What is finally going to fix things at your company? 

Well, I’m going to start with what won’t fix things at your company. 

Putting out a daily fire without ever focusing on fire prevention is just wrong. That’s because that same fire is bound to break out again tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow until the day you finally lock the front door of your company and say, “Goodbye!”

What is going to fix things?

Becoming proactive about running your company instead of letting the company run you. That starts with putting the right tools in place to make running your company day-to-day in a way that’s more sane, rather than insane. The biggest and best tool is to document what it takes to run your company without you having to ride to the rescue from sun up to sundown day-after-day.

That’s why I’m advocating you dedicate a portion of your week — no matter how crazy that week is — to creating a series of documents designed to keep fires from starting in the first place and to keep little fires from ever becoming big uncontrollable fires that threaten everyone.


Familiar fires

Do any of these sound familiar? 

  1. Your CSRs don’t capture the right information from the caller. Then, they don’t enter the call correctly in whatever software (or, heaven forbid, a whiteboard). They don’t greet customers on the phone in a friendly way (like a happy hostess in a restaurant), explain how you do business and they don’t build the sales momentum by stressing how life will get so much better when the great tech gets to their door. This can get even worse if they’re quoting prices over the phone. They don’t see the job, so they cannot possibly know what’s involved. These are just a few of the ways CSRs who “just wing it” blow up call conversions and the way calls get run.
  2. Your Dispatchers aren’t maximizing the billable hours you have to sell each day. Dispatchers have to maximize billable hours all through the day and week. They must also prioritize the dispatch schedule to make sure the following three things happen by 2 p.m. each day:

    a. The right customers are going to continue to love us;
    b. The majority of customers are still going to like us, at the very least; and
    c. For those customers who are going to be disappointed and not going to like us so much, what are your dispatchers going to do about that right now?

    At many shops, there’s a big handicap if the dispatchers (aka DSRs) are also the CSRs. That’s because a CSR that is also a Dispatcher will consciously or unconsciously repel calls because they’re always looking at the dispatch board. Great CSRs are trained to screen the call, book the call and don’t stop until senior management tells them to do so.

    This is why the smart contractors look to separate the roles of CSR from dispatcher as soon as possible, and they cross train each to provide depth at each position. Remember, the CSR role can also set fires if they don’t get all the necessary information required to the dispatcher. If that happens, they will sabotage the tech who won’t have all the correct information required to run the call the right way.
  3. Techs need to run calls in a way that maximizes sales, which is the result of good communication between the CSR and DSR. Techs then need to run calls well operationally — meaning not leaving a mess for the customer to cleanup and fixing the reason they were called in a consistent way that minimizes callbacks. 

    Finally, the tech needs to get all the right information back to the dispatchers to properly close the loop on what I call the Triangle of Communication between CSR, dispatcher and tech.


The solution

So, what will finally address this the right way?  The answer is operating manuals. That’s because it’s the only:

  1. Way to finally fix the holes in your staff’s knowledge at all the key positions;
  2. Way to find and fix the holes in the newly hired staff’s knowledge. You know, the people in the interview who said they could do everything. That is, until you hired them and found out the truth; and
  3. Way to hire willing people and provide them the skills they need to be successful instead of always trying to rewire skilled people with behavioral issues.

Here are three more things I got at my company by creating operating manuals:

  1. I was able to reduce callbacks that were robbing us of profits, angering our customers and keeping us from more sales;
  2. I was able to go on vacation, because my company staff was finally trained, empowered and capable of handling the day-to-day work required; and
  3. I was able to create new techs instead of just hiring tired ones from the industry who would tell me what they would and wouldn’t do. All of this led to doing more work for more money.

So quit procrastinating! Make time to work on your operating manuals and get your life back!