Six tips for handling the busiest season
August 1, 2010
It was a bizarre spring. Parts of the country had summer in April. Parts of the country hardly had a spring.
Now summer is under way. When it’s busy, the days can fly by. At the end of the day, you can often wonder what you accomplished. It seems that many people are focused on selling or taking orders, answering the telephones and solving problems or making sure that the jobs get done.
Your business should see more overtime and more profits. If you are in the South, summer is generally the busiest time of year. Enjoy the profits. For those of you in the Northern U.S., summer might not be your busiest time of the year. Either way, here are six things to keep your sanity and keep your customers happy.
1. Don’t tell a customer that you’re busy. I hear dispatchers giving the “We’re busy” excuse to customers all the time. Customers don’t care. All they want to hear is that you will take care of their problem quickly. Tell the customers what you can do for them rather than what you can’t do for them. Reassure them that you are working to get their problems resolved as quickly as possible.
2. Keep a smile in your voice, even if you are tired at the end of the day. This applies to everyone in your company. Obviously people want a friendly voice on the telephone. If you sound grouchy, many times your employees won’t ask about critical things they need to complete a job or get ready for the next one. They prefer to stay away, figure it out themselves or wait until another time that you appear to be in a better mood.
3. Learn how to say “no” without saying it. If someone is having a problem the last thing he or she wants to hear is someone saying “no” or “can’t” or “won’t.” These negative words frustrate an unhappy person and have a tendency to make him or her more upset. So if you can’t get to a job until two days later and it is 100°F outside, instead say, “We’ll reserve our first available appointment. If there is a cancellation, I will move you up in the schedule to fill that cancellation.” You’ve said “no” without saying it.
4. Make sure that your technicians and installation crews have water in their trucks and they drink it. It is critical that they drink water; especially if they are working on hot roofs or attics. You don’ need a technician or installer passing out because of heat exhaustion. Train your technicians and installers to look for the signs of heat exhaustion. You want them aware of what may be happening to them so they can prevent getting sick or hurting themselves.
5. Take a few minutes to ensure that the materials and instructions for your jobs are complete. You don’t have the time to waste running to the parts house. This is the time of year to be productive. Stopping work to pick up a part hampers productivity. In addition, customers appreciate your starting and completing a job without having to stop in the middle and disappearing for a while.
Likewise, make sure that everyone finishes jobs. From customers’ perspectives, they appreciate your crew’s additional effort to finish that day so they don’t have to spend part of another day at home. In addition, the job is complete and they can get back to their normal routine - more comfortable than they were the day before. They don’t have to wait an additional night to be comfortable.
If it takes an hour of overtime, it is much better to finish a job than come back the next day. You’ll spend more than that hour in labor and truck expenses getting back to the job and completing it.
6. From a service perspective, fix the disease, not the symptom of the disease. When it’s busy, technicians have a tendency to find the first problem they see and fix it. Many don’t take the time to find out why that problem occurred. The last thing you want, and the customer needs, is a call-back a few days or a week later.
Copyright Ruth King. All rights reserved. Write to Ruth King, 1650 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 405, Norcross, GA 30093. Call (877) 520-4321; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.