By the time the president of American Contractors Exchange is through advising and consulting Bowen Refrigeration, Heating, and Cooling, here’s betting the Muskegon, MI, contracting firm will be vastly improved by Sept-ember (if not earlier) — especially if the winner of The News’ first-ever “Do You Want to Grow Your Business?” contest listens and follows through on King’s words of wisdom.
King, in my eyes, provides healthy business advice. (And, yes, that’s why The News selected King to provide the six months of consulting for our contest winner.) She always makes sense. And, that includes common sense, too.
Only You Can Prevent BurnoutKing recently addressed an issue of importance via one of her weekly e-newsletters. In this particular installment of “Contractor Cents,” King passed along some solid tips on ways to keep employees motivated during the hot summer months. As she noted, it’s a fact that most companies generate the most profits during the “dog days of summer” (not to mention the freezing temperatures of the winter). However, those profits can evaporate quickly.
“If your technicians and installers burn out, they will make more mistakes. This means callbacks, warranty calls, unhappy customers, and worker’s comp claims,” said King. “Motivating employees during extreme weather conditions is a delicate balancing act. You need them to take care of your customers. However, you need to watch them to make sure that they do take a break and get time off to rest.”
So, what is a contractor to do? In King’s estimation, the first thing is to make sure that warranty and service agreement customers are taken care of first.
“Dispatch has to be good at saying ‘no’ without saying ‘no,’” is how she put it. “Let everyone know that you are taking care of these customers first. Remind them that service agreement customers write their paychecks. Without them, the technicians wouldn’t have a job.”
If you’re the boss, King strongly recommends that you say thank you — frequently.
“Let them know that you appreciate their hard work,” she said. “There are many ways to say thank you. It could be said in meetings. Publicly thank everyone for their hard work and let them know you appreciate their taking care of your customers.
“When you get customer appreciation letters, read them during the meetings. Post them on a bulletin board where everyone can see them.”
Her Advice is kingOther quick King comments:
Above all, says King, keep an eye on the technicians.
“If they start looking tired, start making mistakes, etc., then you have to give them some rest,” she advised. “I know of one company that had no one on-call one weekend during one busy summer. Everyone was burned out and needed to take a rest. They told their customers who called in. Amazing to them, the customers understood. They did have a backup for a true emergency situation, though. They didn’t lose any of their customers.”
Take it from a lady who knows.
Skaer is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 248-244-6446, 248-362-0317 (fax); firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail).
Publication date: 06/18/2001