Without qualifying each service call, businesses waste valuable resources and miss opportunities for growth. To successfully qualify and maximize each call, the way we think must change – a process that involves time and dedication.
Consider profit before making any dispatch decisions, after all the goal of any business is to turn a profit while providing quality solutions to customer’s problems. Therefore, a balance between revenue potential and opportunity cost must be established by the dispatcher.
In my experience, revenue suffers when dispatch decisions are made based on fairness, or technician’s schedules reflect the order in which the calls come in.
Businesses cannot produce profits without serving customers – they go hand-in-hand. To achieve a delicate balance, establish boundaries with the customer. We attain boundaries by qualifying each call and researching opportunities before we send a technician to any job.
Acknowledge that we do not have to run every call.
During a ride along with a technician in Atlanta, we received a dispatch call to fulfill a service agreement an hour and a half drive away; well outside the core business area. When calls like this come in, dispatch needs to investigate further and assess the potential.
After we arrived at the property, we realized it was a low opportunity call.
Previously, the company I was working with had already given an estimate on a new system. However, the customer had not requested any further services or products. Instead, the customer had purchased a new furnace from a big box store, which was then installed by a competitor.
As the call wasn’t qualified sufficiently, we were now left to explain to the customer that work on systems with a warranty from another company isn’t advisable. Fortunately, the customer understood. Time is money, and wasting half of the day on this call could have been avoided.
During a virtual ride along, I listen to technicians via the phone to ensure they’re executing The Service Call Blueprint. From experience, I always notice an increase in junk calls, when the weather turns extreme. A recent call – when temperatures plummeted in Chicago – stands out.
Technician: Hi Mr. Jones, I’m Roger. Thanks for having us out. How can I help you today?
Mr. Jones: Well there may not be anything wrong, but because of my age, my mind sometimes plays tricks on me …
In this case, the technician found nothing faulty with the system. Moreover, the customer was charged a dispatch fee and received very little value for money.
Prioritization and qualification are essential here. I am not saying that we shouldn’t run these calls; however, we blocked the opportunity for more profitable work.
We understand the customer’s doubts and worry about the system, but by offering customers a service agreement, charging needless service fees can be avoided.
In order for dispatchers to achieve a mindset where they serve customers and search for the golden calls, it takes a new perspective and a change in the way of thinking. Furthermore, it requires dedication and patience to research and qualify calls from each customer.
Pay attention to new customers – or prospects – businesses don’t need to run every call if customers are hard-to-please, and low spending contacts.
Unprofitable customers block opportunity from high paying and loyal clients.
Pushback from new customers on service fees is a warning signal. During peak times, think twice about accepting these calls when the board is full.
Let’s look at an example of these warning signs in a conversation between a technician and new customer:
Technician: Hi Mr. Jones. I’m Roger. Thanks for having us out. How can I help you?
Mr. Jones: My heating is not working as it should be.
Technician: Okay just to confirm, did the office tell you about the service fee of $79?
Mr. Jones: Oh yeah. She said that you might be able to fix it for that.
Warning sign: The new customer is looking for something for nothing. During a call with dispatch, this could have been qualified. In this case, the company was at its peak, and again, it blocked opportunity. Take these calls only during quiet periods, or use them as a training opportunity.
In the case of this customer, several hundred dollars of repairs were required to fix the system, although the customer had no interest in listening to our service options. Label these customers as low priority for the next time they call seeking a solution.
What is the bottom line?
Book every call, but don’t dispatch them all. Carefully research and qualify each call to uncover greater opportunities – much like panning for gold – it requires patience and dedication.