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The Nuts and Bolts of the Service Department

Ever wonder why some service departments operate like finely tuned pieces of machinery, where others fall slightly short of a Three Stooges episode?  The difference is not always as clear as we would like it to be. Imagine if, after investing a portion of your operating budget into a Preventative Maintenance program with a reputable contractor, you find yourself in need of emergency service to cure a problem.

Most initial service requests begin with a phone call to the service provider in question.  All successful companies need to have a live, friendly voice ready to address any type of situation.  Additionally, a crew of personnel must be ready to back each other up during the busy moments.

Knowing how to address each unfolding situation is crucial in making the customer feel comfortable in their time of need. The last we want to hear when trying to reach the person that will be able to solve the problem is “You’ll need to speak with Mr. or Mrs..  let me transfer you to their extension.”  Once the appropriate person is reached, how they respond to the next step of action is base d on the entire office staff and service department structure.

Having a service manager who is in sync with all his technicians is a must.  Having two service managers in sync with all of the service personnel is the ideal situation to be in, based upon size of the technical staff.  An east way to split the workload is to break down the coverage area into separate zones, with each one having their own elite force to make it all happen.  It’s ideal for each group to have its own dispatchers who are familiar with their customer base and equipment history and to have the right tools readily available to guide and lead their workforce.  Travel time is something we all try to minimize.

Communication among all groups is the most important aspect within the service department.  The industry has come a long way from the “radio dispatched days.” When a company takes care of its own communication challenges, you can rest assured it has worked on figuring out the best way to achieve the most effective means of communication between the office and the field personnel.

Certain situations can never be eliminated, however.  How we go about solving these situations makes the difference between those that build long-term working relationships and those that don’t. Today’s technology is continually making it easier to have all sorts of information readily available. A good service department with a properly trained staff should utilize some type of high tech tool to track and plan for future needs. Another benefit of high tech tooling is the ability to provide you with details and history within seconds of making your request.

We know that no service company is perfect.  We all have a certain percentage of callback service calls. It is our goal to minimize our customers’ exposure to double billings due to these types of calls and we have implemented measures to address these situations. Our unique “red tag” policy allows our staff to internally address these issues by flagging them at the time of the call and getting to the root of the problem.  Once all the details are reviewed by the service managers, it is determined whether the call should be invoiced or not, thus eliminating the need for the customer to call and request a credit for repetitive service that should not have been billed in the first place.

Next time you inquire about the type of service you can expect, it should be directly proportional to the quality, structure and training of the service department staff involved.

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