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How has the pandemic changed the tree care industry and your daily workflow?

with Ed Schultheis

The main change I have seen from the pandemic is the way that we communicate with our clients. Before, could meet face-to-face and discuss the tree service requests. After we all learned the new normal of working from home, the sales process has slowed down. Instead of having a conversation on-site with the customer, we have transitioned to tree evaluation without the clients present. The estimate is then submitted by email or texts to the customer and there is a delay in turnaround time on approval. In the past, we were used to being able to connect with customers directly in the office or on the properties. Commercial real estate property managers were very familiar with the property as they were there every day. Working remotely has taken them offsite, so understanding exactly what tree maintenance work is needed has become a little more challenging than pre-pandemic.

In adapting to the new normal, I have adopted my TEC method. Text first, Email second, Call third. I think that follow-up is key, but I also want to be conscious of my customer’s workload and work environment. My goal is to stay top of mind with them without being an annoyance. Proper tree maintenance is so important to the health of the trees themselves, but it also is necessary for the safety and value of a commercial or residential property. Because of this, I want to be my customer’s eyes on the property because they haven’t been able to see the condition of the trees. Being able to properly convey what tree trimming needs to be done and prioritize the tree work based on safety first allows me to be a part of the solution for my customers.

Since tree maintenance services is an essential service Embark has stayed very busy through 2020 and 2021. The way that we perform our tree maintenance work and requests has basically stayed the same, but our workload keeps us running with a backlog of approved tree service requests to be performed. We always work to make sure our clients are aware of our time frame and to be able to schedule their work orders so they understand once the work is approved, there can be a delay in being able to get the work completed in a timely manner. This is another reason that good communication is so important. We always advise our clients to get things approved as quickly as they can so that we can get them on our calendar as soon as possible.

Looking toward 2022, I believe that this way of doing business is here to stay. We are seeing some clients going back into the office but mostly on a hybrid work schedule. Lots of our customers have also seen an increase in their workload as their companies have made changes in response to the pandemic too. Working from home, working some from home and some from the office, and the increase in their daily to-do list means they need partners in maintaining their commercial properties that can be proactive and communicate effectively so important tasks don’t slip through the cracks. Embark is here to be that valued tree maintenance partner!

Facing the disruptions caused by Covid-19 continues to be a challenge, but it can provide unexpected opportunities to drive a better sales process with prospects and customers. With thoughtful modifications, planning, and some imagination, my sales strategy, sales experience, and customer interactions can emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.