Conquering language barriers: don’t give up
Creating a positive customer experience takes considerable effort in any business, tree care included. The type of relationship you create with customers is critical to providing them with an experience that they will want to come back to, and this is widely dependent upon your communication skills. But what if you don’t speak the same language?
Language barriers can be tricky, but not impossible. Just ask Bayron Bustillo of Garcia Professional Tree Service in Katy, Texas. Bustillo, who has been in business since 1999, said the first step in encountering a language barrier is to not give up.
“It can be hard, but as with any barrier you encounter in business, you either choose to go with it and find a solution or lose the customer,” Bustillo said.
Garcia Professional Tree Service is equipped to perform tree and stump removal, tree trimming, storm damage cleanup and more. They serve both residential and commercial establishments of all sizes. With their location being in a border state, they often encounter situations where their customers speak little to no English.
“It happens all the time, but because we’re willing to work around the language barrier we get a lot of referrals,” Bustillo said.
Bustillo said he primarily relies on a few reliable acquaintances to translate when needed, but in instances where they can’t get a hold of someone to help, they just improvise.
“Sometimes all it takes is using hand signals, writing down numbers to communicate an estimate and pointing — the important thing is that you’re trying and people appreciate that,” Bustillo explained. “You just have to figure out a way to go with it and adapt.”
Dave Reed, sales representative at Vermeer Texas-Louisiana, met Bustillo in 2013 and quickly took note of Garcia Professional Tree Service’s dedication to customer service.
“I’ve talked with Bayron several times over the years as his Vermeer dealer — he currently owns two BC1000XL brush chippers and a SC362 stump cutter — and the way he conducts his business is something others should take note of,” Reed said. “Vermeer is always looking to make our customer experience better and seeing Bayron’s approach to these language challenges has been very inspiring to our team.”
Bustillo encouraged other tree care service providers to put forth the extra effort if they find themselves in a similar situation. His biggest piece of advice for other businesses is to think ahead and establish a trusted contact that has the ability to translate if the situation should ever occur.
“It can be tough and there really is no easy fix unless you have someone you can rely on to translate like we have, but like I said, don’t be afraid to at least try to communicate,” Bustillo said. “You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish and get across with hand signals and numbers.”
“Just as Bayron said, it’s the extra effort when trying to communicate that makes the difference and that’s what Vermeer is all about,” Reed said. “We’re excited to have him using our equipment and making a difference in his community.”
For more tips and trends to consider when starting your own tree care business, view more articles on TreeViews.com.
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