November brings the Turf and Ornamental markets’ 2023 season across the country into the rearview mirror. Many of you probably faced some of the same challenges as previous years, but a few other new challenges may have surfaced. Fortunately supply chain disruptions for the most part eased in our industry, especially into the second half 2023. As a Turf and Ornamental business owner you probably experienced a softening in pricing of your material costs especially with commodity type products. A glimpse of hope considering the previous year’s hardships. However, the headlines around the current financial environment are affecting all businesses and will be weighing heavy on this industries business owners and how they operate going forward. So, it is now time to ask yourself “Does the rearview mirror on the season ever need to occur?” We touched based with Austin Marsteller, Central’s Turf Category Director, Chemicals to discuss how you can transition a seasonal turf customer into a year-round customer.
A year-round customer rather than more of a traditional seasonal customer will bring several benefits to your business.
- Staying Closer to Your Customer– staying engaged and close with your customer is crucial not only for your business, but it’s important to your customer as well. Think about it, your customers are used to seeing your company and the value you bring every couple of weeks during the season. In the off season, they may not interact with your company for several weeks or even months until the start of the new season other than renewal/signups. This gap in engagement may lead a customer to shop around or second guess the value they are receiving from your services. If that seasonal customer becomes a year-round customer, you stay engaged and close with your customer throughout the year.
- Customer Retention– do you know what your customer acquisition cost is? If not, take some time this off season to determine what that cost is for your business. I can guarantee it’s more costly than you may realize. Studies have shown that acquiring a new customer can cost around 5x more than retaining an old one. The more services provided and greater interactions with your customers will only help to increase customer retention rates. This is especially important in times where economic uncertainty is impacting your customers’ decisions as well as future customer decisions.
- Extract and Provide More Value– A seasonal customer allows your business to provide more value to the customer (more services, customer engagements, etc) and in return increased value to your business as well because of increased customer retention and brand recognition. Not to mention the value created by transitioning a seasonal customer into a year-round customer can have a major impact on your business’s bottom line.
What does transitioning a seasonal turf customer into a year-round customer look like? There are several services and options to consider. Some of these services and options may require some investment as they may require additional training, equipment, and other resources. Some options may require very little upfront investment because they align closely with your traditional lawn and landscape service resources already in place.
- Within the Turf Category Additional Services to Consider for Year-Round Customer Engagement
- Animal Repellent Applications– Fall and Winter are prime times for deer and other animal damage to high value landscapes and plantings. Offering a service to protect your customers investment by offering Animal Repellent applications is an excellent opportunity.
- Plant Protectants- Winter injury in northern climates of ornamental plants and evergreens can be very common. Aside from common cultural practices applications of Anti-Transpirants as a service can provide protection for your customers landscapes.
- Customer Education- consider how you can use the off-season to educate and inform your customers through content and marketing on key agronomic topics and expectations of your services for the upcoming 2024 season.
- Non- Turf Category Additional Services to Consider for Year-Round Customer Engagement
- Holiday Lights
- Snow Removal
Central has Subject Matter Experts across all markets and categories, along with several unique stock up programs for you to take advantage of. Central’s early order and stocking programs provide cash discount opportunities and extended payment terms across the products and categories you need to transition that seasonal turf customer into a year-round customer. Central brings these stock up programs to you as an investment in your business. Central Turf & Irrigation is here to help. Contact your local Central representative to learn more!