Looking to Strengthen Your Landscape Business? Start With Measuring the Right KPIs
By Enda Hennigan
In the landscaping industry, workers face daily challenges that impede productivity and their ability to keep customers happy enough not to seek service elsewhere. Whether it’s tree care professionals, irrigation contractors, designers, or anyone in between, landscaping professionals must juggle daily schedules, the threat of seasonable shortages in cash flow, and endless competition from similar or lower-priced landscaping services.
To manage daily workflow challenges while aiming to retain customers, landscape industry professionals should consider leveraging key performance indicators (KPIs) to understand better how to improve the business and services they offer customers. This data provides insight into the return on investment (ROI) for each task in landscaping – a big win for the bottom line. Landscaping professionals can use KPIs to create a roadmap to improve overall processes and business operations. According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the best KPIs are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART).
Today’s field service management (FSM) software helps landscaping professionals identify the metrics that add value to their operations – and choosing where to focus is critical. More often than not, managers track every possible metric and end up trying to make sense of data that is not pertinent to the business goals they set forth to accomplish. The proliferation of tracking and other data software allows landscape field service managers to collect data from all corners of their operations. Still, an overload of information tends to throw managers into analysis paralysis, defeating the purpose of tracking KPIs to help streamline their processes.
Tailored KPIs provide the best value when creating an actionable plan centered around the organization’s top priorities. Landscaping professionals should reevaluate KPIs regularly to make sure they’re actionable. By measuring the right KPIs, landscaping businesses can improve the efficiency of both the dispatchers and the field workers, helping to maximize performance. Looking for a place to start? The following are four KPIs that landscape professionals should consider tracking when looking to strengthen their field service.
One of the most important KPIs to measure is customer satisfaction (CSAT), which bolsters customer retention. Maintaining stellar customer service empowers landscaping professionals to retain existing clients while demonstrating their value to potential new customers. One way to keep service quality high is for landscaping professionals to track the amount of time it takes to respond to customers. Identifying an organization’s average resolution time can help determine which operational tasks maximize efficiency and which need adjustment. Tracking cancellations is another valuable metric that can gauge customers’ level of satisfaction.
In FSM, positive word of mouth is an essential factor that helps attract new customers and provides a revenue baseline for the operation. For a Field Service News survey, 88% of respondents said that vital CSAT metrics were a “very strong” element in winning new business. Building personal touchpoints with customers can be more critical than marketing a business.
Employee efficiencies and productivity
Determining the productivity of your employees will shed light on their strengths and weaknesses, helping management assign tasks and follow through on deadlines. Measuring productivity also helps determine whether additional training or hiring is needed and how processes should shift to get the most out of your workforce. Landscaping business leaders should track whether their business is maximizing the number of jobs completed daily, weekly or monthly and if workers are effectively managing their time. A key goal for landscaping professionals should be exceeding the industry standard. KPIs around how landscaping workers work and where, help guide field managers to schedule jobs and dispatch workers more effectively and efficiently. Efficiency KPIs also provide landscaping professionals with insight into using their vehicles more efficiently and cutting back on fuel and service expenses.
Job completed vs. invoiced
Landscaping professionals can reduce expenses and support the bottom line by avoiding a revenue ditch caused when customers do not receive an invoice for complete jobs. Tracking the rate at which service calls are completed and comparing that with the distributed invoices can determine whether processes are working to ensure revenue is collected in a timely, accurate manner. Investing in an FSM solution with workforce management and invoice automation capabilities helps landscaping companies receive payments quicker without relying on manual processes to connect the dots. For an industry ripe with fly-by-night competitors and seasonal changes in cash flow, monitoring the rate of revenue collected for jobs completed is mission critical.
As landscaping professionals use KPIs to improve their business, one metric is the employee retention rate, especially amid the Great Resignation. Just as acquiring new customers is more expensive than keeping current ones, finding, hiring, and training a new worker rather than retaining existing staff is costly and a managerial headache. Understanding your employee retention rate is pivotal to overall success. Improving employee retention is also a key component in attracting quality new hires — high turnover can be a sign of inefficiency or overall dysfunction.
Landscaping professionals must identify the most relevant metrics to improve efficiencies and streamline operations. Doing so can best be done with the help of a strong FSM application that will help create efficiencies, boost productivity, and drive revenue. From scheduling jobs and dispatching workers to managing the work and optimizing your payment processes, FSM solutions streamline operations, empower your field teams, reduce dependencies, and connect your back-office to the field.