Necessity is the Mother of _____
I have modified this old saying to: Necessity is the Mother of Really Bad Ideas - not Invention. Sometimes the pressure of urgency causes paralysis of the pre-frontal cortex and decisions are frozen. Think about it. When something is really, really, really needed and a decision must be made, right now, stress, chaos, and the feeling of overwhelming pressure, whether real or imagined, can cause paralysis or knee jerk reactions. Then, what happens?
Does rational thinking or “to hell with consequences” thinking prevail? As author, psychologist Dr. Denis Waitley said, “We are consistently moving in the direction of our constantly dominant thought.” So a decision made under duress will be expedient and quick, but not necessarily the best nor the right decision.
When “bumps in the road” occur, and it is guaranteed that they will, have a pre-determined recovery plan as part of the obstacle’s section of the company’s Annual Business Plan. The obstacle’s section of a business plan defines a course of action for those stumbling blocks that could side-track the company plan. The obstacle’s section lays out an immediate course of action to follow.
SITUATION: Peak season is just around the corner and field staff is needed now. A technician walks in the door. He says that he is unappreciated and unhappy where he currently works. He just wants a good company…a career not just a job. Certainly, all the right words
What a deal? An ideal candidate so let’s hire right now…problem solved!! The Happy Dance begins. You hand the new employee the keys, the truck, and a uniform and say,”Go get ‘em Tiger.” Problem solved. So what was the big deal? Well, let’s take a look.
Then the questions begin to arise. Oh, so many questions….and the crying….so much crying…and the pain…so much pain. Now action has to be taken. Too bad a process did not exist and was not followed prior to address this circumstance.
Before hiring any employee, you must know:
Work history: List of previous places of employment. What do you think of the candidate’s brand?
Skill sets: What can this person really do? What is her knowledge level in mechanical, electrical, and air flow? Does he have any NATE certificates?
Letters of Recommendations: What do others think about this employee?
Company culture: Can this person excel in your environment? Is this a team player? Will this person assist others on the journey of self-development?
Style indicators, position success: Is the attitude right for customer service and presenting options to the customer?
On-Boarding: Did we do it correctly?
Back ground check: Are there driving, criminal, drug issues? Is this really an “A” Team player?
Terms of employment: Are all the demands and work guidelines fully understood and agreed?
And then finally: Was the company hiring process followed?
The best advice is the old adage, “Be slow to hire and fast to fire” for the most favorable outcome. Know the product, in this case, the person. The company should have a defined protocol and precisely follow it.
SITUATION: It is the shoulder season, things are slowing down, and the phone is not ringing. What do we do? What is the recovery process? What can we do that won’t drive operating costs into outer space? Every business plan should incorporate the emergency marketing campaign for slow times. This is pre-planned and ready to launch immediately not two weeks from now.
- Blog about benefits of IAQ or tankless water heaters with an offer and an end date for the offer;
- E-mail last season’s service bill with an offer to apply the cost of the repair to a new system;
- Walk neighborhood with door hanger special;
- CSR outbound call to customers with older, out of warranty systems with offer;
- Start maintenance agreement checks and place door hangers with special on surrounding houses;
- Everyone in company hands out business cards with a deal printed on back;
- And park idle vehicle in high traffic area parking lot.
SITUATION: The team seems to be running out of “gas,” people are short with each other, some are not on time for work, mistakes are being made, and a negative cloud of desperation is building. You can hide in an office and hope it blows over or take action. You can:
- Paint a wall a new color – post employee comments highlighting a personal promise to customers;
- Create a “Wall of Fame” for employees;
- Get posters and images of motivation;
- Say “Thank you” to everyone;
- Have a party or a cookout;
- Play games and divide into teams and cheer the teams on;
- Clean trucks, office areas, and parking lot so the work place is spic-n-span;
- Get new uniforms;
- Find new technologies;
- Sing a song or write a jingle to be used at all company meetings;
- Create a new commercial;
- Write a company Culture Book;
- Assemble an employee driven video resume’ to be put on website;
- Sponsor a kid’s activity, perhaps a coloring contest for employee kids;
- And spotlight 5-Star customer reviews.
A company needs defined processes and an Annual Business Plan. The Annual Business Plan is replete with contingencies to stay out of the “ditch” and on the profitability highway. With these examples, you can navigate the bumps in the road you weren’t expecting. Expect the unexpected and you will always be prepared.
Visit ServiceRoundtable.com for for more information on working through the bumps in the road.