According to New York Times bestselling author and legendary hostage negotiator Chris Voss, in any situation, there are two things that people want.
- Feeling safe and secure
- Being in control
The purpose of any relationship is that it makes you better. Healthy relationships endure when needs are balanced to give everyone what they want. How that happens is the subject of this article.
When you are hiring landscaping services you have certain outcomes in mind. To get them you need to choose a company that makes feel safe and in control.
For many people feeling safe and in control sounds too cold or clinical. They might say that what they really want is working with a company that always has their back.
We agree and have sifted through hundreds of customer experiences to capture what stands out that made people happen. To further simplify this we have categorized them ten ways.
#1. Thoughtful Communications
From the beginning, you can get a sense of how a relationship will progress from communication.
They communicate how and when you prefer. Nobody wants a late-night phone call or a text message at 5:00 am. You should ask about their communication preference and give them yours.
You’ll want to be sure that you’ll be given advance notice of what’s going to happen to avoid unnecessary surprises. This may include when people, materials, and equipment will be on your property and when you will be expected to make progress payments.
Be clear that once the contract is signed your permission is required for any changes, including upgrades and anything that affects the timeline and ultimate completion target date.
Weather is always a factor that can cause a break in the schedule. That’s understandable but most homeowners appreciate being notified when this is expected to happen.
#2. Systems and Processes That Make Sense
To say that people want to be safe and in control is an accurate statement. However, the source of that safety and control must come from their landscape contractor.
The systems and processes of every successful enterprise are what makes it work for its constituents. They are what gives everyone the knowledge that everything will work out as expected.
In any situation, we look to the one with the greatest authority for answers. The most common questions will pertain to what is going to happen in the future.
Therefore, you will know your landscaping company has your back if they can consistently answer one simple question. What’s next?
Their process will instantly inform them without hesitation and that assures your confidence.
#3. Accurate Planning and Timeline
In residential landscaping environments, timelines are often flexible. Whereas, commercial landscaping projects are nearly always held to strict timelines with penalties for running past deadlines.
Missing deadlines affect everyone. You may not lose money if your residential project takes longer than expected, but you will be inconvenienced nonetheless.
Accurate planning allows for inevitable delays such as those due to weather. It also gets everything on the table so that everyone has a better idea of what to expect and when.
We all have peace of mind when we know what to expect in the future. Sometimes that plan has to change. If so, it should happen with little disruption to the schedule that was agreed to when the project was launched.
#4. Interactive Collaboration
The best landscaping projects are the result of successful collaborations. Customers are actively involved in decisions from the outset. It’s a fluid process where each idea builds on the others to ultimately achieve something that is beyond what may have been imagined.
You know your landscaping company has your back when they carefully consider your ideas. Their process is designed to work with you rather than for you. That can often be the one ingredient that gets and keeps everything on track to reach its desired outcome.
The most successful professionals learn as much from their customers as they do from working with them. They understand that the best outcomes are nearly always the result of spirited collaborations.
#5. Impressive Logistics
Nobody likes surprises during stressful times. While the expectations from a landscaping project create excitement the process of getting there is disruptive.
Your landscaping company should not add to that stress. Plants should arrive on the days that they will be planted. Exceptions might be staging them at one time to minimize subsequent traffic that would otherwise unnecessarily compact soil.
Think of it this way. A landscaping project is a series of small projects. Just as you clear your desk at the office to focus on the project at hand, so it should be with your landscaping.
This makes everything proceed more smoothly and safely.
#6. Likeable Customer Relations
Planning, designing and building a landscaping project can be a roller coaster ride. There will be excitement and anticipation that can also create some anxiety and stress.
You know you are in good hands when steps are taken too smooth out the highs and lows of the process. Experienced landscape professionals know what you are going through and they want to make things right.
They have people in place that are trained to do whatever is necessary to keep the process moving as smoothly as possible. They know that rising summer temperatures can heat emotions too. You may have important events planned while also facing unavoidable weather delays.
Sometimes it’s necessary to communicate and prioritize everything to create the best possible outcomes. The best companies will be open and honest and involve you in the process of meeting your needs.
#7. Resourceful Troubleshooting
One aspect of customer relations is troubleshooting to find solutions to problems. Sometimes there are costs involved that customers are willing to share if it means meeting their priorities.
There are nearly always multiple ways to solve the same problem. As a homeowner, it’s important to know that there can be unforeseeable circumstances, typically found underground. Some properties may have the foundation of an earlier structure that was buried. Not entirely unforeseeable is the possibility of discovering bedrock that must be contended with or sandy soils that are unsuitable for building upon.
When you are interviewing companies to work with is when you should inquire about these types of challenges and how the company handled them. Every company has faced them and you can judge for yourself as to whether they are being honest about them.
#8. Relentless Professionalism
The motivation for choosing any kind of professional is to save time and money while getting a better result than one could on their own. You are paying for much of what we are discussing here, the systems and processes that have been designed and refined from years of committing to continuous improvement.
This can be measured is by the choices you have to make. Most people don’t want more choices, they want to be more confident in the choices they make.
For example, there are hundreds of crabapple tree varieties and cultivars to choose from. However, here in the midwest, there are maybe a few dozen at the most that will perform well for years to come. The reason for this is many varieties are susceptible to diseases such as apple scab.
A professional landscaping company will present you with the best choices for your landscape based on their experience and expertise for what works. They will eliminate the choices that could be problematic.
There is no way that any buyer can know as much as a professional that relentlessly upgrades his or her craft. These people and the companies they represent have your back.
#9. An Amazing Customer Experience
Creating amazing customer experiences requires discipline and consistency. It also requires feedback from the customers the company seeks to delight.
The customer experience represents how a business solves problems that make people’s lives better. It recognizes that people don’t want products and services as much as what they do.
Landscape contractors are service businesses. Many of them have outstanding products and services. One could argue that they have essentially the same products and services. Thus, a key differentiator is what it’s like to acquire and enjoy those products and services for years to come.
Apple aficionados believe its products are the best in the world. Some will disagree. Nevertheless, few will argue with the fact that Apple revolutionized the retail experience. Its stores account for revenue per square foot that is nearly double that of any other retailer.
You know Apple has your back from the moment you enter the store. How you are greeted and apprised throughout the experience has been carefully orchestrated. If you can find a landscaping company that comes close you have found a winner.
#10. Mutual Respect and Trust
The complexities of creating amazing landscapes demand that everyone works together as a team.
You have to trust your landscaping company to do their job while doing yours too. The best companies will serve as a guide, keeping you informed of what they need to make the project successful.
Some homeowners may initially resist being put to work. However, that effort soon feels good when they see their project progressing faster and easier than they expected. That’s how it should be and how it will be when your landscaping company has your back.