It never ceases to amaze me that every time I am around Jim Abrams, the legendary contractor, I pick up a golden ticket of information. The last time I met with him in Sarasota, Florida, he told me that at the start of every week, he writes down what he believes is the biggest problem that he has in his business, with the goal to have that problem resolved by Friday. In thinking about that lesson and the long list of things I wanted to accomplish this year, I came up with the top three things I need to focus on at my business. I have also developed them into themes, so I can get the team to rally around my priorities.
IN THE HOME
Objective: Maximize the amount of time the technician is in front of the client.
We don’t have a chance at making money or helping clients if we are not in their homes. Also, our first job arrival time seemed to be getting later and later.
If we do not get to the first job on time, what do we think would happen to the second, third, and fourth calls? When we are late, we are increasingly upsetting clients, pushing the techs into overtime, increasing labor costs, causing techs to work late into the evening, and disrupting their family lives.
We want to make sure we get the right tech to the right call based on his technical ability and communication skills, but after that, we need to limit drive time as much as possible. Not only will this save you labor cost, it will also save fuel and wear and tear on your vehicle. So “In the Home” encompasses everything that increases the time the tech is in front of the client.
ON THE TRUCK
Objective: Stock all parts, equipment, tools, etc., on the truck.
Whether it is because the technician does not order the part, we don’t have the right truck stock, the purchasing department did not order, or the supply house did not fill the order, we have identified a challenge with getting the parts back on the truck for our field people.
If they don’t have the part on the truck, we are wasting the client’s time, we must reschedule the call, or we are forced to go pick up the part. All three of these increase labor cost, fuel cost, and material cost, and they inconvenience the client. So we are putting a focus on making sure all the parts and materials are put on the truck before the appointment. This could include parts we sold along with all the warranty parts used.
POST A REVIEW
Objective: Encourage the client to brag online about all the good we do.
With the internet playing a bigger role in all of our lives, one of the most important things you can do to improve your business is make sure you are getting a lot of positive reviews. When you make a mistake and upset a client (and you will), they will take to the internet and tell everyone what you did and how bad it was. Make sure you do not ignore them. The best thing you can do is admit it, resolve it, apologize, and do something extra for them to show you are truly sorry. Find out how it happened, then set up a training lesson so it doesn’t happen again.
But what about all the clients you provided with a great client service experience — the appointments you showed up to on time, where you fixed the problem the first time and supplied a fair price to — who did they tell?
You must direct your team to encourage happy clients to post reviews online.
Answer this question: The best form of advertising is …
Word-of-mouth, right? Well Google, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, and any other social sites you can think of are the new “word-of-mouth.”
What are your top three themes and objectives, and how can you achieve your goals most effectively?