Customer Service

Don’t Let Poor Communication Get in the Way of Great Performance

Don’t Let Poor Communication Get in the Way of Great Performance

One lesson we’ve learned over the years at Grunder Landscaping Co. is just how much poor communication can get in the way of great performance.

No matter how much energy and effort you devote to installing and maintaining landscapes, if your team members aren’t communicating with each other and with your clients, you’re going to have problems.

Grow with Grunder: Fall Is Crucial If You Want to Get Ahead

Whether you’re an owner or a team member, October is a pivotal month. With the hectic demands of summer starting to wind down, it’s the perfect time to look back at what you’ve accomplished so far this year and where you hope to finish, what you did well and where you came up short. We take the time to do this at GLC because it’s our last big chance to fix what we can for the season and to set ourselves up for success in the new year.

Learning from the Best

Learning from the Best

I am always, always looking for ways to get better at running my landscaping business. Sure, I’m proud of the company my team and I have built. But, as one of my mentors, John Maxwell, likes to say, “Of all the things a leader should fear, complacency heads the list.”

That’s why I try to take advantage of every opportunity to learn from other landscaping business owners, and why the willingness of our industry colleagues to help each other grow is one of the things I love the most about our field. This past year I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Bob Grover, who founded Pacific Landscape Management in 2001 in Portland, Oregon. Focused on commercial maintenance, Bob and his team have managed to grow their company to $22 million a year in annual revenue—a remarkable and inspiring feat.

How Would Your Team Describe Your Company?

How Would Your Team Describe Your Company?

If I asked your team members to write down three adjectives that described your workplace, do you know—or could you accurately predict—what they’d say? Would their answers mirror the kind of company you want to run? Just as important, would they align with the kind of company that succeeds in the landscaping business?

I ask you this because, while we talk a lot about the importance of company culture to build and retain a winning team, many of us have a very limited understanding of how the people who work for us actually feel about the workplaces we’ve created for them to spend their days in. And then others of us have created obviously fun work environments in which there’s great affection among team members but also a very disappointing bottom line.

The balance is hard to get right.

One company that’s figured this all out in spades is Pacific Landscape Management, led by Bob Grover in Portland, Oregon.

Is There a Difference between Customer Service and Client Experience?

Is There a Difference between Customer Service and Client Experience?

These days we hear a lot about the “client experience” and how important it is to the success of a business.

In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, focusing on the client experience “has become the single most important way for an organization to achieve success—often becoming its key differentiator and competitive advantage.”

Some of you may reasonably be wondering if “client experience” is just another way of saying “customer service.” I don’t want to get too caught up on words—and I’m certainly guilty of using the two terms interchangeably on occasion—but I do think there’s a significant distinction worth thinking about.


Do You Need to Rethink Your Approach to Sales?

Do You Need to Rethink Your Approach to Sales?

Last weekend for Mother’s Day, I invited my extended family over for a cookout. Grilling is about the only culinary skill I’m good for, so when the warm weather hits, I try to take advantage of it.

We had a great time, filled with laughter. No matter how overwhelmed you may feel running a landscaping business this time of year, it’s important to take a break and celebrate the loved ones in your life.

But, full disclosure, the business person in me never really shuts off, so when my wife opened the gift I gave her—a couple outfits from a nice store—and all the women said, “Oh I love their clothes but I will never go in there!” I took note.

How Does a Small Company Beat a Big Competitor?

How Does a Small Company Beat a Big Competitor?

Where I live, there are two grocery stores in town that are intently focused on a higher-end clientele: Whole Foods, the national chain recently acquired by Amazon, and Dorothy Lane Market (DLM), a locally owned and operated grocery that’s now celebrating its 70th year.

I find these two businesses particularly interesting—and revealing—because my own landscaping company is focused on a similar clientele, in the same market. But even if that’s not who your ideal client is, I think there’s a lot you can learn from them.

Customer Service Really Can Make or Break Your Business

Customer Service Really Can Make or Break Your Business

I’m on the road or in the air a lot, speaking at industry events and coaching and consulting with clients. That kind of travel can become a real bear if you let it. All those hours in the car or in flight, or waiting for delayed flights, or for the hotel wifi to actually work, can feel like a complete waste of time. But it can also teach you a lot about the power of customer service to make or break a business.