It’s the same old story…

A customer has a problem at home with their HVAC system, lighting, or plumbing. The customer calls a service provider. The service call gets booked. A technician arrives at the customer’s home, completes the job, and the customer pays the invoice.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

That’s the way it works for most contractors, and it works to the tune of some decent revenue numbers and net profit figures. It’s the way it’s always been done, and it’s the way our industry works — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

The old-school way of thinking is that the customer is a transaction — and sometimes a liability or a blessing. What many contractors fail to recognize is that they can create such an amazing experience for their customers that customers no longer think of dealing with tradespeople as one of the necessary evils of owning a home.

Years ago, when the first contractor was hiring the first customer service representative, I’m guessing that the hiring conversation didn’t include much talk about excelling in the area of customer service or wowing the customer from start to finish. I assume that most contractors hired a customer service representative (CSR) because they eventually had to do it for their businesses. Someone had to answer the phones, write the relevant information on an index card, and then pass the info on to the owner/service tech to run the call.

Now, in 2020, we’ve realized the power of having amazing customer service representatives (CSRs) guide our customers by starting each experience with a great interaction on the phone. CSRs field questions from customers and make sure they feel happy with their decision to use our companies.

Most reputable contractors operate with CSRs to help manage the flow of calls coming into their businesses. It’s become a normal part of any efficiently operated, successful business.

But what about those “other” call center people?

While most companies in our industry have that customer service representative position filled, some are just beginning to recognize the impact that an effective dispatch system can have on their business.

Your dispatcher touches 100 percent of the customers that come through your business. Considering that fact alone, it’s astonishing the impact your dispatcher can have. Dispatchers can also massively affect your daily revenue by sending the right tech to the right call.

By dealing with 100 percent of the customers in some way — whether by moving the call on the dispatch board or making updates and rescheduling calls — your dispatcher most likely knows more about the opportunities that exist in your day-to-day operations than anyone else in your organization. Plus, your dispatcher has a serious impact on the experience customers receive.

For example, dispatchers that make routine update calls throughout the day tend to generate more positive reviews for their company than the companies that don’t have their dispatchers in contact with customers. Dispatchers can also make rescheduling a cinch for customers, because a good dispatcher is aware of the possibility of a reschedule early in the day and knows they have the power to make the reschedule a pleasant experience (or a terrible one) for every customer.

Gone are the days that a dispatcher sits behind a desk, seldom heard or seen. The new dispatcher is more adept at handling customers in difficult situations while maintaining control of the call board. When you include the dispatcher as an integral part of the customer experience, you’ll start to hear positive feedback from your customers.

Keep in mind that every time we give any employee permission to wow the customer, we stand to gain a lot more than we lose. Better reviews. Better experiences. Better opportunities.

So, when was the last time that you recognized one of your dispatchers for a great experience they gave a customer? Go tell dispatch you appreciate them, right now!

How do you use your dispatchers in the experience that your customers go through?

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