Appliance and HVACR service company owners and service managers all want their technicians to provide good customer service while they are accomplishing the troubleshooting/repair/maintenance tasks that are the technical side of their job. Here’s one approach you can take to create a culture of customer service in your business…
At your next regularly scheduled techncian…staff….associate, or however you refer to it meeting, hand out 3 x 5 index cards and explain that your entire customer service “policy” is going to be written on the cards.
Then, instruct everyone to write the following on one side of the card: Part One, Provide Outstanding Customer Service.
Next, instruct everyone to turn the card over and write the following on the other side of the card: Use Your Own Best Judgment In Any Situation.
Then….wait. And, yes, the silence will be deafening, but wait. What you’re waiting for is a ‘yabut’.
What’s a ‘yabut’? It’s a question that begins with a ….”yeah, but what if the customer says…..? or, “yeah, but what if what happens is….?
And, once the first ‘yabut’ comes up, all you have to do is say, “I want you to refer to Part One of our customer service policy.” And, when the second ‘yabut’ comes up, all you have to do is say, “Turn the card over.”
And, when the third ‘yabut’ comes up, say, “Turn the card over,” again.
And, when the fourth, or fifth, or however many ‘yabuts’ come up, you….well, you get the idea. After a while, the concept will sink in. What you want to convey about your customer service philosophy is that, while it might not be easy to accompish, it is, in fact, simple.
(Note….during a workshop where I recently presented this idea to a group of approximately 40 service company owners, service managers, and soon-to-be service managers, I was roundly (and a bit loudly) criticized by one of the attendees because, in his opinion, this idea was “so vague.” And, as always happens during a workshop attended by a group of people who are in management and supervision, I personally didn’t have to explain why this idea is effective. Another attendee spoke up and said, “If you can’t trust your employees to handle this, then you shouldn’t have hired them.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.)
Another benefit of going through this exercise is that it will help you identify where there may be any negative influences in your organization. The first technician who says something along the line of “I don’t get paid to make those kinds of decisions,” or “Are you saying you want us to do your job for you?” is in need of some coaching from you.
No, you’re not asking some one to do your job for you. You’re explaining to them that you want them to keep part one of your “policy” (Provide Outstanding Customer Service) in their mind at all times when they delivering the services that your company provides, and, that in some cases, part two of your “policy” (Use Your Own Best Judgement In Any Situation) will be something they can, more often than not, handle on their own, while sometimes, implementing part two will mean that their judgment will be that they need to call you for direction on what specific action to take…..that is, after they’ve explained the details of the situation to you and offered their opinion on what they think is the right thing to do.
To put it simply, what you want to convey to your people is that they are empowered to do their job, and that you are always there to provide direction… when necessary.
Until next week….
Learn from yesterday….Live for today….Look foward to tomorrow.