Bosses Go Undercover
April 16, 2010
I’m not really much of a fan of reality show television, but
I must admit that the title and concept of “Undercover Boss” intrigued me. If
you haven’t seen it, this new show premiered right after the Super Bowl. It’s
premise is that the president/CEO of a large corporation goes “undercover”
within his own company to see how things are operating. The first few weeks
have included the heads of Waste Management, Hooters, 7/11, and White Castle.
What has been interesting is the fact that in all cases the CEO has discovered
some very important shortcomings within his company. In all fairness, they have
found many positive things as well, but there has been some shock at some of
the strict company policies that were not being followed.
I realize that most of our HVAC companies are not large
enough that the president could go undetected while working at various field
and/or office tasks. However, I believe it would be a really good exercise to
think about what issues, activities, tendencies we would want to find out about
our company if we could, in fact, go undercover. As a result, I have put
together my list of things I’d really like to know about our company.
• How are we perceived by our customers?
• What type of impression do our people give to someone
calling? I mean everyone from the receptionist, to the customer service
representatives to everyone else who is dealing with a customer.
• Do our service technicians and Installers really practice
all of the courtesies and other correct ways to handle customers that we teach
• When making one of our thousands of maintenance agreement
service calls, does our service technician truly check and clean everything as
we have promised to the customer?
After having just written these few items, I am already
getting nervous that I’m not sure I would really want to see the answer to the
questions I am posing.
And there are more.
• When an installer is making a ductwork installation,
especially one that will be covered with drywall, is he still very careful to
make an excellent, air tight, quality installation?
• Do our employees treat their co-workers as if they truly
are internal employees? This is especially true of the shop employees and their
relation to the installers. It also relates to the delivery team and the
installers for whom they provide equipment and materials.
• In general does it seem like every one is working toward
the same goal - that of serving the customer? Or does each department have it’s
own agenda, plan, and goals?
Is your head spinning like mine? As I am writing these down,
I am more and more convinced as to how important it would be for me to know the
answers to these questions. I’m sure you have probably thought of many more questions
that you would like to have answered within your company.
The task for each of us is that even though we can’t go
“undercover”, we still need to find ways to answer these questions. It’s clear
that if we are going to continue to be successful we must be doing most, if not
all, of these things properly. In the end, it isn’t how we find the answers but
the fact that we do find the answers that will allow us to correct any
deficiencies and in the end improve our company.