Well, it’s that time of year again. Thank heaven! The phones are ringing with customers wanting service and with leads for replacement systems. These are the times we look forward to all year. All of a sudden everyone in the place is busy, lead times stretch out, and employees are working until dark. For the first time in a long time, demand for our services exceeds the supply of manpower we have readily available. So now we have a different problem to deal with than the one we have dealt with for so many months where we have worked to keep the technicians and installers busy. So all of this is good, isn’t it?

Yes, all of this is good if we handle it properly. We have to remember that the customer who is calling us now is just as deserving of top notch service as the customer we bent over backwards to please when they called when we were looking for work. In fact, because we may be taking care of a serious “no cooling” problem, today’s customer may be more appreciative of our performance than our earlier customer. For that reason it is of the utmost importance that we treat that customer with all of the respect and courtesy we did when we had lots of time to talk on the phone and it was easy to schedule their call.

How many times have you gone to a place of business, restaurants come to mind, where at the moment they were extremely busy they acted like they didn’t want to be bothered with you? If it is a restaurant, you may stay that time, but I think it is unlikely you will return. As a customer, we are not really interested in how busy a business is at the time we seek service. We came to be served and we expect to be treated the same regardless of how busy the business is at that time.  

Let’s apply that to the heating and air conditioning business. We know there are going to be some times during the year (hopefully several), when we are receiving calls faster than we can take care of them. At those times it is extremely important for us as managers to remind our employees to treat those customers as well as every other customer. Customers don’t want to hear about our issues that someone is off sick, or that a truck has broken down. They want to know what we are going to do to serve them properly. So we have to make sure that our employees don’t make the mistake of sharing all of their problems of the day with a customer. The restaurant analogy occurs when a server seems to ignore us and then spends several minutes telling us how someone failed to come in for work and therefore they are short handed. I’m sorry but I’m not interested in their scheduling problems. I’m interested in having good service and food served in a timely manner. 

Another reason why treating customers properly at this time is so important is because, just due to the nature of the business, we are coming in contact with so many more customers now, that we are making many more impressions. We need to consider these as opportunities to show just how good we can be even though we are extremely busy at the time. Your customers will know that when it’s 90-plus degrees outside, you are going to be busy. You don’t have to tell them. Act like these are normal times for you and you will dazzle them. Back to the restaurant; I don’t need a harried hostess to be rude to me for me to see that they are extremely busy when the parking lot and waiting area are overflowing.

I get a good feeling when they treat me as if they still want my business even if they really have no idea where to put me.

That is the kind of impression our employees need to give. “Thank you for calling and what can we do to serve you!” Just like we said it to our customers who called in the middle of March.

These are the good times. Let’s not let being busy get in the way of taking advantage of these good times.