A customer may not always want to hear that maintenance is required when a tree on their property is a hazard. As a tree care practitioner, it’s not only your job to care for the tree itself, but to successfully communicate with the customer so they’re happy when you leave for the day.

Tree Services writer John Fech suggests that viewing the situation through the lens of an overall communication process will best help you relay your message to the client.

Sending the message

When sending a message, it’s wise to consider the overall communication process. In a spatial context, it may be helpful to visualize a circular or elliptical process of back and forth messaging.

Sender with message speaks;

  • The message is carried through a “noisy” channel of assumptions (i.e., they’re not going to like this), distractions (i.e., the kids playing in the driveway) and competition from other ongoing messages (i.e., the radio, background noise);
  • The message is interpreted through a noisy channel (i.e., preconceived notions about price and honesty);
  • The receiver formulates a response back to the original sender (i.e., “what did you say?”);
  • The original sender interprets the response (through noisy channels) and follows up with another message.

As you can see, the communication process can be fraught with errors and misunderstanding, hence the need for creating a simple, easy-to-understand message, careful listening and patience.

It is an arborist’s duty to properly inform customers of issues such as the presence of tree hazards and various defects. Read the full story here.