In my many years of seeing lots of different clients, I discovered that I prefer to work for people who have jobs and value their time as much as they value their money. Today, these ideal clients are typically dual income households. And since both parties are working long hours, they tend to come home later in the day.
The only way to win them as clients is to serve them the right way—and on their schedule.
Think about it. When these choice customers come home to discover a problem, the first chance they'll have had to call a contractor might be at 4 p.m. What do most of them hear? An answering machine!
Maybe you have a professional answering company—surely an improvement to not answering at all—but not anywhere as good as answering your own phones. Why? Because you have a vested interest in the outcome and they—the answering service—does not.
When you are answering your own phones, you have more power. You can convince a Tech to either stay on late or come out and do a call whereas if they field the call or receive a message from the answering service they are more likely to blow the call off or go but mail in their effort. The result is that both the customer and the company are poorly served.
So, what’s the answer?
You need to energize shifts. And the first shift to be energized is the 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift. That’s both for a Tech who is working those hours vs. being on call and a well-trained Customer Service Rep (CSR) or Manager who can screen the call and book it the right way and see the job history. This gives you, the company, the best chance to run the call the right way and maximize the results.
OK, why should the Techs be happy about this new rotating shift of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.? What’s their What's In It For Me (WIIFM)?
Here are some great WIIFMs for Techs when energizing this program:
- They can have breakfast with their kids
- They can book appointments like taking their car in for service
- They can book a doctor’s appointment in the morning
- It’s a “Gravy Shift’ when you show up after 4 p.m. in the afternoon prepared to run the call the right way because the competition falls away
- It takes the pressure off the Tech on call because they can go home and have dinner with their family while the 10 a.m-7 p.m. Tech covers things
Here are some additional tips on energizing the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. normal service hours:
- Make sure whoever is booking the calls confirms that we’re going to the right customers using the CSR manual and that they hold the Techs accountable to taking the calls right and immediately.
- Make sure the rotating 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tech is still attending meetings or at least brought up to speed on what’s going on.
How do you turn this 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. strategy into a sales and marketing advantage?
- My suggestion is to do it quietly at first by setting up the Tech and the CSR/Dispatcher rotations and shifting late afternoon calls to this person. This will allow you to work out the kinks.
- In a very short time, you huddle up and then make it known to your customers through:
- Email blasts
- On-hold messages
- Then, once again, we can then begin to promote this approach in your marketing to prospective customers.
Unleash the power of serving customers the right way and on their own schedule and separate yourself from your competition in a powerful and helpful way that will rightfully put more money in your own pocket!