Bare Bones Biz
You may want to grow your company but find yourself stuck at the three-truck plateau. Here’s one reason why small shops stay small…
In a small shop, the same person usually holds the Customer Service Representative (CSR) and Dispatcher positions. The person who takes the incoming phone call for service is the person responsible for making sure a technician responds to the call and provides the service.
Here’s what happens…
Becky the CSR/Dispatcher arrives bright and early and greets the team. She checks the answering service or voice mail and starts laying out the day’s work. It is no fun to have the techs hanging around the shop wondering what they are going to do for the day. So, Becky will do everything she can to drum up enough calls to get the team dispatched and out the door. Whew.
Then, the phone starts ring ring ringing. Becky, wearing her CSR hat, will book calls. She will be pleased that this afternoon and tomorrow morning will be busy enough to keep the team in the field and making money. Becky the Dispatcher will efficiently dispatch the calls as the first round of work is completed and the techs call in for their next jobs.
However, there will come a point when Becky the CSR starts creating problems for Becky the Dispatcher. Becky the CSR will be reluctant to keep taking calls if Becky the Dispatcher is running out of easy options for handling those calls. At this point, Becky the CSR will start shutting down her call taking efforts. It may be subconscious, but it will happen. Becky will start burning calls in for service.
She may not be aware that she is doing this. She may just be a little less helpful towards the end of a busy day than at the beginning of a day with a wide-open schedule
Dynamite Dispatching is essential for growing beyond three trucks. Dispatching is simply arranging for a tech to solve a problem. A great Dispatcher turns a booked service call into a completed service call…to the delight of the customer…without “blowing up” the technician. A great Dispatcher can call Mrs. Fernwicky for the third time to rearrange the tech’s arrival time without “blowing up” Mrs. Fernwicky. Sometimes a call will come in at 5:30 pm for a leaky water heater…just as the tech was planning to punch out for the day. A great Dispatcher allows the tech to let off a little steam, without taking it personally, so that the tech has a better chance of being sweet and polite when he arrives at the customer’s home. A Dynamite Dispatcher pairs up techs with in-need customers like the Social Director on a Singles-Only cruise.
If your CSR books just enough calls to keep the techs comfortably busy, you’ll miss out on a dynamic force that can cause your company to grow: More calls for service than you have techs to handle them. Make THAT happen…and you will start recruiting and hiring. You’ll be on your way to Truck #4.
Just being aware of this phenomenon can help you overcome it. Help Becky practice taking one “hat” off, as she puts the other “hat” on…and jumps between the two positions. Once you get to Trucks #5 or #6, you’ll want to split these duties between two people.
Ellen’s UN-conventional approach to business makes it easy to be more successful and profitable. Download free biz tips at www.ellenrohr.com, find her blog at HuffPost Small Business and connect @ellenrohr on twitter