Doing Their Own Callbacks to Improve Callback Ratios

[Editor's note: The letter is in response to the column "You've Fixed The Problem, Now Fix The Fixer," Dec. 12, 2005.]

I totally agree with John R. Hall about sending the original service technicians on their own callbacks. The profit numbers are a good way to justify this, however, I believe there is another very important reason to take this course of action.

The majority of everyone I know in this business seems to have trouble with the recruitment and retention of good service techs and field personnel. Therefore, you must be able to train those you have to do better work. Also, they need to be held accountable for their mistakes.

I personally believe that with the proper incentives and bonus structures in place, callback dollars can be deducted from them and the tech can understand how callbacks affect the company. They see the money deducted from their bonus or incentives, but not their base pay. Showing this breakdown can help them understand that if callbacks were limited, their bonus (and overall pay) would not be affected so much.

When you reach a point where the service department can hand out awards or bonuses to the service tech(s) because of outstanding service and no callbacks, it creates a competitive environment, and the techs are competing against each other for the rewards. This creates a positive environment and is conducive to providing good service to your customers without a high number of callbacks. The customers win because they are happy with the service, and the company wins because profits are up!

Shane Biddy
Bryant's Heating & Cooling
Fort Payne, Ala.

Holding Techs Accountable For Callbacks

[Editor's note: The letter is in response to the column "You've Fixed The Problem, Now Fix The Fixer," Dec. 12, 2005.]

I have just read John R. Hall's column, and I could not agree more. The one thing that I have implemented is a morning training regimen. Once a week on Tuesday mornings, we all meet at 7 a.m. to go over what I consider to be weak points. I even let my techs know what callbacks we have gotten as well as how this affects our company.

Everyone wants that almighty dollar. But service technicians need to understand how the company losing money affects them. When they start asking for raises and have callback ratios of 25 percent or sometimes even higher, they don't seem to understand why Joe gets 50 cents or even a $1 per hour more than they do. They think it is unfair and that they're not appreciated.

I don't think any company sees this to be the case. They just need to work more at being self-reliant - to learn what needs to be learned, or if nothing else have that good technician, service manager, or even owner show them.

We, as humans, sometimes have a problem with wanting to learn. I will honestly tell you that I have probably screwed up at least one of every component ever built. But on the upside of that, I can now tell you how that component operates and what it will not take, and how to adapt it to other manufacturers' equipment. That is also why I don't believe in things being half done either.

I started out at the bottom of the heap, making peanuts on the dollar. I see these people coming out of tech schools that don't know crap about anything getting better money than I could have ever thought of.

Then when they screw something up, they come crying to us good technicians. All in all though, as a service technician, you have to invest in yourself beyond what your company is willing to do. If you cannot do that, do not disgrace my profession.

Rusty Russell
Service Manager
Lee's Cooling & Heating Co. Inc.
Independence, Kan.

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Publication date: 02/27/2006