While on a consulting trip to Broken Arrow, a town near Tulsa, Oklahoma, I would frequently eat at a restaurant called Charleston’s. As a result of excellent customer service and consistency, it was always busy with happy diners.
Guests to Charleston’s are always welcomed by a smiling host, who highlights the important information about the restaurant and guides diners to their tables.
Promptly, a smiling server arrives, eager to share daily specials from the menu – clearly practiced and with great professionalism. On my first visit, I was impressed and took notice.
On one occasion, after ordering a meal, I asked the server if I could speak to the manager. With an expression of fear on her face, she responded, “Is there something wrong?”
“Nothing,” I replied. “You’re doing a great job!”
The manager arrived at our table, attentive and ready to listen.
I explained how I was a consultant and had noticed how the team offered an excellent service, which remained consistent at all times.
“Your team is well trained, do they rehearse their scripts before each shift?”
Laughing, she answered, “Oh, yes. We have a stand-up meeting every afternoon. Each employee must prepare the script each day, as there are new specials to learn about.”
I then asked ‘‘Do you ever get too busy to hold the meeting?’’
Her response: “We’re always too busy to have a meeting, but if we miss a meeting the process suffers and service declines.”
How does this relate to the HVAC industry?
Unfortunately, the commitment to professionalism and consistent, polished service that I saw at Charleston’s restaurant is rare. I notice the motivation organizations have to change and execute The Service Call Blueprint on Amazon, however, the process to train, coach and mentor the technicians is often daunting. Moreover, groups of technicians remain stuck, sometimes because of a lack of leadership, or even, a lack of desire and commitment.
Leadership has the responsibility to put systems in place to support development and ensure behavioral change. Without these systems in place, technicians will not grow.
This problem is easy to solve.
Companies hire me to improve the culture, and part of this improvement involves implementing stand-up meetings. However, too often, companies don’t follow through, claiming they’re too busy. Without these meetings in place, the quality of service slips. Here, the responsibility lies with the manager, teams will not progress if the non-urgent processes aren’t upheld.
The stand-up meetings should take place every morning. Period.
As part of my consultancy work, I hold a virtual ride-along (VRA).
VRAs resemble the nature of a ride-along, but I listen in by phone and record the greeting and client presentation.
Recently, did virtual ride alongs with three technicians to listen, coach and provide accountability to the team. These technicians were provided with a script and coaching from me, yet none of the technicians had learned the script or knew what to say.
As far as I was concerned, this demonstrated great disrespect to the owner and myself. Owners make a great investment when they hire me to coach their teams. However, since I’ve returned from my trip, there have been zero stand-up meetings as I had instructed. This is clearly a management issue.
Who will learn and practice a script at home, if no one holds them accountable at the office? The answer: Very few – unless super motivated.
Time and time again, I wonder why companies invest in my services and then do not follow through with the procedures I’ve trained the staff to follow.
Nothing changes unless staff take action and systems for accountability are put in place to verify the behavioral change.
Many technicians attend class and remain passive, waiting for me to go away and for the boss to lose interest. This happens when the management is not committed. I’m often seen as the next project – and like projects before – I too will disappear and then become forgotten with time. Ultimately, technicians want to be left alone.
Investing in my services is only the first step in the process towards executing growth and change. Hoping growth and change will occur by simply hiring me, is not enough. A system of accountability must exist to ensure that behavior happens; only those with a deep desire and commitment will take the initiative without these systems. The stand-up meeting is part of this system.
Unless the owner is committed, technicians will not be committed nor will they grow and change. Actions and words from the top, demonstrate a stronger commitment to the individual development of technicians.
We’re going to give this is try, is not strong enough. Instead, We’re going to do this demonstrates greater commitment and drive from the top.
Decide and decree a thing and it will be established for you and light will shine on your way, Job 22:28.
In order to achieve consistency, growth, and change in the culture; Decide and decree the following.
We’re going to show options for every solution.
We’re going to execute the script.
We’re going to provide consistent solutions and experience to clients. This is who we are now.
I always welcome feedback and comments.