Our clients are our community. Quite literally, they are our neighbors. They represent healthcare, education, local and state government, manufacturing, retail — the list goes on. They’re where our families work, where our kids go to school, the place we pass on the way to the coffee shop on Saturday morning. As landscaping professionals, we create and maintain a large part of our community’s landscape. For this reason, the Customer section heavily blurs with our Community section. The difference between the two boils down to our relationship with our clients. We focus on building partnerships over transactional relationships and educating over selling. Our goal is always to empower our clients to make informed decisions about our shared spaces.
The Customer section of the B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s stewardship of its customers through the quality of its products and services, ethical marketing, data privacy and security, and feedback channels. It also accounts for services designed to address a particular social problem for or through its customers. Educating customers and helping them reach their own environmental and social impact goals — perhaps in ways they had not considered — and creating easy, open communication is core to the way we do business.
Social and environmental impact is increasingly important to more and more organizations in more and more industries, including our clients. Many of our clients have won awards from the Environmental Commission, the National Association of Landscape Professionals, Kentucky Excel, or Best in Bloom. Other clients have partnered with us to help achieve environmental certifications like Bluegrass Greencheck or Wildlife Habitat Council certification. Traditionally, landscapers are charged with tending attractive landscapes with manageable maintenance. Our perspective is that this is a given, and a large part of our responsibility is in helping clients level up their impact through smart landscaping.
We encourage our clients to think about what their landscapes can do, and how their green spaces are part of our ecosystem. Recently, a client requested Crepe Myrtle trees, which are not native to Kentucky. We presented plans including the Crepe Myrtle, but also showed plans that incorporated native trees instead. We aimed to inform, not persuade, about the benefits of native plants. In the end, our client chose the Crepe Myrtle, but they learned about native trees in the process. These are the kinds of relationships we work to cultivate.
Our educational efforts go beyond landscape design. We regularly invite our clients (and other community groups: schools, engineers, property managers) into our offices for green infrastructure education. We’ve hosted over 2,500 people over the last 10 years for these educational opportunities. We also help our clients and other organizations with volunteer activities like tree-planting events. We’ll bring trees and dig the holes, and then volunteers from the organization will work together to plant them.
We also know that a good relationship goes both ways. When something goes wrong, we do our best to find and fix it early. We regularly audit our own work and keep an open line of communication for customer-reported issues. We are confident that this is at least partly why we boast contract renewal rates of 95% — well above the industry standard.
Not all of our community is a customer, but all of our clients (from the decision-makers to the frontline workers) are our community. Keeping this mindset central to our approach is how we serve our clients best. When they have the tools to make informed decisions supporting their missions and initiatives, we amplify our impact and theirs.