Why Techs Don't Sell Part 2

October 10, 2003

Six Reasons Why Service Techs Don’t Sell More

By: Charlie Greer

What is the number one reason why techs don't sell more?

Feeling rushed.

This is actually the biggest impediment to increasing the dollar amount of your average service call that I’ve seen.

How many hours per day do you think a tech should work during the busy season? How many calls per day should a tech run during busy season?

The busy season is your prime opportunity to make money, but because contractors often overwork their employees during the busy season, we actually see a drop in the average dollar amount per service call.

I see this happening primarily in companies with a guaranteed same-day service policy. As a side note, I’ll add that I have only seen this policy in companies where the “policy maker” doesn’t run service calls.

If you won’t let your field service personnel go home until all calls are run (or until they drop), you are inadvertently shifting their focus from maximizing opportunities and providing the ultimate service experience on every call, where they will do everything that needs to be done on each call, to simply trying to get in and out. They’ll work as fast as they can, doing as little as possible on each call, so that they can get home in time to fall into bed and get up the next morning.

Contractors want as many customers as they can get and try to see as many people per day as they can see, even if that means giving the short shrift and the bum’s rush to the customers they’ve already got.

Say you’ve got two techs and, over the same period of time, each brings you $1,000 in billable service. The difference is that one tech ran three calls and the other ran ten calls. Which technician made the highest net profit for your company?

The one who ran three calls made you the highest net profit. Why is that? The one running the fewer calls:

  • Burned less gasoline.

  • Put fewer miles on your vehicle.

  • Had less unapplied or non-billable “windshield” time.

  • Will have less likelihood of a call back or non-billable warranty call.

  • Less overall liability.

Additionally, because that tech obviously spent more time with the customer and working on the equipment or property in question, more than likely was able to do a more thorough job, all of which will result in a more satisfied customer.

On the other hand, the person running the ten calls in the same day obviously had to be rushing, which means a much higher likelihood of accidents and mistakes, increasing your liabilities and expenses, consequently lowering your bottom line.

Instead of allowing the company to go into a panic mode during the busy times, by running as many calls per day and squeezing every little bit of work you can get out of your field service employees, why not counsel your dispatcher and service personnel on shifting the focus from running the maximum number of calls per day, to bringing in the maximum amount of profit per day? Make each call count.

Review your dispatching policies and procedures to determine if you are overworking your field personnel during your busy season. If you are, back off!

Don’t give your techs a list of eight or ten calls in the morning and tell them they can’t go home until they finish those calls. They won’t have the time to deliver the ultimate service experience. Instead, dispatch them one at a time. That way your people won’t get worried that they’ll never make it home that night and start doing rush work.

Some contractors say, “In my area, people won’t wait. We’ve got to get out there as soon as possible. If we don’t, we’ll lose them as customers. What about all the business I’m losing by having my service people spend more time on each call?”

Ever heard of the law of supply and demand? If you’ve really got more calls to run than you’ve got personnel to run them, why not consider a price increase?

A common response to that is, “If I raise my prices, I’ll lose half my customers!”

Right. And maybe that would be the best thing for you! Now, how can that be?

Check the article, "Lose Customers to Make $" for the answer.

Charlie Greer is a PHC service tech, a PHC salesman and president of HVAC Profit Boosters, Inc., a PHC sales training firm and home of the Sales Survival School. For more information or to sign up for his free newsletter, click here: www.hvacprofitboosters.com or call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822).

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