Waiting is the Hardest Part

Customers Aren’t Willing to Waste Valuable Time on Standby

October 14, 2013
We spend half of our lives waiting. While there may be no scientific evidence to back up that claim, I swear it’s true.

It’s 3:45 p.m., Sept. 26, 2013, and I’m still waiting. The newest addition to my family — our still-unnamed second son — is scheduled to arrive today. However, it appears as if the cigars will remain in the box a bit longer than expected. I guess the bun needs some more baking.

Time is of the Essence

According to research courtesy of the Timex Group, Americans spend an average of 7 minutes waiting in line for coffee, 15 minutes waiting for a table at a restaurant, 28 minutes in airport lines, 34 minutes for the last person to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, and an astonishing 79 minutes drinking beer in the parking lot waiting for a sporting event to begin.

Personally, I hate waiting. As a journalist, it’s in my blood that punctuality is of the utmost importance. Journalists have deadlines that must be met. One small delay in the production process could lead to a chain reaction of massive proportions, placing the publication’s delivery in jeopardy. And, you wouldn’t be a happy camper if your weekly copy of The NEWS failed to arrive on time, would you?

But, if there’s one group that hates waiting more than I, it’s those with faulty comfort systems.

When it’s 101°F outside, and the air conditioner isn’t operating as expected, it’s considered a catastrophe. The local HVACR guy must come to the rescue. It’s what you do, how you make a living. If you’re lucky enough to net such a call for help, you must react accordingly. The race is underway as you’re naïve to believe that you are the only company they’ve contacted.

This is your “time” to shine.

Regardless if it’s 9:30 p.m. on a Sunday, or 2 a.m. on a Tuesday, you must return a call as soon as you can, because if you don’t, the consumer is going to turn elsewhere.

Recently, I arrived home to discover that my roof was leaking. Seeing that I can barely tie my shoes, fixing the hole myself was not an option. So, I started calling contractors. And, of the six I called, guess who got the job? That’s right, the first responder. If you’re not willing to communicate with prospects on a timely basis, your closest competitor surely is.

Time Management

As a contractor or service manager, you need to responsibly schedule technicians in preparation of catastrophes. Carissa DiMuccio, service manager, Carjon, Smithfield, R.I., offered tips on time management during last year’s Service Manager’s Forum, presented by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). While tune-ups are great, necessary, money-making ventures, they must not occupy a service manager’s entire schedule, she said. A schedule full of tune-ups, with no availability for emergency repairs, leads only to a mess of angry customers. As an emergency call is received, a technician is dispatched, forcing him to abandon a scheduled tune-up, leaving an expecting customer up in arms. And, the customer with the emergency is likely upset because you didn’t have a guy on the ready.

The solution: Designate certain technicians for tune-ups during certain times of the year. Schedule maintenance-agreement work a month prior to the winter and summer seasons, when climates are less extreme. Check the 10-day weather forecast at the beginning of each week. If Mother Nature is looking exceptionally cranky, be sure your most skilled professionals are available and ready.

Other tips: Work hard to convince new customers to purchase a maintenance agreement. Remind them that scheduled upkeep lessens the chance that future disasters will occur, and it’ll move them to the front of the line in an emergency. And, as a preferred customer, they’ll receive a reduced invoice.

Other time-saving tips include utilizing fleet management software, which helps to save money on gas, and wear and tear on your trucks. Such measures ensure that your company is not just staying busy, but also making money.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

While we tolerate it for our own benefit, nobody likes waiting — especially in emergency situations.

Thus, in the words of Internet sensation Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for” — oh wait, my wife is calling, I think I’d better go answer that…

Publication date: 10/14/2013

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