Some of the best lessons in business come from mistakes made, not successes. That’s why I love making a study of the errors of service companies. If you know what is not working, you will learn what can work.
These are the 5 characteristics of weak service companies. Each of these flaws will weaken a company. Combined flaws can cripple a business or kill it.
1: Paying for something other than performance.
Performance is the production of a desired act, at a certain standard.
For instance, The Rolling Stones get paid for performing a concert. The concert is the act. Creating happy fans that are eager to cheer and sing along is the standard. The Stones do not fail at their performances. That my friends, is why they get paid so well.
The Rolling Stones also get paid more money for selling more seats and merchandise. RELATED: Why You Should Tell Your Clients You Are On Performance Pay
I’m not a massive fan of the Stones for their music. Yet, they inspire me for their longevity and ability to produce.
The Stones, like all great bands, have master the art of Performance Pay.
You need to create a system that rewards your team for a great performance. As your service tech earns more money for the company, he should earn more as well. RELATED: Download Your KRA Form Here
2: Ending service at 5 pm.
I have a dear friend that owns a small Heating and Cooling Service Company. They provide terrific service, yet they don’t provide it often enough.
The problem is that they end service at 5, and don’t provide service on Saturday or Sunday. When your air conditioner goes out, you don’t want to wait for service.
One of the fastest ways to lose clients and to weaken your company is to only provide service Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm.
3: Applying factory training to communication skills.
Seth Godin describes modern education as “education for the factory.” It was designed to graduate students directly into an assembly line job.
Factory training is a step-by-step process with no room for a personal approach.
A factory education is fine if you are standing in front of a mechanical station all day. But service techs work with humans. Service techs are human.
Modern training should be built around principles of human interaction.
PRESS PLAY is a principled based system that allows the student to be a human, and a technician.
Here’s what a real hvac service tech has to say about the subject
I just went through the sales class and I was blown away. The D.I.S.C. profile is an unfair advantage when talking to customers about a service. There is no script, no steps you must take. And most of all, its not a pushy sales class. This class is for someone, or anyone, looking to better themselves as a service industry professional. It’s Priceless. Jason Harmon. Comfort Air – Savannah GA
Treating people like part of an assembly line is one mark of a weak service company.
4: Not earning a sizable profit.
Profit is what a company gets to put in the bank after all expenses are paid.
Can we all agree that a company must be profitable? (If you said “no,” then quit reading now. You are a liberal hippie and I can’t help you.)
Any company that takes the responsibility of serving a community needs to earn 15% to 25% profit margins. Failing to earn a reasonable profit margin limits your ability to take risk and grow.
A service company that is not consistently growing and profiting will die.
5: Staying too small.
I love lean companies. Staying lean allows you to move fast and keep overhead low. This is very good for new businesses.
You should always strive for lean. Yet, you must be able to serve your clients while you are lean.
Plumbing and electrical service companies have an easier time of staying lean while they grow. HVAC companies are not so lucky.
HVAC service companies have to contend with the ups and downs of the heating and cooling seasons. If you are too small, you won’t have installers.
If you don’t have installers, you will have to send your service techs on installs.
When you send your service techs on installs, you miss service calls.
If you are a jack of all trades, you are a master of none, and your service company is weak. Many service companies get stuck in this trap and never grow past a 3 man operation.
You can not stay small, if you want to be strong.
Here’s a tip: Hire A Sub-Contracted Install Crew while you grow your business. Make it a goal to grow your service company to a point where it can employ it’s first full time install crew.
Look into your company. Do you have any of these 5 weakness? One of the best things you can do is be aware of the problem. Once you are aware, you can begin to change the weaknesses into strengths.