Disaster plans are one of those things we all know we need, but never get around to creating. That tends to bite our business right in the rear when trouble comes. The weather events of the last few months have brought this topic to the top of everyone’s minds, and I want you to think about acting while the memories are still fresh.
The concept of time windows is a slippery slope for most home service companies. Other industries have figured out how to fit their work into nice, neat little boxes of time, so why can’t we? The problem stems from the number of variables we deal with on our individual calls.
I want you to think about the state of customer service in the HVACR industry, particularly in residential home service. We often pay, train, and respect those people who are answering customer calls the least out of everyone at our company. Then, we ask ourselves why they’re not doing a stellar job.
How many times per day does your company place customers on hold? If you have no idea, it might be more than you think. If you want to find out, head over to the customer service area when the phones are busy with a notepad and a pen. Over a half hour time period, make a tick mark every time you hear the word hold. That should give you a pretty good idea.
Sometimes the temperature means that we will be busier than normal, or whatever is falling from the sky might make travel around our area challenging. No matter what is happening outside, when we answer the phone we need to be better than the weather.
I often ask business owners and managers if they are happy with their current team. The most popular answer is, “Sure…” That word is said without confidence or conviction, which indicates that I need to dig a little deeper. So, I use my standard follow-up: “Rank your team from best to worst — don’t overthink, just off the top of your head.”
I need everyone to take a look at how their company dispatches calls to technicians. I’m not talking about your technology, or whatever fancy system you have come up with that includes a map to the customer, etc. I am talking about how the calls are distributed to your team.
Often times when I ask the question about a clear call board, people think I am trying to trick them somehow. The idea behind that question is not meant to be a trick; it is simply attempting to find out if you are preparing to grow.
When it comes to the customer service area of our business, we tend to make a rough guess at performance. You need to stop guessing at your customer service team’s performance and know how they are doing.
If that title sounds like a challenge, it is. I want everyone who reads this to think about all of the things that went wrong last year and write them down. Now that we know what gave us trouble in the past, let’s put some thought into what we can do about it.