Busy days are coming. At least I hope they are. Hopefully, by the time this is in print, you are realizing the beginning of a very busy season. But, whether it has begun yet or not, I believe it is a good idea to take a quick check of all of your operations systems each year to make sure everything is in place when things really do get busy. For many of you, this may be a regular routine you practice on an ongoing basis. For the rest of us, we should make it part of a regular routine. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the most important things you should be checking.
HERE COMES THE SUN
1. Are you responding immediately to calls or emails requesting service and/or installation? Times are not the same as they were a few years ago. Today’s consumer wants a response now. They’ll do business with the person who responds. Make sure that person is you.
2. Are those who are responding prepared to give complete, honest and current information to the caller? Make sure you’ve trained your customer service personnel to have empathy, treat the customer courteously, and give them the answers they desire as quickly as possible.
3. The technicians and installers dispatched to the job are the customers’ first real visual look at the face of your company. Make sure these individuals are prepared to give the right type of first impression. Remember the saying: “First impressions are lasting impressions.” You should have a complete checklist of the way you want employees to make first impressions. Don’t assume they’ll remember that checklist. Now, as they are about to get busy, is the time to review it with them. Even the best technicians and installers need to be reminded about the best ways to properly impress customers. Remind your people, too, that today’s consumers are more informed and have greater expectations than any previous group of consumers.
4. Throughout the service or installation process, if communication is required, make sure your people are trained to adequately communicate. One of our consumers’ biggest complaints occurs when they feel they are being ignored. If part(s) are needed, keep customers informed of the status. It is better to over-communicate than to assume customers know the status.
5. Now is the time to remind your people to under-promise and over-deliver. Give customers all they expect and, when possible, a little more.
6. All of your personnel should be trained regarding the importance of fully completing the job. Make sure everything they are working on is complete, clean, and returned to the condition you found it in, or better. Right behind the importance of first impressions are last, and lasting, impressions. The way the customer is treated at the completion of the job will go a long way in determining his or her natural willingness to recommend your company to others.
7. If something goes wrong, and additional follow up is required, make sure your staff is aware of how important it is to follow up quickly. Many consumers have been subject to poor after-the-sale service in the past and are automatically concerned that once you are gone from their home, they may have trouble getting you to respond again. Make sure that isn’t you. Consider a response to their request just as important as their initial call.
It’s extremely important that we, as managers, regularly remind our personnel regarding all of these issues. Remember, most technicians and installers have not received a great deal of customer service training. While they may be technically proficient or adept at installing a new system, it does not mean they have all of the necessary customer relation skills. That is why it’s important we continually remind them of the importance of the customer.
That is also why now, as we are about to be our busiest, is the time to remind your team of this entire list. While it may seem obvious to you, remember, to that individual on the job concentrating on repairing or replacing a piece of equipment, these skills are not second nature, and it is up to you to make sure they are followed.
Publication date: 6/8/2015