“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” –Roger Staubach
In the strong consumer society that we live in today, we have become accustom to receiving good or at least adequate service. However, average service rarely gets talked about rather it is the service on the opposing extremes of the spectrum that get shared (“the excellent” and “the horrible”). It is also important to take into consideration that we live in a society where communication travels at lightening speed. So those providing only average service can’t take advantage of free visibility provided by consumers because no one is talking about them. Those with horrible service had better take cover because they are most assuredly going to receive intensely negative hype. But those with excellent and outstanding service will reap the great reward of free, positive advertisement and what better mouthpiece than completely satisfied clients.
From the moment that a customer calls your independent contracting company and speaks with a CSR they are forming an impression of your service. When the customer is met face-to-face with your service technician or sales technician then more concrete opinions are formed. That is why it is so important to teach every team member in your HVAC, electrical or plumbing service company how to “go the extra mile.” When a company goes above and beyond what the customer sees as good service, that is when a great relationship can be built and there is a high potential for setting leads, making a sale, securing a scheduled service plan, or receiving a referral. “Going the extra mile” requires several teachable skills for every branch of the company:
-Listening Skills– A truly great technician will be able to read into what a client is “saying” without needing them to directly say it. This comes through reading body language as well as listening for verbal ques and repetitions that can indirectly make their needs known. Listening skills can also be direct. Some clients with bolder personality types will leave no room for interpretation. They will state exactly what they want. Knowing how to take note of these directly stated needs and wants is just as important as “listening” to a client’s nonverbal ques. When a customer feels that they are truly listened to and not talked at during the service or sales presentation then great service is in the making.
-Questioning Skills– Knowing the right questions to ask is a great deal of the battle when taking service above and beyond. When a technician knows the right questions to ask then they automatically reduce objections, guide the presentation without being forceful, meet client needs and desires, as well as build the value of the company and products. When the right questions are used effectively then it makes everything easier and more enjoyable during the visit for both the customer and the technician.
-Meeting Direct and Indirect Needs– Being capable of meeting both direct and indirect types of needs comes with listening skills but at times these types of needs may speak for themselves such as; replacing thermostat batteries, replacing a light bulb in high ceiling fan, or offering to change a toilet flapper. While it is very important to first meet the client’s needs that they directly called in about, it also builds value to tack on extra services that meet their indirect needs. Meeting indirect needs make clients feel that your company provides excellent care and attention as well as provides spectacular service.
-Informing– When presenting, most clients want to understand the issues that you are covering in a more simplistic or general manner but they don’t want to feel that you think they don’t know anything about the topic. So when giving the service or sales presentation it is important to inform the customer of the problem and be sure that it has been explained sufficiently. It is also important to completely inform the client of potential hazards and services that can resolve the issues. Customers want to be educated on the issues at hand but it is vital for technicians to inform in a humble and respectful manner.
Providing amazing service is an important aspect for all service companies. Ensure that everyone in your company is offering outstanding service by evaluating and training on listening skills, questioning skills and techniques, meeting client needs, and the skills to humbly and properly inform clients. Follow our weekly post over the next two weeks as we delineate more details about each of these four areas that can help take your company above and beyond the service standard.
-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training.
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