E-News - What it Takes to be a Great Company – Part II
What it Takes to be a Great Company – Part II
Like many of you, I started working out of my garage as an unheard of wannabe. I did not come from wealth, was not raised in the area and did not have a well-known name. The McAfee anti-virus company was not as popular back in 1990 as it is today, making my name an unfamiliar one. When I considered the vast number of established companies in my area, I had to figure out how to not only become known, but to follow my dream towards becoming great. The first thing I realized was that I could not compete with them at their level. I had to do what they were not willing to do. As it turned out, much of that was called serving the customer.We’ve Arrived. Now What?
Image was and still is everything for me. In spite of the fact that my truck was old and ironically had no A/C, I always made sure it was clean and neat, inside and out. I parked on the street to avoid even the thought of oil spots being left on my customers’ driveways. A uniform was worn from day one, and being a former Marine, I made sure my boots were shined and that my appearance was as neat as possible from head to toe. Each and every customer was greeted with a smile and immediately presented with a business card. I’d like to say the wearing of shoe protectors started from day one, but it took a while for them to become readily available. We adopted them as part of our uniform as soon as they were, and now we guarantee that our workers are wearing them, or the service call is free. Today, we spend hundreds of hours on technical training as being educated in the latest technology is important to us. Nevertheless, let me stress a profound point: We work for the customer first, the appliance second. I’ve often told my team that even if you are facing a difficult and challenging repair that requires more time, effort, and money than expected, if the owner of that stubborn HVAC equipment likes you, they will become a customer for life. We take just the right amount of time to build rapport with our customers, and we know that word-of-mouth referrals are critical to the survival and livelihood of our business. While some may refer to this as “the soft side of training” or “people skills,” it is absolutely necessary. You must be able to communicate, listen, respond, relate, and solve problems. This is critical whether you are answering phones or stepping into someone’s home with your shoe protectors at the ready. Once the repair or service is complete, we know it is important to leave the work area cleaner than it was when we arrived. It’s not uncommon for us to sweep and mop before and after an installation. It’s also not uncommon for us to clean and wax a furnace or condensing unit before we leave a service call. Why? Because even if we know the unit has been serviced and cleaned inside, a unit that is dirty on the outside will not look right in the customer’s eyes. We all know that nothing really counts unless it is in writing, and our customers know this too. Documentation and warranty information is important, so we make sure it is left with the customer along with an understanding of it. In Part III, I will share what takes place if we screw up.Carry On! Sincerely, Greg McAfee HVAC Business Consultant