Thump on the head for Scotts Lawn Service

A lesson for business owners and customer service managers.

I should preface this by saying we were quite happy with Scotts Lawn Service: convenient service, affordable rates and knowledgeable technicians. But I had a recent experience with Scotts…for which a policy maker somewhere needs a Dinozzo style thump on the head.

Rewind a few weeks to the middle of February. A technician arrived for our first treatment of the season, and noticed the majority of our side and rear lawn was re-seeded and covered with straw. Before starting, he asked my permission to treat just the front, and leave the rest undisturbed. He made a note on our account to reduce our invoice by half for this service and the next, until the grass started to grow. Fair enough, so I told him to go ahead.

So, when the bill arrived at full price, I called the office to inform them what had transpired with my technician. In short, they saw the tech’s notes, but could not honor the rate he promised. When I questioned why we should pay full rate when only a fraction of the property was treated, the woman replied “$30 is the lowest rate I’m allowed to charge. And, honestly, you are already getting a really great rate.” Clearly they had no intention of standing behind their word.

True, our regular rate is quite good, and we like the results they provide. But without hesitation, I cancelled the service right then. Scotts Lawn Service crossed the line, and I acted on principle.

Scotts Lawn Service faultily assumed that I would tolerate unreasonableness and, worse yet, a broken promise, for the privilege of their great price. While unavoidable, companies need to view a customer service “problem” as an opportunity! A chance to show what that company is made of.

Please….business owners and policy makers, empower your staff to put down the script, set aside the rule book, and tackle service slip-ups with creativity. Strive to not only overcome the problem, but deliver a resolution that ultimately strengthens the bond between you and your customers.

Thoughts on a crab grass strategy after firing the lawn service?

~Posted by Gail Paxson Murray,

Gail Murray is located in Chester County, PA and has over 20 years experience in direct to consumer marketing, including web and print.  From cosmetics and premiums to financial planning and warehouse space, Gail enjoys bringing consumer-centric thinking to both B2C and B2B clients.  She is currently interested in the real estate and wholesale electric industries.

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