret formula…
Beasley, who lives in Natchez, Louisiana, owns U.S. Lawns Team – 346 in Alexandria, LA as well as Lafayette, LA Team – 426 and has three shops between the two territories. His is a success story filled with worthy insights into retaining customers, regardless of the tactics competition is using to try to steal them away.
…to keeping customers long-term.
In a recent conversation with Beasley, he made it sound easy enough, saying: “I guess it starts with me. As long as I’m happy the managers are happy; when the managers are happy the crew leaders are happy and on down the line. So, when everybody’s happy and in a good mood it flows all the way through back to the customer.”
The real question is, what does it take to make sure everyone stays happy?
According to Ken, the top complaints he hears from commercial property owners and managers are all surrounding consistency. Customers want to know when they can expect their crew to be there every week. As importantly, they want to know it’s going to be the same crew, familiar with their property and its needs, week after week.
Consistency is the first ingredient.
Ken boiled it down like this: “We just do what we say we’re going do. We’re consistent. We come on the same time of the same day every week. Consistency is really a big thing.”
He keeps customers because he remains constant and true. Being consistent with his crew plays an equal, if not bigger role in client retention. Admittedly, Ken has seen his share of turnover, but it’s been several years now, and it’s because he understands the value of showing how much he appreciates people – internally and externally.
Always show your appreciation.
He expanded on the ways he expresses appreciation to his customers: “Well, when they have a concern, we overreact for sure. But every chance that I get personally, and my managers do it too, we just let them know that we’re so thankful. That’s the big thing, I mean we’re not rocket scientists, we’re just mowing grass. But when folks know that we genuinely appreciate their business and we genuinely care about them and their success it goes a long way.”
and always do it with sincerity.
He then continued introspectively, “I tell my managers all the time, ‘Don’t think of a contract as money, think of it as we’re going to help these folks out, like we really, sincerely think that the product that we’re selling you is going to help save you money and make life better for you. And if you do that and you really mean it – you have to really mean it; you can’t fake it; you’ve got to be sincere about it – but when you do, it’s kind of hard for somebody to say no to it and if you’re consistent with that, it’s kind of hard for them to fire you; and the money comes afterwards. Of course, we’re doing this for money, that’s why we’re working, but if you put the customer first, the money comes afterwards and it’s usually better.”
Beasley applies the very same principle to his team, and he invests in them because he knows that ultimately, having happy employees translates to higher productivity, better work, and positive interaction with crewmates and clients alike.
Invest in your team.
“One thing we do that goes farther than people realize is, after they’ve been with us for 90 days, every year on their birthday, my manager picks them up from the job, takes them to the store and buys them a new pair of work boots. But the really cool thing is, they get to spend an hour in the truck with their manager and talk. I think that has paid off for us big time, it just makes people think they’re part of something special.”
They also hold an annual conference each year, modeled after the U.S. Lawns Annual Conference, where awards are presented and door prizes are given away.
Stay on top of customer service.
Communication is another key ingredient to customer loyalty. His team has face-to-face communication with property managers on a weekly basis, and tour the property once a month to do quality control. He’s even been known to send 50 employees to one property at the same time in order to save a contract. He maintains that the reason they retain their customers has more to do with the fact that they communicate with customers and respond to their concerns so well, than the actual work they do.
Believe in what you’re selling.
“You have to believe in the product that you’re selling. If you don’t believe in your product, you will not sell it, and if you believe in your product it’s easy, easy, easy to sell. I believe our product is awesome. There’s nothing like us out there and I really, really believe that, I don’t just say that because it sounds cool, it’s truth. We really have a great product and it’s exciting that we get to offer it to people. As long as I feel that way then everybody feels that way all the way down the line. It works. We’re proof of that, we believed in the brand, and we believed in the systems and it paid off for us big time.”
Ken gets right to the heart of who U.S. Lawns really is, and it’s also why he’s fulfilling our mission every day. We’re so proud that he’s part of our stellar Network!