Technician Accountability and Your Bottom Line

How To Utilize Technology To Improve Employee Engagement and Move Your Business Forward

No matter the industry, perhaps the most common trait of great leaders and employees is accountability. Why? Accountable workers can truly make a difference to a company by directly driving positive results.

The value add of accountable individuals can’t be denied. They take responsibility and pride in their actions and behaviors, providing full transparency into their work, strategies, successes, and any changes, challenges, or roadblocks they may encounter along the way. This openness and effective communication help create healthy team dynamics, increase collaboration, and build trust internally and externally.

In a nutshell, accountability is a key component of successful teams and businesses.

Technology Adoption in Field Service

For many field service providers, increasing technician accountability may not be the leading factor for adopting a new technology platform. The most common goals and reasons we’ve heard from service providers looking to incorporate a modern technology solution into their day-to-day service often include:

● Streamlining and improving business operations

● Improving transparency and communication with customers

● Improving technician training and troubleshooting

● Increasing customer satisfaction and trust

● Achieving market differentiation

By enabling process standardization through streamlined on-the-job checklists, modern technology solutions like XOi’s Vision app can help commercial and residential service providers achieve the goals listed above. 

The Vision app allows techs to easily and safely capture critical job site information, launch on-the-job remote support, access relevant equipment documentation, and provide customers and managers photo and video documentation of all recommended and completed work.

The result – improved and guaranteed quality of service and complete transparency into each step a technician completes while on site.

Why is improving technician accountability important?

Studies show that 82% of employees feel their leadership team had “limited to no” ability to hold employees accountable. That same study found that 91% of respondents believed “improving the ability to hold others accountable in an effective way” was one of their business’s top leadership development needs.

In addition, research has found that improved accountability not only bolsters individual employee engagement but also positively impacts your overall bottom line. According to Gallup, highly engaged workforces significantly outperform competitors, resulting in 21% higher profitability.

Instilling a sense of accountability into your business’s culture gives employees a sense of autonomy and ownership over their work. For field service providers, it’s important for technicians to feel trusted by their employers. A system of accountability, transparency, and documentation will also help give you and your customers peace of mind that their work meets certain quality standards.

 

Cydney Myers is the Marketing Manager for XOi Technologies.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.

How to Compete and Win in the Home Services Industry: Your Plan of Attack

It’s no secret that home service contractors have it tough. Between trying to deal with changing customer service preferences and rival businesses undercutting prices, it’s not easy to stay competitive.

As someone with decades of experience in the home services industry, working on both the manufacturer and the contractor sides, and as a founding team member of a tech company focused on customer experience, I’ve been an open ear to hundreds of contractors over the years. I know the problems you face and how to solve them. 

Bear with me while we play Freaky Friday for a minute. If roles were reversed, and I was in your shoes as a contractor, here’s my plan of attack. I’d compete on three fronts — customer convenience, technological integration, and recruitment. Let me break it down for you. 

Attack 1: Providing Radical Convenience 

Let’s face it—consumers aren’t living quite the same lives that they used to. With all of the new technology out there, consumer expectations have changed, and speed and convenience are the name of the game. Nowadays, contractors who make it easy to do business with customers will win the job. There are a few hard facts to keep in mind if you want to keep up with customers:

● Consumers are more concerned about the quality of their experience than the price. 

● Consumers are used to radical convenience from online commerce giants like Amazon and having the ability to track purchases and groceries and pizza to their front doors in real-time. 

● Consumers seek instant gratification and need you to be there when they need you. 

So, what do you need to do? 

 

Reinvent your customer service experience. 

Provide easy, convenient scheduling and contact options that allow your customers to communicate with your business how and when they want. This is crucial because, at the end of the day, if you don’t provide the experience that your customer wants, someone else will. It can be easy to think that when offering this level of customer experience, you may lose control. Yet, it is on the contrary! By configuring your website to qualify and schedule appointments, you’ll be able to mimic your top-performing CSR. 

Look for new ways to exceed expectations. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the adoption of digital technologies. More customers are more willing to turn to tech. Plus, many people are still reluctant to allow anyone in their homes due to COVID-19, so if you were able to have a third-party technician remotely view and diagnose issues through a virtual visit, it would be a game-changer. For example, there is no better time for remote service support than after hours. Contractors can use the services to screen out minor problems remotely. Homeowners save time, and on-call techs can stay at home. In other words, it’s a win-win! 

Attack 2: Leverage Technology to Reorganizing Roles 

Part of the reason you’re swamped is that you don’t have time to deal with the many responsibilities that come with running a contracting business. Meanwhile, you have CSRs sitting in call centers, unable to stay above water during the ebbs and flows of the seasons. They’re doing monotonous work and too much of it. 

If you can relieve some of that burden, you’ll be better equipped to serve your customers the right way. So, what do you need to do? 

Leverage technology to perform and eliminate monotonous tasks. Advances in technology have provided opportunities to automate some of your CSRs’ more monotonous tasks. Technology can be integrated to handle scheduling, booking, customer communications, and more. 

Reposition your existing team members.

With technology taking on some of their load, your existing CSRs can be moved into more thought-based roles, where they can prioritize higher-value interactions. This reorganization will give your employees more time to be proactive on the job and follow up on open quotes. 

And I promise this will be great for business and your team! A client of ours in Pennsylvania said:

“Wow, this is amazing! I don’t want to turn my existing employees into robots answering the phone, but into more managerial roles.”

They pushed more of their business through online channels, which empowered them to convert their CSR employees into channel managers to oversee appointment flows—a more fulfilling job and better use of skilled work. 

Attack 3: Reimagining Recruitment

Recruitment is consistently one of the biggest challenges in the home services industry. The fact of the matter is, there is too much work and not enough skilled labor.

The only way to reconcile that is to produce more skilled labor. So, how can you capture talent? 

Modernize your brand.

Nowadays, prospective employees favor businesses that are perceived positively. The best way to attract and capture this younger generation of technicians is to build a brand that personifies convenience, great customer experience, cutting-edge technology use, healthy social media presence, fulfilling career opportunities, and more. 

Show prospective employees what experience your company can provide. 

The new generation of talent wants to work for businesses where they can get behind the mission and be treated the way that they think they should. It’s no longer just about salary—it’s about the experience. 

 

Ray Clark is the Head of Sales at Schedule Engine.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Luck in Business

As a lifelong Chicago White Sox fan, I paced my living room floor on April 14th of this year, watching the 9th inning of the Cleveland Indians vs. the White Sox. The Sox were winning 8 – 0, so what’s the big deal? Why was I so nervous? It’s just the 9th inning of a regular-season game with an eight-run lead. Well, Carlos Rodón was pitching for the White Sox with a perfect game going into the 9th inning. With another three up and three down inning, Rodón would go into the record books as one of the few pitchers in baseball history who pitched a perfect game.

What made this even more exciting and special was that Rodón suffered from shoulder and elbow injuries, and in May of 2019, he underwent Tommy John surgery. He’s pitched just 42 innings the past two years and wasn’t even guaranteed a spot in the White Sox rotation this season.

I can’t do justice to the play-by-play, so if any baseball fans want to watch the exciting last inning, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxDQocUOvk8

Meanwhile, the first out was an exciting play at first where the batter was out by a fraction of an inch, only confirmed by slow-motion replay. The second Cleveland batter went to a 0 – 2 count, then Rodón hit him with a pitch! There goes the perfect game! Rodón then got the next two batters out and finished the game with a no-hitter.

Was this luck? Obviously not. Luck is winning the lottery. Pitching a perfect game or a no-hitter in the MLB takes years of practice, dedication, and challenges to meet along the way to realize that dream.

I would suggest that the same goes for us in the contracting business. Successful contractors don’t get there by luck. It’s their hard work, dedication, and passion. And after over 30 years of partnering with, training, and consulting with contractors, I have observed several common denominators that most successful contractors have.

 

  • They have a dream and realize it. These contractors have a vision of where they want to be, the type of company culture they want to build and realize it by taking action to make it happen.
  • They have challenges and meet them head-on. Just because you dream, it doesn’t mean that you will not run into challenges along the way. They don’t ignore these challenges and hope they go away. They meet challenges and focus on solutions so they can continue the journey of realizing their goals.
  • They act when opportunities are presented and benefit from them. When an opportunity presents itself to improve or expand the business, they turn that opportunity into a business reality. There isn’t any coulda, shoulda, woulda going on here.
  • They stand by their promises. When they enter into agreements or partnerships with staff, suppliers, or any business relationship, they always fulfill these promises. If circumstances arise that challenge the stipulations of the promise, successful contractors always discuss it openly with the parties involved to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.
  • They look at business as an adventure. It’s not just a job, rather an adventure that they dare to take. They know they will have struggles, yet they accept this, and it doesn’t deter them from their mission.
  • They are strategic. Successful contractors have a plan and execute it every day. They avoid knee-jerk reactions by having a business plan and make decisions based on set goals and a mission statement. Risk-taking comes into play here, but with full awareness of the likely consequences.
  • They are honest and ethical. Fair and honest decisions are made based on their plan. They treat their employees and customers like family by running their business with a code of ethics that all employees are aware of and are expected to follow.
  • They WOW their customers. They create a company culture where everybody is involved in servicing the customer to exceed all expectations. From the CSRs to the service call and from curb to collect, a first-class customer experience is delivered by all team members.
  • They don’t go it alone. Successful contractors surround themselves with people who are better at specific tasks and duties than they may be. They get the right people on the bus, in the right positions, motivate them, and hold them accountable.
  • They have Faith. And speaking of not going it alone, they have faith in themselves, their team, and God. They prayerfully seek guidance, give thanks, and utilize their God-given talents and tools for the service of others.

 

I’m sure you can add to this list based on your personal experience or from your observations of other successful people that you know. But I would venture to say that “Luck in Business” isn’t on your list either.

Meanwhile, back to baseball. In the movie A League of Their Own, manager Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, has that famous (or infamous) line, “There’s no crying in baseball!” Well, while there may be some trials, tribulations, and tears along the way, “There’s no luck in business!” Luck is an abstract concept that can become a physical reality with hard work, determination, passion, and a plan. You must make luck happen; it’s not a given.

Good Luck!

 

Steve Mores is the Vice President of Training and Sales at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Asking the Customer to Buy

Technicians are skilled experts and, as such, have to make recommendations to customers about what needs to be done to take care of issues. But that’s not where it stops. As an expert, the technician also has to help the customer figure out how to get it done. This means they have to recommend a solution and then ask the customer to do it. Many times, we see the tech asking the customer to buy too soon, too vaguely, or not at all. Some techs assume the customer knows what to buy and when to buy it. By asking too soon, too vaguely, or not at all, the tech risks getting into awkward territory with the customer, making it hard for them to recover. This continues the cycle with the next customer.

Here are three things to do to make sure you can ask for the order at the right time in the right way.

  1. Be Confident – Confidence comes from your knowledge, experience, and training. You should always be looking to increase your knowledge through reading and studying the technical processes of your trade. Also, study and master the customer communication skills you should be using every day. You’ll gain experience over time and can use the collective experience of other techs. Training helps you gain knowledge and practice of the skills you are learning. All of these things lead to a more confident attitude. Customers are more likely to buy from someone with confidence.
  2. Build Value – This point is about the timing of asking for the order. You must build value through your process. Raise awareness first, then stimulate. Use a color-coded checklist so you can be thorough. Educate the customer about the issues or products with evidence of why they need them. Always act ethically. Once you’ve stimulated the issue, the customer will have some level of desire to eliminate the issue. Once there is a desire to eliminate, offer solutions in the form of options. By doing these things in order, you build value. Only after you have built value should you ask the customer to buy.
  3. Be Direct – Too often, we see techs that are confident and build great value but fail to ask directly for the sale. It usually sounds like, “so what do you think of these options?” or something similar. You are not asking for the customer’s opinion about the options, you are asking them to buy one of them! Ask directly for what you want, like this, “I can do this work now. Should I get started?” or something similar. This is how you ask directly for what you want.

Asking for the order is the result of a great service call with a great process that allows you to show confidence and build value. After doing those things, be sure to ask the customer directly for what you want. Remember that you are the expert and would never ask the customer to do anything that isn’t in their best interest. Ask for the order knowing that you are an expert that can help. Don’t be afraid!

Chris Elmore is the Operations Director of Service Excellence Training. He leads the coaching team of SET and delivers front line coaching and consulting to clients.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!