When it's busy, don't let your company get sloppy
June 1, 2008
The calendar says June. In much of the country, that means it’s starting to get hot.
In fact, some areas such as Atlanta, where I live, have experienced “summer” in spring. We really didn’t have a spring - it went right from winter to summer.
If it’s getting warm where you are, now is the time to build the “tickler” prospect files. In fact, it’s time to go through last summer’s files to see if any cooling repairs were recommended and not performed.
Even though they may be busy, your technicians must do everything that’s in the best interest of customers. They have to look as neat for the first call as they do for the last. They have to be as courteous on the first call as they are on the last.
Sometimes this is difficult to do, especially when they have been working in the heat all day.
Your installation crews should start early. One of the contractors that I work with in Arizona starts at 5:30 a.m. It ensures technicians are out of customers’ attics during the sweltering heat of the day.
If a customer complains about the early start, they explain that they can’t risk their technicians’ health during the hottest part of the day. Most customers agree readily. If they don’t, the contractor will put off the installation until fall.
Saying thank youEven though your dispatchers and customer service representatives are busy, they must remember to thank customers for calling, setting up service calls and scheduling appointments. This simple act goes a long way toward calming upset customers.
Other activities to continue in the summer:
Return telephone calls. Sometimes you get so busy giving estimates and handling the day-to-day issues that returning telephone calls is low on your priority list. If someone has called with a problem, you need to resolve it as quickly as possible. The last thing you need when you are busy is for a minor problem to become a major crisis.
Call customers to whom you have given estimates. You might be thinking that you are so busy that you can’t take another job. However, if you give an estimate, you have to call that customer back to see what they have decided to do. You might get the job. You also might get valuable information about your competition.
Continue to give out business cards. You never know when one will turn into a job.
These are some activities that you need to continue to do when it is extremely busy. You might think that you can’t handle one more service call or one more job. However, you’ll always fit in what needs to get done. In addition, when you are busy is the best time to look for work.
Rules are rulesBeing busy doesn’t mean you can get sloppy, however.
When it gets hot, I often see company rules slipping by the wayside. When corners are cut, sometimes the rules are broken or not enforced. The excuse? It’s busy.
That can’t be an excuse for not following the rules. They are there for a reason and must be enforced at all times. If you see someone doing something against the rules, even if it’s your best technician during your busiest month, you have to handle it.
I’ve often said that employees are like surrogate children. In many cases, they act like kids and you have to treat them like kids. You have to tell them how to behave when answering the telephone, in front of customers and in the office. You have to tell them how to dress - and in some cases, to bathe. You have to tell them what the rules are and the consequences of breaking them.
Like children, some will see how far they can stretch the rules without getting caught or getting in trouble.
This is where discipline comes in. You have to have rules and enforce them uniformly. If you treat employees differently, you’re going to get complaints.
You can’t play favorites. There may be times that you hate enforcing the rules because you really like an employee who screwed up. However, you can’t have different rules for different employees. The first time you let someone get away with breaking the rules, you’ve lost that policy. Others will think they can break the rules and get away with it, too.
Copyright Ruth King. All rights reserved. Write to Ruth King, 1650 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 405, Norcross, GA 30093. Call (800) 511-6844; e-mail email@example.com.