Tag Archives: business model

How to upsell? Market well

 By Christopher Noon

chris_noonIt amazes me when fellow business owners get upset when one of their customers uses another company to perform a service they also offer.
For example, earlier this year the owner of a landscape firm expressed frustration to me when a lawn maintenance client hired a competitor to install a walkway. He also offers this service.

A few months ago I was guilty of the same thing. I had my house painted by a local painting company. I struggled to find a firm that was reliable and competitive. After weeks of collecting quotes, I selected someone I thought would do a quality job on time. About a week later I got a phone call from the handyman I use for most small projects and repairs around my house. He sounded a little annoyed, but he remained calm as he asked why I didn’t offer him the opportunity to quote the painting project. I was honest with him and told him I had no idea his company performed large exterior painting projects. Additionally, while he was at my home doing other repairs he never mentioned to me that he had concerns about the paint peeling off my home’s exterior.

In other words, he wasn’t proactive in providing me with a quote or asking if his company could have the opportunity to paint my house.

I’ve made this mistake many times with my own lawn care firm. I’ve seen my clients hire a competing company to treat trees or perform flea and tick spraying. But I was never frustrated with my client; I was frustrated with myself for not communicating with them enough to explain we offer these services.

Don’t assume

Over the years, I’ve owned and managed the sales for service companies, and I’ve stressed and reinforced to my sales team that the world doesn’t revolve around us. It’s our responsibility to market and educate our customers about our services and how they may meet their needs.
As business owners we often make the mistake of assuming our customers know all our services.

Selling supplemental services to your customer base is not only profitable, but it also creates more loyalty from clients who will continue to do business with you year after year.

At Noon Turf Care, we study the results of our marketing and sales campaigns each year. More than 30 percent of our annual revenue growth comes from add-ons sold to existing customers.

Let customers know the other services you provide when they first contract with you. If they don’t buy the extra  service right away, at least you planted the seed. Photo: ©istock.com/YvanDube

We all know how much easier it is to provide more services to an existing customer who trusts you than it is to get a new customer. So how do you sell extra services to your customer base? Start by making sure the supplemental services you sell are adding value and filling a need. You do this with education and reinforcement.

For example, if your lawn or landscape company has a client who only buys regular lawn maintenance and you also prune trees, let them know. Explain the benefits of regular tree and shrub pruning (for both aesthetics and health), and let them know that your company offers this solution. You can do this in person, over the phone or even by email. Your add-on services will sell themselves as long as you educate clients by diagnosing a problem and anticipating a need.

The other method to selling supplemental services is to always be marketing to customers by staying in front of them. It starts right at the point of sale with a new customer. Let them know the other services you provide when they first contract with you. If they don’t buy the extra service right away, at least you planted the seed.

As you onboard a new customer it’s also important to market to them consistently and make them aware of the other services you offer. Schedule these follow-up campaigns when your company typically performs the services. Some ideas are having the sales/production teams leave education tips on leaflets when they’re on-site, send postcards in the mail, do dedicated email campaigns or include up-sell services in a regular newsletter.

It’s our job as professionals to make sure the customer is aware of our services. That way when their property needs something, they buy from us and not our competitors.

Christopher Noon is CEO of Noon Turf Care in Marlborough, Mass., and owner of Green Light Consulting Services. Reach him at cnoon@greenlcs.com.

Noon Turf Care restructures compensation model

To create happy, long-term clients, Noon Turf Care restructured its lawn tech compensation model. 

Chris Noon

Noon Turf Care’s lawn care technicians used to get paid by what Chris Noon calls the old-fashioned way: The more homes each tech treated in a day, the more money he or she made. Despite high production rates, client turnover was a problem for the $8 million company based in Marlborough, Mass., and Noon, the company’s president, thought maybe there was a better way. After a complete overhaul of Noon Turf Care’s employee payment and bonus structures, and with a new emphasis on customer interaction, the company’s client retention rate is up 7 percent since last year and workers are more focused on providing superior customer service than ever before.

“We are a small, regional business, so we would rather solve clients’ problems,” Noon says of his company’s new approach. “We don’t want to just keep turning people over.”

Noon Turf Care provides lawn care services to a 95-percent residential client base. The company began to address client retention issues about two years ago when it launched a new customer service strategy modeled after the pest control industry, which boasts an average client retention rate of about 90 percent. Noon believes part of the pest industry’s enviable retention rate is, unlike the lawn care industry, it often requires signed contracts. But he also credits much of it to the relationships developed between clients and technicians, a result of the mandatory face-to-face interaction that takes place when the tech enters a client’s home. 

“The pest industry has that emotional client/employee relationship—they have to coordinate, set a schedule and make the appointments happen,” Noon says. “Our customers don’t have to open the door, but, we said, ‘Let’s pretend they do.’”

Client-Retention-Program-Noon-Turf-Care-3So Noon Turf Care brought that same level of client interaction to its lawn care business. Each new customer is required to have an in-person consultation with a lawn care technician before the first service is performed. During this visit, the tech walks the yard with the client, discusses lawn issues and finds out what the customer didn’t like about his or her previous lawn care provider. But more than that, these visits help the clients associate Noon Turf Care with an individual who they can get to know and trust.

As a result of the new service approach, Noon Turf Care implemented a retention bonus about seven months ago. The incentive is determined through a formula the company calls the “N” Factor. Technicians are paid a base salary plus a bonus multiplier based on criteria such as prior years’ retention rate, education and years of experience. Retention is measured individually per tech and route, and the bonus is calculated weekly with the opportunity for employees to earn an annual bonus, as well. The better the client retention rate, the higher the multiplier, and, ultimately, the more money employees earn. Noon Turf Care technicians can earn up to six figures annually if they maintain the company’s standard level, Noon says.

Although this new approach takes more time and overall production has gone down, the 7-percent increase in customer retention and the 15-percent decrease in service calls since last
year is proof for Noon that his
approach is working.

“Our techs had to slow down a little bit; they had to take their time,” Noon says. “But a little extra time upfront making that human connection goes a long way. Our field techs know that this first point of contact is very important now.” 

Client-Retention-Program-Noon-Turf-Care-2Each Noon Turf Care technician is required to complete a week of classroom training that includes presentations and role-playing situations, plus a week of in-field training with a branch manager where they observe what appropriate client interaction should look like. After their training is complete, each technician is assigned a permanent route for the year. Technicians aren’t permitted to service any lawns that aren’t part of their routes, which not only holds all techs accountable for their workloads, but it ensures they develop and maintain relationships with their specific clients. 

“We are putting a definition to better service,” Noon says. “We are going to compensate our team members to offer better service and keep clients happy.”

The program is still in its early stages, and Noon Turf Care hasn’t yet done a formal survey to gauge how clients view the changes in the company’s practices. But with client retention up and the number of service calls down, Noon expects any future client feedback to be positive. He adds that by retaining their current clients though superior customer service, he expects word-of-mouth referrals will help them earn new clients in the future. 

“It’s sort of a game changer—I haven’t seen any other companies doing anything like this and being effective with it, and I haven’t heard of any other forms of employee compensation that have worked,” Noon says. “New clients don’t know anything about us, so we have to get off on the right foot. We’re treating that as a necessity and making it happen.”

Please Do Not Leave A Message: Why Millennials Hate Voice Mail

The phone company Vonage reported a drop in voice mail retrievals over the past year. Many of those ignoring voice mails are millennials.

The phone company Vonage reported a drop in voice mail retrievals over the past year. Many of those ignoring voice mails are millennials.

This story is part of the New Boom series on millennials in America.

We’ve all heard that automated voice mail lady, telling us what to do after the beep. But fewer people than ever are leaving messages. And the millennials, they won’t even listen to them — they’d much rather receive a text or Facebook message.

“I did have at one point in time like 103 unheard messages,” says 31-year-old Antonia Kidd.

The New York Times reported in June that the phone service Vonage saw a significant drop in voice mail retrievals over the past year.

“Wherever we’re talking to them, we’re hearing the same things, which is: When it comes to voice mail, they’re just over it,” says Jane Buckingham, a trend analyst at Trendera.

Kidd’s main problem with voice mail is that it’s time consuming, and she’s tired of listening to butt-dials and rambling messages. If someone really wants to get hold of her, there are lots of ways to do it, she says.

“I guess I usually just assume that it’s probably not that important if you didn’t text me, and you didn’t send me a message on Facebook,” Kidd says.

Many 18- to 34-year-olds feel that way. But step inside the office, and the old rules still apply. There’s no escaping the beep.

“When you say, ‘Hello, my name is,’ smile when you say it, and also, sit up straight,” says Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder of The Etiquette School of New York.

She teaches college students and young professionals how to behave in the business world, including how to leave a proper voice mail.

“The fact that we have four generations in the workplace, and they’re going to be there for some time, the younger generations — the millennials, the Y generation — they’re going to need to adapt,” Napier-Fitzpatrick says.

But that doesn’t stop some millennials like 26-year-old Nick Sirianno from feeling that voice mail is clearly a thing of the past.

“It might evolve into something kind of special and exciting,” he says. “Like a telegram once was.”

Buckingham, the trend expert, says that millennials are just doing what works for them.

“Everyone criticizes the millennials for being the ‘me’ generation and being so entitled,” she says. “I don’t think they’re so entitled. I think they’re just incredibly pragmatic. So for them if a voice mail isn’t practical — which most of the time it isn’t — and there’s a more practical way of delivering the same information, they’re gonna go for that.”

Noon Turf Care restructures compensation model

Authored by: 

To create happy, long-term clients, Noon Turf Care restructured its lawn tech compensation model. 

Chris Noon

Noon Turf Care’s lawn care technicians used to get paid by what Chris Noon calls the old-fashioned way: The more homes each tech treated in a day, the more money he or she made. Despite high production rates, client turnover was a problem for the $8 million company based in Marlborough, Mass., and Noon, the company’s president, thought maybe there was a better way. After a complete overhaul of Noon Turf Care’s employee payment and bonus structures, and with a new emphasis on customer interaction, the company’s client retention rate is up 7 percent since last year and workers are more focused on providing superior customer service than ever before.

“We are a small, regional business, so we would rather solve clients’ problems,” Noon says of his company’s new approach. “We don’t want to just keep turning people over.”

Noon Turf Care provides lawn care services to a 95-percent residential client base. The company began to address client retention issues about two years ago when it launched a new customer service strategy modeled after the pest control industry, which boasts an average client retention rate of about 90 percent. Noon believes part of the pest industry’s enviable retention rate is, unlike the lawn care industry, it often requires signed contracts. But he also credits much of it to the relationships developed between clients and technicians, a result of the mandatory face-to-face interaction that takes place when the tech enters a client’s home. 

“The pest industry has that emotional client/employee relationship—they have to coordinate, set a schedule and make the appointments happen,” Noon says. “Our customers don’t have to open the door, but, we said, ‘Let’s pretend they do.’”

Client-Retention-Program-Noon-Turf-Care-3So Noon Turf Care brought that same level of client interaction to its lawn care business. Each new customer is required to have an in-person consultation with a lawn care technician before the first service is performed. During this visit, the tech walks the yard with the client, discusses lawn issues and finds out what the customer didn’t like about his or her previous lawn care provider. But more than that, these visits help the clients associate Noon Turf Care with an individual who they can get to know and trust.

As a result of the new service approach, Noon Turf Care implemented a retention bonus about seven months ago. The incentive is determined through a formula the company calls the “N” Factor. Technicians are paid a base salary plus a bonus multiplier based on criteria such as prior years’ retention rate, education and years of experience. Retention is measured individually per tech and route, and the bonus is calculated weekly with the opportunity for employees to earn an annual bonus, as well. The better the client retention rate, the higher the multiplier, and, ultimately, the more money employees earn. Noon Turf Care technicians can earn up to six figures annually if they maintain the company’s standard level, Noon says.

Although this new approach takes more time and overall production has gone down, the 7-percent increase in customer retention and the 15-percent decrease in service calls since last
year is proof for Noon that his
approach is working.

“Our techs had to slow down a little bit; they had to take their time,” Noon says. “But a little extra time upfront making that human connection goes a long way. Our field techs know that this first point of contact is very important now.” 

Client-Retention-Program-Noon-Turf-Care-2Each Noon Turf Care technician is required to complete a week of classroom training that includes presentations and role-playing situations, plus a week of in-field training with a branch manager where they observe what appropriate client interaction should look like. After their training is complete, each technician is assigned a permanent route for the year. Technicians aren’t permitted to service any lawns that aren’t part of their routes, which not only holds all techs accountable for their workloads, but it ensures they develop and maintain relationships with their specific clients. 

“We are putting a definition to better service,” Noon says. “We are going to compensate our team members to offer better service and keep clients happy.”

The program is still in its early stages, and Noon Turf Care hasn’t yet done a formal survey to gauge how clients view the changes in the company’s practices. But with client retention up and the number of service calls down, Noon expects any future client feedback to be positive. He adds that by retaining their current clients though superior customer service, he expects word-of-mouth referrals will help them earn new clients in the future. 

“It’s sort of a game changer—I haven’t seen any other companies doing anything like this and being effective with it, and I haven’t heard of any other forms of employee compensation that have worked,” Noon says. “New clients don’t know anything about us, so we have to get off on the right foot. We’re treating that as a necessity and making it happen.”

Photos: Noon Turf Care

Original post credited to landscapemanagement.net and can be found here:  http://landscapemanagement.net/more-money-fewer-problems-noon-turf-care-restructures-lawn-tech-compensation-model/