In my last article (Page 22 of the Feb. 13 issue), I gave you the big picture about the importance of creating processes to maximize efficiency and profit. I went through our installation process, which covers one of the most and complex parts of our business.
This article covers important parts of the process for service calls, specifically the beginning and the end.
As the warmer weather begins to break, our phones seem to ring off the hook.
Even though prospects have similar issues, we’ve found that each caller has different expectations — particularly about what they want to do and spend.
One customer may choose to purchase a $10,000 system while his or her next-door neighbor opts to pay a diagnostic fee before sending us out the door. That’s why we developed a way to prioritize leads based upon predicted profit.
This became necessary and vital as we reached our capacity limits, which forced us to decide which leads were most important and profitable to us.
Our goal was to make sure we caught the $10,000 sale no matter how busy we were. For that job, we decided we’d always make room in our schedule.
First, gather information from incoming callers and record the information using an online form. Ask customers why they called (repair, replacement quote, or maintenance). Note the age of the system, how long the homeowner has lived at the location, and any other pertinent information. The purpose is to quickly determine which callers had needs or wants that would translate to system sales or major repairs.
After about 500 calls, we compiled the data.
We found that customers who requested repairs and believed their systems were 10-15 years old were the ones who spent the most money. Thus, we elected to prioritize based on system age. Those with homes in this 10- to 15-year-old range fell in the “sweet spot.”
We then created a focused incoming call script to capture information in the most efficient way without grilling the callers and possibly turning them off. Utilizing a script is easy with all of the online software available today. We use existing software we can tailor rather than spending on custom programming, which has worked fine for us.
Depending on how “geeky” you want to get, different form-creation tools can be selected that are free or inexpensive. You can even develop a form with dropdowns, radio buttons, checkboxes, and more.
The real focus needs to be on coming up with a list of questions to ask on each and every incoming call. It’s also important to review what you’ve done by completing a form for each incoming call.
Start by tallying up the results for a year. After each season, go back and determine the sales from each incoming call. This is the nitty-gritty, so be obsessive. You’ll get better data and be able to make good decisions on revising or keeping your prioritized schedule.
That includes making sure you put the work ticket number on the incoming call form so you can attach a sales invoice to it. Then, determine which types of calls make the most money for you.
The result of all this analysis should allow you to see which incoming calls were profitable and why.
Pay close attention to the specific details that show what related to making your business the most profit. For example, were there large differences based upon system age, zip code, customer’s perceived need, or any other factor? It’s a labor of love, because it will help you focus your marketing and dispatching efforts to maximize profit.
The most important time to gather data is right after a job has been completed.
Record what happened on the job, what was said between the technician and customer, and other vital information while it’s fresh in the technician’s mind.
Since our company is super lean, we decided to automate this process with another quick web form. We wanted to keep this simple, so we only ask the questions that are absolutely required and specific to that job. The entire form can be completed in less than one minute.
We ask the same questions we would on a telephone debriefing:
• Is the job complete?
• Did you collect on the spot?
• Is any follow up needed?
• What products did the customer have installed?
• What products may they be interested in, etc.?
You also many want to add other questions specific to your business.
We use the job closing form as a way for service technicians to compile their own performance data. The form analyzes the input and applies the commissions to a graph where technicians can instantly see their sales, commissions, average tickets, etc.
Once we tied the closing form to commissions, we got 100 percent completion on the forms. Tie compliance to incentives and these things seem to get done.
The job closing form has been a great management tool to analyze technician and team performance and also a great tool for marketing and customer retention.
Publication date: 3/20/2017Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!