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.

Now think about how much money you spend to get those people talking to someone — your entire marketing budget is aiming for this goal. Does it make sense to throw all that money into marketing, and then not invest in the people who turn the call into a job?

There are three main things you can do to bring up the level of your customer service team, and, in turn, book more business:

  • Training — Just like your technicians, your customer service team should be getting regular training. “Training” doesn’t mean having a weekly “what went wrong” meeting. Training means planning and thought. It’s important to build out a training calendar that anticipates seasonality and works around that, so your customer service team is armed with the tools they need before busy times hit.
  • Hiring — Before you hire anyone, you should know what you’re looking for. If you want to hire the best, it means you have to be willing to pay the best. If this is intimidating, think about how much money you spent to get the phone to ring — I’m guessing this is tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. You’ll attract the best talent with good pay. During the hiring process, remember that this is a two-way sell. The potential employee is showing off their talents, but you should also be showing off why your company is a great place to work.
  • Onboarding and beyond — As I’ve mentioned, a training plan should already be in place for a new customer service team member. An onboarding process that has not been well-thought out could cost you this high-performing individual. Additionally, I want you to consider this: Do these professionals have a career path at your company? I know answering phones or dispatching is not a usual “dream job.” However, it brings pride to the role when someone can say that this is not just a temporary position on the way to a better job, but a path to success. In turn, this brings up the level of your people and your business as a whole. Let’s turn customer service roles into better opportunity.

Publication date: 6/7/2017