If any landscapers who offer general landscaping services reading the title of this post think we have gone crazy, then please bear with us and all will be explained. We agree that it seems counterintuitive for any business, including a landscaping business, to actively seek complaints. After all, we are told that in this internet age people research online to see what kind of reviews businesses have and the more positive they are the better.
True, but what we are discussing here is not reviews, but complaints. Obviously, you should not seek negative reviews and should do all you can to prevent them. However, a complaint is different from a review although there is a relationship between them. That relationship is that the better you handle complaints the fewer negative reviews you will get.
As for the complaints themselves, it is preferable to go seeking any which may exist, rather than waiting for them to suddenly land on your desk. Read on, and we will explain why seeking rather than waiting on complaints can be advantageous for your landscaping business.
The Complaints Conundrum
If you research customer service and how and why customers complain you will come across surveys and there are several that ask customers the same two questions as below.
Questions #1: Have you ever experienced service so bad that you complained about it to the owner or the manager?
Question #2: Have you ever experienced poor service which you felt was not bad enough to complain about but, instead, you a) Did not use that business ever again, or b) Pledged never to recommend it to anyone, or c) Posted a negative review of it?
Do you think it is Question 1 or Question 2 to which most customers said “Yes”? Give yourself a gold star if you said #2. The reality is that your business, and just about every other business, will have more dissatisfied customers that they are unaware of and who take negative actions than they know who have complained.
The first problem this creates is that a business owner might be lulled into a false sense of security thinking that the small number of complaints they receive proves they are getting things right. However, the reality could be that for every complaining customer they deal with, there could be another ten who think their service is poor and who never return, or worse post negative reviews and tell all their friends and family to avoid that business.
Complaint Hunting And Its Benefits
The answer to the above conundrum is to actively encourage customers to approach you to inform you if there is anything that they are unhappy about. This might seem like creating a self-inflicted wound, but it has the opposite effect. First, clients will be genuinely appreciative and impressed that a business owner is open about wanting to know if anything is wrong than one who avoids them.
The next benefit is that by knowing about a complaint, you can do something to put it right and show to that customer how highly you value their custom and wish to ensure their satisfaction. Note, bizarrely more customers will speak positively about a business that sorts a problem, than one where no problems arose.
The final point we have to make is that by actively asking for complaints you have a greater understanding of what you might be doing wrong and can take steps to improve in that area so that the same problem does not reoccur.