Busy season woes: too little time to sell?
Feeling rushed? This is actually the biggest impediment to increasing the dollar amount of your average service call that I've seen.
This all goes back to the dispatching policies in your company. Most techs feel overworked and under appreciated. How many hours per day do you think a tech should work during the busy season? How many calls per day should a tech run during busy season?
The busy season is your prime opportunity to make money. The busy season is where we can maximize our profits on each call, but because contractors often overwork their employees during the busy season, we can actually see a drop in the average dollar amount per service call. I see this happening primarily in companies with a service policy that can be stated essentially as, "We service everyone who calls on the day that they call." As a side note, I'll add that I have only seen this policy in companies where the "policy maker" doesn't run service calls.
If you won't let your field service personnel go home until all calls are run (or until they drop), you are inadvertently shifting their focus from maximizing opportunities and providing the ultimate service experience on every call, where they will do everything that needs to be done on each call, to simply trying to get in and get out and work as fast as they can, doing as little as possible on each call so that they can get home in time to fall into bed and get up the next morning.
Contractors have a funny mind set about customers. They want as many customers as they can get and try to see as many people per day as they can see, even if that means giving the short shrift and giving the bum's rush to the customers they've already got.
Net profit per jobQuestion: Say you've got two techs and over the same period of time, each brings you $1,000 in billable service. The difference is that one tech ran five calls, and the other ran 10 calls. Which technician made the highest net profit for your company? Again, they both brought in the same amount of dollar volume - $1,000. One of them ran five calls and the other ran 10. Which brought in the higher net profit?
The one who ran five calls made you the highest net profit. Why is that? The one running the fewer calls burned less gas, put fewer miles on your vehicle, had less unapplied or non-billable "windshield" time and, simply by running fewer calls, will have a lesser likelihood of a call-back or non-billable warranty call, and less overall liability. Additionally, because that tech obviously spent more time with the customer and working on the equipment or property in question, more than likely was able to do a more thorough job, all of which will result in a more satisfied customer. On the other hand, the person running the 10 calls in the same day obviously had to be rushing, which means a much higher likelihood of accidents and mistakes, increasing your liabilities and expenses, consequently lowering your bottom line.
Instead of allowing the company to go into a panic mode during the busy times, and focusing on running as many calls per day and squeezing every little bit of work you can get out of your field service employees, why not counsel with your dispatcher and service personnel on shifting the focus from running the maximum number of calls per day to bringing in the maximum amount of profit per day. Make each call count.
I very, very strongly recommend that you review your dispatching policies and procedures to determine if you are overworking your field personnel during your busy season. If you are, I recommend you back off.
Don't give your techs a list of eight or 10 calls in the morning and tell them they can't go home until they finish those calls. They won't have the time to deliver the ultimate service experience.