November 15, 2011
By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners Program Manager

Jacki HartTwo years ago, I stepped back from the day-to-day operation of my business, and made the final steps of delegating my role to a team of three managers. The goal was for the management team to look after 90 per cent of the operations, sales and administrative functions, and for them to come to me for help with the exceptions.

The exceptions ranged from things like special services or procedures, which had developed over time with long-term customers on one end of the scale, to dealing with wrong-fit customers, unusual work requests, or service failures at the other end.

The biggest challenge I faced was feeling as though I didn’t have my finger on the pulse of these exceptions, and lacked context to understand the problems which needed my attention — without going ballistic. We developed a set of tools which proved very helpful. The Prosperity Pillar Customers for Life is all about using this type of management tool (or your own similar invention) to track who says what to whom, when and why.

The insight that comes from this is huge and helpful. It’s a great way to bridge the gap between the owner and customer, when there’s just no way to be in more than one place at one time.

Client experience tracking sheet

A simple Excel spreadsheet stored electronically in a central place (i.e. on a server, or as a shared Google document) was created. See Fig. 1.

Fig. 1

Client Email/call Date Discussion/topic Action item/comment Outcome/notes
Mrs. Provan Called John at office Oct. 23/11 Wants us to store all planters empty in garage. Wants front garden renovated in spring Arranged for garage key. Meeting her Oct. 31 to discuss renovations for pricing this winter and spring booking (John Oct. 25) Nov 2: Met with her. Pricing reno for Jan. discussion. She’s leaving for holiday until Jan 10. (John).

By using this document, every time a customer called or emailed, and required follow up, we each would quickly post on this shared doc so that I and everyone else on the team knew what was happening with each client.

Another document which proved very helpful, as the number of moving parts and distance between them and me grew.

Crew/customer discussion summary

By having this document available to all of us via laptop, or mobile device, we are able to ensure onsite comments from customers onsite are translated into action behind the scenes, so that no one has to remember every little detail later on. The changes or requests are followed through, immediately. See Fig. 2.

Fig. 2

Name Date Lead Hand comment on daily log sheet Management comment/follow-up Date complete
Mrs. Smith Sept. 1/11 (Jane) Mrs. Smith loved her planters, except next year doesn’t want German ivy. We agreed on Millar’s wife, instead (Jacki) Pls. Change on 2012 flower planting notes, and grower order spreadsheet. (Karen) Changes complete on both crew planting notes and grower order. 9.4.11.

One of the most important parts of running a successful business with customers who trust you, and repeat business with you for life, is to create a high level of communication. In my experience, a high level of communication equals a high level of trust. When you have a high level of trust with customers, you are able to navigate snags in service delivery, and use that trust both ways, thereby ensuring you are paid for your services each and every time.

Take a moment to go to and see what the Prosperity Partners Build Your Prosperity Seminar can do to help build better tools in your business.

The next seminar takes place in Milton on Dec. 7.
Jacki Hart may be reached at