The Technician's Illusion
In a service-based business, it’s common that someone that started out as a technician may eventually move up the ranks to a manager position or become the business owner. While this hands-on experience can be an admirable trait in a high-level employee, it’s important to remember that your focus has changed from being an exceptional employee to an exceptional business owner. So, what do you need to keep in mind when you make that switch?
Quality Service Isn’t Enough—Integrity is Key
The fatal flaw that technicians-turned-business-owner-or-manager have is that it’s too easy to get caught up in the field work and lose sight of the big picture. For former technicians, the day-to-day work is something they love to do and are fully invested in. The problem is that the average customer isn’t always interested in what treatments are being used or how they’re being applied.
Having great communication or following through on commitments are things that homeowners care about and business owners often undervalue.
When you’re caught up in the industry, it’s easy to pat yourself on the back for using only the highest-quality products or perfecting your application processes over the years. But for the outsiders—your customers—this doesn’t carry nearly as much weight as your customer service. This doesn’t mean that quality service isn’t important! However, your customers already expect that they’re getting the quality they deserve at a minimum. To keep them around for the long-term, your team needs to go above and beyond.
There’s More To Integrity Than Honesty
A common misconception in the home services industry is that running a business with integrity means nothing more than being open and honest with your customers. While this is certainly an important element of providing the type of customer service that keeps people coming back, without consistency and reliability, your customers will never truly trust you, no matter how truthful you are. There’s no exact formula for creating that sense of trust with your customer base, but there are a few tried and true elements that can get any service company moving in the right direction.
Tangibles—From the appearance of your technicians and the cleanliness of your trucks to the design of your marketing materials, the visual, tangible aspects of your business are going to make the first impression. Instill trust by making sure everything that’s customer-facing is tidy and projects the image you want.
Reliability—You want your customers to know that when they call you to fix their problem, you’ll show up when you say you will and you’ll get the job done right the first time.
Responsiveness—Whether it’s quickly returning phone calls to potential customers, providing same-day service, or listening to the needs of homeowners and helping them solve their problems, being responsive is something that is noticeable when lacking.
Assurance—Especially in services like pest control, HVAC, or plumbing, conveying trust and knowledge puts the customer’s mind at ease during a time where they may feel stressed by the issues they’re struggling with.
Empathy—Dealing with leaky pipes or a bug infestation can be a pain point. Sometimes, providing customer service that’s truly appreciated entails your techs and CSR’s putting themselves in the shoes of a stressed-out homeowner and meeting them with empathy and care.
Be honest with your customers! Use quality products! Provide service that solves their problems quickly and effectively! But don’t get too caught up in the specifics of field work and rely entirely on these things to keep them around. Indifferent customers are almost as bad as unhappy ones.