Real-time view of field operations helps landscaping company gain market share and competitive edge.
“Through this tool, we have increased the quality of our work, and therefore improved our customer retention.”
– George Kelly, chief information officer, TruGreen Landcare LLC
TruGreen LandCare is based in Ijamsville, Maryland, U.S. It provides commercial lawn care and landscaping to businesses, parks, colleges, military bases, and other institutions. TruGreen has more than 4,000 employees at 63 branch locations in 17 states, making it the third-largest landscaping company in the U.S.
The commercial landscaping and lawn service is a very competitive market, driven by price and customer satisfaction. TruGreen LandCare understands that a satisfied customer is a long-term customer. They also know that expanding relationships with existing customers is generally more profitable than continually recruiting new ones.
To keep quality and customer satisfaction high, TruGreen systematically evaluates the work its employees perform, by sending quality control teams out to audit and rate finished projects. Poorly completed work is supposed to trigger immediate outreach to the service team to fix the problem. Auditors also examine satisfactory projects to look for opportunities to offer further services, such as mulching under shrubs or upgrading an irrigation system.
However, TruGreen’s audit system was not working efficiently enough. Auditors were filling out forms, then driving back to branch offices to type their findings into the company’s CMR, which took up a sizable proportion of their working day.
TruGreen wanted an easily implemented, affordable field data solution that would allow them to collect field data in real time from numerous stores and analyze the data’s quality, in order to increase the company’s reactivity and gain competitive advantage. The application also had to be easy to access remotely and flexible enough to adapt to future business conditions.
In addition to this, having recently divested from a larger company, TruGreen wanted to modernize and replace their legacy IT systems. They had decided to migrate from Microsoft Exchange to cloud-based technologies, such as Google Apps, which are a better fit for the geographically diverse organization. New applications had to be mobile for access by field employees. They were advised to consider the workflow management platform of Fujitsu RunMyProcess to help them integrate the Google Apps platform with their existing systems.
TruGreen’s CIO George Kelly found Fujitsu got in touch with White Stratus, a New York-based Fujitsu RunMyProcess partner, who helped TruGreen scope and price its project.
Fujitsu RunMyProcess and White Stratus worked together to develop a new mobile audit solution that drew on existing cloud-based Google technologies to give TruGreen a detailed, real-time view of its field operations. The project development took less than eight weeks – from initial briefing, to piloting the solution in Florida, and first results on the auditors’ workflow.
The audit solution is accessible via Android-based Samsung Galaxy tablets. Field auditors fill out the quality reports on-site using web forms built on the Fujitsu RunMyProcess platform. They can illustrate the report with photos taken with the tablets, which then automatically upload to the appropriate Google Docs folders. The reports are then routed to TruGreen’s quality management and operations teams, as well as to that area’s sales manager.
A low score of 1 or 2 on a project automatically triggers an alert to TruGreen’s operations department to come and re-do the work, and another to the sales team to address the situation before a dissatisfied customer reports the issue. Superior work (or an auditor noticing services that TruGreen isn’t already providing) prompts sales teams to offer further services.
Branch managers can now follow audit results in real time and follow up on new sales opportunities that the reviews may turn up. “These enhancement opportunities result in increased revenue for us, and increased satisfaction for the customer,” George Kelly said.
TruGreen LandCare also reported a significant improvement in their consumer relationship strategy. “Increased quality is directly correlated to increased customer retention. Through this tool, we have increased the quality of our work, and therefore improved our customer retention,” George Kelly, chief information officer, said.