Golf Courses and Lawn Care Professionals to Rate Their Pesticide Suppliers

In a consolidating marketplace, suppliers of pest management chemicals to the professional turf market segment are finding that it takes more than a good product to make their customers happy.

Support- and marketing-related factors are playing a larger role in purchase decisions, and Kline & Company ( is undertaking a new customer satisfaction study to examine how major pesticide suppliers rate in these areas in the eyes of golf course superintendents and lawn care professionals.

“We've seen that customers in this segment base their product choices on small differences in what they consider to be important,” says Dennis Fugate, industry manager of the Specialty Pesticides practice for Kline's market research division. “Manufacturers need to figure out what these most important factors are and focus their energies there.”

While the concept sounds obvious, it's not always easy to carry out, Fugate adds. Frequently, there's a difference between stated importance and derived importance: what a customer says is a priority vs. what he actually feels and acts upon.

“Traditionally, pesticide buyers in the professional markets have said that it's important to buy products that are safe for technicians to use, for example. But most of the products at this level have a high enough safety level that this issue rarely enters into an actual purchase decision,” Fugate says.

Kline's study, Customer Satisfaction Analysis Among Golf Course Superintendents and Lawn Care Operators 2005 and located at, will draw from a survey of more than 200 golf course superintendents and lawn care operators to determine which criteria these respondents consider most important in their relationships with their pesticide suppliers. It will then detail how the respondents rate the leading suppliers in this sector according to each of these criteria. The study will also include satisfaction ratings from pesticide distributors.

“The goal is to help show management how to allocate resources toward the areas with the biggest payoff in terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty,” says Mancer Cyr, senior associate in Kline's Specialty Pesticides consulting practice. “The study results can show in a simple way which areas need more support and which areas might need less if they're not that important to the clients.”

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