By Dianna Worthington
Piping up when you should be piping down is hard to do when you have the answer! The plain truth is, most customers need to be led to the answer rather than have it handed to them the moment you walk in the door. Step 8 of the 14 steps in the Mr. Rooter® plumbing system is “Take Control.” This step is critical in getting the customer talking. Taking control does not mean monopolizing the conversation. It simply means take control of where the conversation is going by asking the right questions.
Knowing the answer doesn’t mean you should give it right away, and having all the answers doesn’t mean you should give them all away.
Yes, you have the answers to fix their plumbing problem, but asking the right questions and allowing the customer to come to the right conclusion, as you expertly guide them, will help you close the deal. Bottom line: Don’t forget to stop talking!
The key to using this strategy is knowing when to be quiet and just listen. Ask the question, make the recommendation and then stop talking. Be quiet, and give the customer a chance to answer. They may need time to think. Maintain comfortable eye contact, adopt a relaxed posture and wait. One of the keys to being liked and gaining trust is to listen more than you talk. Listening is often one of the hardest things to do when you are trying to close a deal — especially if the silence stretches for more than a few seconds. Learn to embrace the silence, and use it as an opportunity to think about what you should do or say next. If you need to make a statement, always follow it with a question in order to keep the conversation moving in the right direction. (Examples: “Do you agree?” “Does that make sense?” or “Would you like me to get started right away?”)
Asking the customer the right questions to lead them to the answer will help them make a decision.
If you want to get back to the basics in our industry, you must remember we offer a service and offering a service involves a transaction. If you can’t understand the basic, simple process of selling the job, your closing average is going to suffer. For Mr. Rooter, back to the basics means expertly using our 14 Steps and the “tech-knowledge” our front line has in order to interact with the customer successfully. Remember, taking control is not just about having the right questions and the right answers. It’s also about knowing when to stop talking. A technician may have the knowledge and experience, but must acquire the wisdom and skills to understand the art of controlling the conversation and allowing the customer the opportunity to help close the deal.
To learn more about Mr. Rooter business systems and how a franchise may be able to take your business to the next level through established business practices, visit www.MrRooterFranchise.com or call 1 (866) 696-1504.
The heat is on and summer is almost here, and managing the flood of service calls for air condition repair can be as extreme as the heat. To make the most of the cooling season, follow these tips from Aire Serv® Franchise Consultant Tommy Dutton to help keep your business running smoothly, your customers happy and your technicians productive and safe.
“It seems like [the customers] all call on the same day or in the same week, and if an owner hasn’t done their job… it’s a real challenge from day one,” Tommy said.
Tommy recommends recruiting technicians year-round. This ensures you will always have someone you can call when you’re looking to hire. Don’t wait until the last minute to hire someone for the busy season; good technicians will have already found a job by then. Rather, change your approach to hiring.
“What owners really need to be doing is recruiting year-round. You need to have a file of people you’ve talked to,” Tommy said. “Have that reserved list of people ready to go, that helps a lot.”
During the slow season reach out to those technicians you’ve had your eye on, invite them to your shop to have a conversation about your business and to explore what you have to offer each other. When the time is right, you will feel comfortable calling that person in for a job interview. This keeps you in control of the hiring process.
You may have your trucks cleaned and stocked, and inventory ready to go in the warehouse, but without customers, it’s not going to make a difference. The customer service representative is one of the most important members on your team during the busy season.
“Even though the owner may have done a great job in getting the technicians out, if you don’t have the right people answering the phones you’re going to lose business before you even have the chance to get into the customer’s home,” Tommy said.
Make certain that your call center is well staffed and representatives are trained to handle a large volume of calls. The customer service representative is the face of your company.
Additionally, avoid the temptation to schedule too many jobs during the busy months. The added business may end up costing you more in staff resources in the long run.
“Probably the biggest thing for the technician and the owner is to fight the temptation to rush through jobs,” said Tommy.
Technicians should focus on quality over quantity. Tommy recommends allowing 4-5 calls per day per technician. This helps ensure the job is done right the first time, increases the quality of your customers’ experiences, and increases the likelihood that you will have a repeat customer. Businesses that make mistakes due to overbooking and rushed jobs damage their reputation with current and future customers.
In addition to your customers, keep your team members in mind during the busy season.
“When it gets really hot most air conditioning company’s can easily work 24/7 and not stop until they drop, so to speak. You’ve got to be conscious of people’s time and their need to rest and recuperate,” said Tommy.
Put the health and well being of your employees first because happy employees make happy customers.
With a little bit of foresight and planning, your business will make it through the summer busy season smoothly.
Aire Serv employs innovative and established methods to build a strong foundation for a successful HVAC business. Those interested in learning more about Aire Serv’s business systems should visit www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com or call 1 (866) 696-1504.
You’re stuck. It’s your anniversary and you can’t figure out where to take your wife for dinner—she loves Italian food. You explain the predicament to your friend George; he has just the place for you. “Go to Bari’s! My wife and I eat there regularly and it is great,” he says.You might look at other options, but in the end, you take George’s suggestion because you trust his judgment.
In the case above, George is the type of customer every business wants—he not only uses the product and/or service, but he also recommends it to others, like you, who then use the product/service themselves.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) attempts to quantify how successful businesses are at producing customers like George. Businesses want to know this information because the Net Promoter Score is based on the principle that high customer satisfaction leads to referrals and growth.
Here’s how it works.
There are three types of customers: promoters, passives and detractors.
The more customer promoters you have, the more likely you’ll be to grow your business and outpace the competition.
NPS data is derived from customer satisfaction surveys including a form of the question “How likely are you to recommend this product or service to friends, family or coworkers?” The question provides respondents with a scale of responses, for example, a rating of 0-10. Those who answer the “likelihood to recommend” question with a 9-10 are promoters, 7-8 are passives, and 0-6 are detractors (they actively tell people not to use the product/service). Detractors are subtracted from promoters to provide the estimate of how many more promoters than detractors the organization has. Obviously, a company wants net promoters.
NPS can be as low as −100% (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100% (everybody is a promoter). An NPS that is positive (i.e., higher than zero) is considered to be good, and an NPS of +50% is excellent.
Measuring customer satisfaction in the form of an NPS score is not a new concept. Nearly a decade ago, Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix developed the program, and Reichheld introduced it in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article “One Number You Need to Grow”. Today companies including Philips, GE, Apple Retail, American Express, BearingPoint and Intuit, to name only a few, have adopted a net promoter approach.
Nonetheless, the NPS principle is not without criticism. Some argue that a customer’s likelihood to recommend does not accurately describe actual customer loyalty behavior. For example, a customer may recommend shopping at Home Depot, while also being a recommender and shopper of Lowe’s. In fact, that customer may shop at Lowe’s more and also recommend Home Depot. Others criticize the NPS as a predictor of company growth, citing a lack of scientific evidence to support the “likelihood to recommend” question as a better predictor of business growth compared to other customer-loyalty questions.
In 2008, The Dwyer Group® adopted a customer survey strategy called Operation Synergy™, which is based on the NPS principle. It was a way for the company and its franchisees to become more focused on improving services for its customers. In addition to helping franchisees strategize their approach, The Dwyer Group has put NPS information to work in other ways to benefit franchisees.
First, the customer survey is also used as a marketing tool. For example, if a customer rates highly on likelihood to recommend for Mr. Rooter®, The Dwyer Group will use the opportunity to suggest one of its seven sister brands for other home services, such as Aire Serv® for HVAC needs. Secondly, The Dwyer Group uses its NPS is an asset in developing system accounts for franchisees (system accounts allow locally owned and operated The Dwyer Group brands to work with national companies at their local stores). A positive NPS signals to businesses that the franchise is consistent, trustworthy, and has loyal customers. This makes the franchise a good bet for providing excellent service when compared to other competitors who do not measure customer loyalty.
Ready to start measuring your Net Promoter Score and outpace the competition? You can learn more about The Dwyer Group’s Operation Synergy and integrated business systems for the plumbing, HVAC, restoration, landscaping, glass repair, appliance repair and electrical service industries by calling 1 (866) 696-1504.