10 Easy Steps to Success

Late Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, I arrived home and my garage door would not open. After getting into the house, I investigated and found one of the springs on the door was broken. So, I called the company that has been here a few times who actually replaced that spring about 2 years ago. I got voice mail and left a message. About an hour later after not hearing from anyone, I called again and got voice mail again. By now I am wondering did they close for Thanksgiving week? Or just a few days early? Or, can they actually come out and do the repair before Thanksgiving? My wife’s car was captive in that garage and that would not be good with Black Friday coming.

So, I got on the internet and found a very large garage door company and placed the call. Well, someone actually answered the phone. She was very courteous, took my information and scheduled the call for 10 am to 12 noon on Wednesday. I was delighted! I really needed that garage door to open.

Wednesday morning about 7:30am, I received a call from the garage door company who wanted to know if they could move my call up to the 8 am to 10am time slot. Well, absolutely!  Ten minutes before he arrived, James, the technician called and said he was close by and to expect him. Nice touch – no wondering when between 8 am and 10 am he would arrive.

James, knocked lightly on the door and when I opened the door, he introduced himself. I invited him in; he petted our dogs and asked about them; we chatted briefly about our house; then I took him through the house to the garage. I pointed out the broken spring above the door. He asked how often the door had been serviced, so I gave him a brief history. I also told him the springs were replaced about 2 years ago. He studied the door for a couple of minutes, looking at all the parts of the door. Then he approached for a closer look. He checked the cables, the pullies, the date stamped on the spring and the block of wood above the door where the spring was fastened. He asked how often per day we went in and out the garage. Well, it is like our front door, I said – we open it several times per day, even to take the dogs for a walk. Then he said he would work up some prices for the repair.

James spent a few minutes in his service truck and returned with 3 options written on a piece of paper. The first was just to replace the broken spring. The second option was to replace both springs, so they would be identical, and the block of wood the springs were fastened to. He told me the two springs should be just alike to work together properly, and the existing wooden block could not hold the springs properly as the wood was too soft. There had been an earlier repair because the springs had broken loose. And, option three was to replace the springs, wooden block, cables, pullies, etc. to make it almost like new. Since we use this door so often, I selected option three – fix it right to make it last and get the longer warranty he offered.

James started the repair; had most everything disassembled and then came and got me.  He told me that the spring failed because it was not the correct spring for the door. Then he explained why the spring failed after only 2 years of service. Then he showed me another part that he recommended should also be replaced at an additional charge. I agreed.

Shortly, the door was completely repaired and actually worked better than it ever has. The bill was higher due to the additional parts, but I was very happy. The door was fixed and should last several years because it was done properly. Plus, I got a 7-year warranty on the materials and labor. It was really nice dealing with a true professional in his field.

James showed me everything he had done. He reviewed the invoice and the warranty. He took my payment. He then thanked me for the business and asked for a Google review of his work. The entire service call was text book perfect.

This is a true story. There are several points I have been preaching in the plumbing industry for thirty years:

  1. Answer the phone. No one wants to talk to your voice mail. Hire a person who can answer the phone and do some of the paperwork, so you can have a family life. Or, hire a good answering service who can schedule your calls for you. Never ever let a call go to voice mail. It is the kiss of death in the service business.
  2. Communicate with the customer. Schedule and agree on a reasonable time for the service call and then re-confirm it with the customer when the technician is close by. If something should change, contact the customer immediately to confirm the changes.
  3. Knock on the door. Do not ring the door bell that wakes up sleeping children, startles the elderly, or drives the dogs crazy. Friends knock on the door – strangers ring the doorbell.
  4. Develop some rapport. Get to know the customer just a little; pet the dog; rub the cat; offer a complement; make a friend of the customer. People like to do business with people they like.
  5. Ask questions. Find out the history of problems and previous repairs. The more you know, the better solution to can provide. Plus, when you have determined usage, you can also determine which product or repair you should offer and how much warranty to provide based on that usage.
  6. Give the customer options. Everyone wants the opportunity to pick what they want done. Maybe the budget is tight and this repair was unexpected, so they only want something to get by. Or maybe, like me, they want it done right and don’t want the problem again for a very long time. No one wants to be cornered with a “This is it” solution.
  7. Keep the customer involved. Once you start the repair, it is not uncommon to find something wrong that you did not anticipate. Don’t not do something. And, don’t do it and just add it to the invoice. That surprise invoice is why customers get upset with the price – they did not agree to that price. Plus, with keeping the customer involved, you can make additional suggestions that could benefit the customer and your invoice total.
  8. Show and tell. Explain the repair or replacement; show them how it operates; make sure they understand what you did to help them. Make sure the area you work in is cleaner than you found it. Explain the invoice to the customer and make sure they understand each line item and the warranty for parts and labor.
  9. Thank the customer. For some reason, very few today thank the customer for their business. What a simple thing to do. That business keeps the doors open and feeds everyone who works there. Be the exception and say, thank you very much – my family appreciates it.
  10. Ask for reviews. Look at the customer and ask for a great review. If the customer is uneasy and cannot give you a great review, ask why, so you can correct it before you leave. It is very simple. Just ask and leave the customer smiling.

If you love the service industry like I do, develop the correct habits to make it great! You will appreciate it; your customers will appreciate it; and your business will provide you with an income for life!

If I can help you improve your technician’s skills, profitability of your business or provide other operational systems, contact me at ThePlumbersCoach.com. This is what I do all day, every day!

The Plumbers Coach™. Detailed personalized business coaching and training for plumbing contractors. Like us on Facebook @ThePlumbersCoach, follow us on Twitter @T_PlumbersCoach and on LinkedIn @KeithGlass1. Get your day started right with The Daily Quote on our social media pages or subscribe to the daily email.

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