Blessings in Disguise: Why Plant Mishaps Can be a Good Thing
When you are passionate about the plants in your care, things will happen to them that are out of your control. But don’t worry! I believe plant problems are actually blessings in disguise. You’ve just been given a great opportunity to show your clients how you resolve problems. When plant mishaps arise, always try to remember four C’s: cool down, consider, create solutions and communicate.
1. Cool Down
No one cares about these plants like you do. It’s OK to be upset, but don’t show it! Cool down before going to the client about plant mishaps. Talk to a trusted team member in your company. Never call or email your client immediately. I have a quick temper so this is so important for me.
Think about things from your client’s point of view. Consider how busy they have been, too! Have they worked with an interior plantscaper before? Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
3. Create Solutions
Fix the problem quickly and quietly, and create a solution that works for everyone.
It’s always best to talk to people face to face when problems occur. It has been so challenging wearing masks, but when there is a problem, it is not the place for a text, phone call or email. Communicate clearly and calmly, but don’t be afraid to show your passion for your work!
To illustrate, I once happily arrived at a client’s office building on a cool rainy Friday in February, eager to see my plants. Our client manages the building of beautiful offices in a two story building.
In the entry hall, we designed a lovely planting of four silver Walton Wall Sconces filled with pothos and a few ZZ’s in Vista Cylinders by the entry door on the first floor. I love to use the Wall Sconces because they give such a big impact and are so affordable! My husband Jim hangs them for me because he has the designer’s eye and always knows what design will look best on each wall. Besides, no one really wants me using a drill!
However, my happiness dimmed as I noticed the carpet was damp, and there was evidence that the ceiling tiles were damp. I looked into the planters and found them absolutely full of water. Each 6.5” grow pot was floating. This was not a good situation, especially during COVID! Where did this water come from?
I went upstairs to investigate and found some wallpaper replaced with paint on the wall directly above the planters. This is never a good sign! A quick question to a tenant coming out of the office confirmed that yes, a toilet overflowed and flooded the space. Oh no!
I went back downstairs and found some gloves in my car. I thought of the first C, cool down. I sat in my car and prayed for a few minutes to calm down.
Now ready to handle the problem, I found it was possible to simply slip one planter off the wall by sliding it over the wall screws. The other two were too full to move, so I used a small paper cup I found and simply siphoned off the extra water. I sanitized everything with some Lysol wipes.
Yes, I was a little upset. I started working the four C’s in my mind. I realized the client probably didn’t even consider the plants when they had to make the needed repairs.
So I waited until my next visit, and then I asked to speak to the client in private. I explained that the plants had been sitting in water, and while they probably would be ok, it would be best if they let me know if there was ever a problem I should know about.
The client was so sweet. She apologized, and on my next visit, promptly ordered several new plants to cover the mismatched wall and further enhance the hallway.
As you and your team grow your business, know that there are times when it will be crucial to communicate clearly and professionally to handle problems. Following our four C’s can help you.
You want to become a long term asset and team member to your client, so always be very kind. Your business will grow as you grow in your ability to fix problems. Always remember to treat everyone as you would like to be treated.
Though it can be challenging when plant mishaps arise, they can sometimes be a blessing in disguise to show a client how you are willing to work through issues and find solutions to make them happy.