Jessica Duncan is the Project and Warranty Coordinator at Salisbury Landscaping. Thanks to Jessica, our crews get the information and supplies they need to carry out each project. We chatted with Jessica to get some insight into the ‘behind-the-scenes’ at Salisbury Landscaping, and what you need to know about your warranty.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m Salisbury’s Project and Warranty Coordinator, so I do a lot! In my day to day, I prepare projects, act as an administrator for our safety program, and order materials for our work sites (including portable toilets!). Basically, I do anything that needs doing to get a job ready for our team.
As the Warranty Coordinator, I’m also the first point-of-contact for warranty calls. I normally get a call or email from a customer, and then I’m able to organize a crew to manage the warranty claim.
How did you become the project and warranty coordinator at Salisbury?
When I first joined the team 6 years ago I started as Salisbury’s receptionist, I thought this was going to be a transitional job for me. But as I got to know the team and the industry it really became my passion, I grew into my current position.
Can you tell us a little more about Salisbury’s warranty program?
Yes! Every project gets a warranty for one full growing season. The warranty expires on September 15th of the following season.
If a customer notices an issue, they contact our office, and then our aftercare specialist will complete a yard assessment. If we need to send a crew back to the customer’s home for any deficiencies, we draw up a work order and schedule the repair. If we have all the materials on-hand, the turnaround time can be as quick as two of three days. However, if we need to order in materials, the repair is usually completed within two to three weeks. All of this is always weather dependent. Depending on the scope of the warranty work, rainy days can speed up the process or sometimes slow it down.
In the spring, we send out an email and brochure to all of our previous year’s customers encouraging them to check their yards for anything that could lead to a warranty claim. This gives our customers an opportunity to contact us with any concerns during the warranty period.
Are there any common concerns that customers should know about?
One thing newer landscaping clients tend to worry about is that their new shrubs and trees don’t leaf out as quickly as the established trees and shrubs in their neighbour’s yard. We like to reassure people that this is normal, it takes these new plants a little more time to leaf out. They also tend to go dormant earlier in the fall. This is just a normal part of the plant’s adjustment process, and over time they’ll start to catch up!
However, there are some signs that a plant may need to be assessed further. If the tree or shrub has leafed out already and then starts to lose leaves or if it develops spots, it could either be a sign of overwatering/underwatering or a sign of disease. These signs may warrant a site visit to review plant material further.
Another thing we get a few calls per year about is pines shedding needles. In the fall, pines naturally shed the needles in the inner branches. That’s completely normal and, in fact, if you stare at a tree from the bottom up, the inner branches are totally bare!
What process should customers follow if their landscape needs service after the warranty expires?
Existing customers can always contact us with concerns regarding their landscaping. We stay in touch with previous customers who subscribe to our mailing list. Landscapes are living environments, and if paving stones heave or plants are struggling we like our customers to know we are still here to help.
Once a customer has had their landscaping completed by our team, we offer mulch top-up and pruning services to help them maintain their space. These services are exclusively offered to our existing customers—It’s a thank you for choosing to work with us and furthers our relationships with our customers. As a plus we get to see how our landscapes have matured and filled in a few years later.
Have you had any recent moments with a customer that made you feel great about what you do?
Yes, actually, I recently had a customer come in who we had done work for in 2014. I had never met her but I knew the project she was speaking about. She told me her first name, and right away I replied with her last name. I could tell she wasn’t expecting me to know who she was, but it made her feel really valued and that makes me feel really good.
It reminds me that we really take teamwork seriously. Customers like this one may only interact with their landscape designer through the phases of their project, but what they don’t always see is that we have so much of a team environment. From initial contact, to design and build, then back to warranty, you have a whole team working with you.