Before you hit send

The expectations today are for more frequent interaction with electronic communication, reviews, social media and regular updates throughout a project or service call by text or email.
Computer with email graphics

As the season for activating landscape irrigation systems is starting, it is a good idea to consider the importance of communication with your clients and focusing on their needs with your messages.

Today’s needs for customer engagement and regular communication are very different from the past when a couple of post cards in the mail and a phone call from the office might have been sufficient. The expectations today are for more frequent interaction with electronic communication, reviews, social media and regular updates throughout a project or service call by text or email.


The expectations today are for more frequent interaction with electronic communication, reviews, social media and regular updates throughout a project or service call by text or email.


There are a few things to consider when communicating with your clients, especially before the season gets started. Most importantly, when delivering your messages, consider whether it is important to your customer or just important to you.

We have all been bombarded the past few years with information about supply chain issues affecting availability and price increases. You have probably had to deliver news about this to your clients many times. We are all becoming a little numb to this message and just expect it. I can almost recite the standard lines about what’s causing the issues; supply, fuel, labor, how much the company understands, etc., to the point where I usually just scan ahead to simply see how much prices are increasing and when it’s happening. You need to let your customers know about price increases. It’s OK to explain why the prices are going up but it is more helpful to focus on what a company is doing to better manage or anticipate this in the future or perhaps present some alternative services or products if they are available.

Similarly, another good message to deliver is to inform customers about changes in your operation and how they benefit customers. Maybe you are hiring more part-time workers or having more flexible schedules for your employees that will allow you to provide service regularly outside of traditional business hours. Both of those are a huge benefit to the customer. Or maybe you have invested into a software solution that will streamline your office systems. Benefits to the customer might include more efficient billing, scheduling or electronic communication options during service. Focus your message on how the change improves things for the customer more than it impacts you.

When announcing new services, think about how to present the message as for a win to your client. Traditional irrigation contractors are adding additional services to their client base, and landscape companies are offering more irrigation services. I have noticed more irrigation contractors have been adding lawn treatment programs and plant management services. Most of your customers would probably expect that the quality of these services would be similar to current service levels but may not be fully aware of how beneficial it will be to have one less service provider that they need to manage or to reduce the number of people who need to be called if there is a problem with their landscape. Conversely, if you are a landscape company offering landscape water management services, take a little time to drive the benefits of better landscape health, as well as a much more comprehensive approach with having a single provider.

Finally, it is beneficial to communicate your company’s opinion on many of the restrictions and policies that are affecting water use. While we know that some of these regulations could possibly regulate us out of business, that isn’t the best message to deliver. Stressing the benefits of a healthy landscape in your communication, the need for proper management to make sure water is used as efficiently as possible and the solutions you can provide to make that happen are more positive and position your company as knowledgeable and proactive on these issues.

Make sure you are taking time to deliver information to your customers, especially as we start another irrigation season. Before you hit send, though, take a second or third look at the message you are sending and keep it focused on the benefit to your customers to meet their needs.

Christopher Pine, CLWM, CID, CIC, CLIA, CIT, MCLP, is a principal of IrriTech Training and the president of BluGreen Solutions in Pocasset, Massachusetts. He can be reached via email.

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