Aire Serv Franchisees Focus On The Future

November 1, 2002
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CANCUN, Mexico — Key issues that were explored at the Aire Serv Fall Conference included training, marketing, and insurance. Attendees heard from Aire Serv franchisees and outside vendors over the duration of the three-day conference, which was designed to help attendees improve their businesses.

TRAINING

Rick Mears, regional director for Aire Serv, listed his seminar as “Employee Training 101.” “We are going to assist you in teaching your employees what Aire Serv is all about,” he told attendees.

“Training is not about spending money, it is about making money,” he said. “The key to training is to let your employees know up front what your expectations are and how to meet those expectations.”

One franchisee, Randy Smith, used his own company training as an example. “From the moment we hire somebody, training is very important to us,” he said. “We spent $36,000 on training this year, and it has been worth every penny.

“We’ve paid an apprentice to learn the Aire Serv way every day for the last 3-1/2 months.”

Smith said the routine starts on the first day of training, when the new hire meets with all of the staff. The person then spends the rest of the day with a customer service representative, learning how to deal with customers and fill out the proper paperwork. The second day is spent filling out employee forms and observing the operations manager. On day three, the new hire starts riding around with a senior tech. This continues for a minimum of three weeks.

Franchisee Kevin Nunn said it is important for all new hires to understand company policy — and to put their understanding in writing. “I learned a long time ago that everything has to be in writing,” he said, urging others to encourage employees sign a form stating that they understand company policy.

Nunn said that all employees should know the terms of their employment ahead of time and be updated on any changes that are made in company policy or the job agreement, with the employee signing off on all changes. “It is all in writing, and if there is ever a problem, we have the employee’s signature,” he said.

MARKETING, ADVERTISING

Fred Ream is president of Saunders/Ream Advertising (Dallas, TX), which handles all of Aire Serv’s advertising. Ream spoke with attendees about the 2003 advertising program, noting that the program definitely targets women.

“There has been a tremendous growth of the women’s economic base,” Ream said. One Aire Serv staffer said that he recently got about 20 cards from movers when they learned he had bought a new house. He said 19 of them looked alike, but one had a nice graphic with a soothing message — “We’ll take care of your belongings.” He said his wife called that company because they “pushed the right buttons.”

Ream said that Air Serv is increasing its television exposure in 2003 by adding the Weather Channel to its mix and by moving more spots from daytime programming to evening prime time. He said that television networks are so sure they can reach a targeted female audience that they guarantee a specific number of households will be reached, or the network will run some “make-good” ads.

“We try to identify new programs that will be a hit, called opportunity programming,” Ream added. “We are including syndicated programming in our mix, like ‘Murder She Wrote’ on A&E and ‘E.R.’ on TNT.

“Television is where you really develop a great brand. And your brand is based on your customer service delivery system. This is the most important thing that I can say today.”

Stacey Goertz, Aire Serv director of marketing, said it is important to build brand equity. “You don’t want to work all of your life,” she said. “You want to hand the business down to an employee or family member.

“Our Aire Serv system is what allows us to deliver our brand promise. We must be consistent with our trademark and how it is used. Our vision is quality and quantity. We want to clone and duplicate each of you. We’ve turned down people to join our group because we want quality people and we will not lower the bar.”

INSURANCE

Derek Boyd is a senior vice president of Horizons Insurance Group Inc. (Dallas, TX). Boyd discussed the different ways to select insurance benefits for employees, a topic that has become important as business owners are witnessing skyrocketing insurance costs.

Boyd said, “Typically you could not offer supplemental insurance plans to anyone other than full-time employees.”

But he added that there are flexible group supplemental life and health insurance benefits that can be offered to full-time, part-time and temporary employees, who might not have had the opportunity to purchase a plan before.

“We believe that a custom plan designed for each employee will help with employee retention,” Boyd said. “Typically, right now, if one of your employees has been turned down from a health insurance carrier, it will cost the employer and all of the employees to cover that person. Now they can be covered under one plan, which even eliminates pre-existing conditions.”

Publication date: 11/04/2002

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