During the 60’s and 70’s McDonald’s introduced a new level of customer service that has forever changed what we as consumers perceive as being normal for the time we will wait for service. Either in a line-up or on a phone call we are now a changed society when it comes to our patience level when asked to wait.
The wave of internet use has pushed us even further into an “I need to have it now” lifestyle where the availability of information can be almost instantaneous. Business owners unfortunately are now left with the challenge to provide professional services for customers that are now programmed with a reduced level of patience. How often can you walk into a doctor’s office (with an appointment) and not have to wait far past your scheduled time?
It is now common practice for airlines and some medical service providers to actually overbook appointments to “cover” for cancellations that they have tracked as being an expected number based on previous data. You can get a Big Mac in 60 seconds or less, and order a Pizza that will be free if it’s not there in an hour. So why should a so called service company take so much longer when “I need to have it now”!
There are many famous quotes that can remind us of how we should look at ourselves for patience when our expectations boil over.
- “Good things come to those who wait”
- Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.
- “The one who loves waits”
- Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.
Being an owner of a heating and air conditioning business, I will use a typical example of what can happen on a very busy day at two very different HVAC service companies in Winnipeg.
Takes in all the calls it can take. Gives his technicians 8 service calls for the day that need to get done however long it takes. Teck rushes through his calls so that he can get home at a decent time.
By rushing through the calls, mistakes are made:
- Forgets one of his tools and will have to go back
- Fixes the problem but does not determine the underlying reason for failure. ”Cause and Effect”
- Does not spend a few minutes to be personable.
- Fails to fully explain his findings to the customer
- Makes a temporary repair because he does not have time to run to the supplier for parts and will have to come back adding further inconvenience to the customer
- Does not spend a few extra minutes to provide a complimentary assessment of other components that are visibly or noisily showing signs of wear or failure.
- Fails to show value for his services and rushes off.
- Leaves a mess behind. He was too hurried to take off his shoes and clean up.
- He is not licensed or insured and becomes a liability risk to you.
- His employer keeps poor records and will not likely remember any details when they call back.
- Their service people are either not paid overtime or are just not set up to provide complete after hours service.
Previews its calls and dispatches the most suitable technician for the job. Dispatch includes any customer history and details when available to the tech to allow him to be more prepared with information and parts to make for a speedy and successful job. Driving time is minimized by keeping his calls in the same quarter of the city.
The technician is given 4 or 5 calls where the first call has a guaranteed arrival time and the latter is possibly passed on to another employee if the day is running late. (Teamwork)
- Technician has the parts in the truck and completes the work.
- Other problems are noticed and pointed out so the repairs can be completed sooner than later to avoid further costs and inconvenience. Secondary repairs are offered with substantial savings since we are already there.
- Service is provided in a friendly way with no pressure for time since options and prices are offered before any repairs are completed.
- Payment options and repair credits are offered if equipment replacement becomes a more sensible long term solution.
- All information is filed for future reference to make for a complete customer service experience.
Be careful not to compromise what you want most for what you want now. -Zig Ziglar