Thursday, December 1, 2011

Little Things

At our shop meeting yesterday, the subject of what kind of rags should the Techs have and use was brought up, and the discussion concerning this rather mundane topic went on for some 15 minutes or so. At first blush, one might think, “Wow is this really something that requires all of this verbiage and energy?” Well I believe the answer is a resounding YES! Why? Because rags are used in conjunction with keeping their work areas clean both during and when they are finished with the job, which is one of the most important things a Service & Repair Company can ever do.

It was decided that the Techs needed rags made out of towels to soak up water and wipe things down, as well as paper towels for smaller jobs like cleaning glass, along with various cleaning products, etc. Then the question was asked if everyone had their clean-up systems up to speed? It turned out that some of the Techs in fact did not. We also found out there is an area in the shop for their cleaning supplies that had not always been maintained. It was agreed that from now on it would be restocked and kept that way in the future.

A simple solution for a simple problem, but to me it was a prime example of how complex running a business can be, even down to the smallest of details. I gave the others in the meeting my thoughts on why it was so important to make sure they had enough rags and cleaning supplies; and to always leave the work area cleaner than when they found it. Over the years, we have had a few situations where the Techs did a great job installing a Garbage Disposal, Boiler, Furnace, etc., but missed some little thing during the install and/or while finishing up.

The result of this was Mrs. Jones who was so happy to get her new whatever just as short time ago, is now very unhappy. She no longer cared about all of the value you provided while selling the job, or even that your price might have been higher than another company, as she thought you were better than they were, and would do a higher quality job. It was no longer important that you answered the phone properly and with a smile, that your trucks are clean and well stocked, and your Techs display photo I.D.s, and wear pretty uniforms with little Flags displayed on them.

What mattered now; was that a floor or countertop was not cleaned or covered properly, a wall was marked-up where a new Thermostat was installed, pipe dope was not wiped off a fitting or cabinet door, or that some bowl wax was left on a Water Closet, etc. Next comes the angry phone call, and all of the stress, grief, misery, time and applicable money lost with it, just because one of your Techs did not pay attention and wipe up with a clean rag, and therefore failed to leave the area cleaner than when they found it.

Studies used to say that an unhappy customer will tell 40 people or so about it, which is devastating for any company. The issue today however, is that they can now reach hundreds or even thousands of people via E-Mail, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Therefore, some simple little thing can override all the time, energy, and money you spend on the training of your Technicians, as well as the advertising and marketing to reach her in the first place. Thousands of dollars down the drain over a dent, stain, or smudge, what a shame!

Just my it is always the little things thoughts,

Gene B

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