03 Business Tips Round-Up Part 2

April 15, 2004

Excerpted from the e-PHC Profit Report newsletter.
Jim Olsztynski, Editor-Publisher

Handling Complaints Tip
When faced with a complaining customer, take notes while talking with that customer. This accomplishes several things:
A. It shows the customer you are taking the complaint seriously.
B. It documents what's being said for future reference.
C. It gives you time to think and formulate a response.

Financial Tip #1
Perhaps the most effective way for a service firm to boost its bottom line is to DECREASE the number of calls per day per service tech, provided of course that revenues generated per call rises correspondingly. Top performing PHC service techs average as few as 2-3 calls per day. This of course requires some sales training, along with supervision to assure that techs are not loading people up with stuff they don’t need.

Financial Tip #2
Probably nine out of 10 contractors use their own crews when they have work that needs to be done at their own home or that of close friends and relatives. We think that’s a waste of resources. If you’re billing your services correctly, it’s probably costing you more to use your own people than to hire one of the better going rate contractors in town.

Besides, hiring others is a good way to spy on the competition. Give some of the better ones a call and see what they’re doing that would be worth copying. You might also discover some practices that you do better, and which can be touted as a competitive edge.

Workflow Tip
So, if you’re not already doing it, be sure your service technicians receive their first mornings call the afternoon before. Ideally, it should be a location somewhere in the vicinity of the technicians home or on the way to the office (if coming in). This saves a heck of a lot of time. It also assumes that your technicians take their vehicles home with them at night, which is a popular practice.

If you do this, be sure to call the customer the previous afternoon to notify him/her of the technicians arrival first thing in the morning.

Phone Message Tip
I’ve noticed that I have better luck getting my phone messages returned when I specify the purpose of my call and the information that I’m seeking, if applicable. A typical call from me might go something like this: This is Jim Olsztynski, and I’m just calling to find out (something or other). If I’m not in when you call back, simply leave the information on my voice mail.

What this does is inform the busy party I’m calling that s/he needs not fear getting bogged own in a long conversation. Plus, it saves both of us the trouble of further callbacks in the game of telephone tag.

Handling Prized Employees Tip
When work piles up and tough problems arise, you turn to your best employees to solve them. If you have any sense at all, these top-notch employees will be rewarded with better pay and perks than run-of-the-mill workers.

But don't take them for granted in the praise department. It's easy to fall into a trap of high expectations. You expect them to perform well, and figure since you're compensating them higher than the norm, that's your way of saying thanks. But people crave recognition as much as pay and perks. "Attaboys" or a pat on the back go a long way toward making people want to go the extra mile for their employer.

Hiring Tip
The best businesses are continuously in a recruiting mode. Don't let the "no openings" excuse prevent you from offering a job to a terrific candidate you meet by accident, or who walks in looking for work. If they're outstanding in your eyes, find a place for them in your company. They'll pay dividends.

Excerpted from the e-PHC Profit Report newsletter
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Jim Olsztynski

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