The press will be trumpeting advertisements for HUGE sales on Black Friday, which is on the day following Thanksgiving in case you were hiding under a rock. On that Friday they will dutifully take to the streets to show you the crowds that their very broadcasts have created.
Always happy to show the “real people” who don’t mind standing in line to buy a plasma tv for $500 as they rush through the doors to capture a deal like it was found money.
As lame and tiring as this recurring theme is, there are lessons that all plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical service companies can learn…
If you look closely.
So I wrote this piece and studied and watched Black Friday so you don’t have to. This is my service to you my readers.
Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to thank me later by buying my book as a gift for your service techs and sales people after they return to work on Cyber Monday the following week.
So without further ado, I present to you service contracting professionals…
The 3 Most Important Black Friday Service Lessons Learned
Enjoy and apply these lessons…
LESSON #1 – Consumers Use Technology For Research
Take a close look at that crowd on TV as they rampage through your local Walmart and what you will see is everybody pushing through the crowd with a cell phone in their hand. It is a fact of today’s life that you will be researched before you show up, during your call and after you leave. People always want to make sure they got value from what they purchase. What are those people doing while they are waiting in line? Shopping for a different store with a short line and better deals of course.
LESSON LEARNED: Always provide the best level of service and focus on that for your client.
Parts are commodities that can be bought and sold for a range of different prices. What is behind the differences in the prices that stores sell their wares for? The answer to that is your service. The service you provide starts from the time you answer the phone, book the call and show up, all the way through the final good byes at the door. It is your job as a service contracting pro to make sure that each critical touch point is a wow experience.
LESSON #2 – Merge Your Online & Offline Services
People search for service using the cell phones more than they ever have. About the only thing I don’t use a cell phone for is to make a phone call. More often than not I “Google” answers to every question I have in the entire universe. Has this made me smarter? Hardly, but it has made me more informed about the company I will choose to call in times of a crisis.
LESSON LEARNED: Make sure you are able to search your company and connect with a search and one or two clicks.
Make scheduling a service call or estimate as easy as ordering a book on Amazon. Getting people to call you is expensive enough without asking clients to jump through too many hoops to reach your staff.
LESSON #3 – Solve Customer Concerns Instantly
Almost as important as customers making a purchase on Black Friday is the feeling of comfort shoppers have knowing that if they are not happy, they can return their merchandise with no or very few questions asked. This may be the sole reason that anyone would ever still shop at a real store instead of buying online from retailers such as Amazon.com. Even though online purchases have gained tremendous momentum, the general public still feels more confident in a brick and mortar retailer because they can take things back if they don’t work or don’t fit.
LESSON LEARNED: When your client calls with a price concern solve it instantly by scheduling another visit from another team member to go over the quality of what was done and a the very least attempt to show the client the value in your services.
How many client concerns do you need to get before you realize that solutions should be mapped out BEFORE a client complains? Make a list of things your Customer Service Rep can do for clients when they complain about price/value, scheduling, workmanship, defect or attitude issues.
Hate it or love it, Black Friday is here to stay.
The financial wealth of so many retail businesses rely on it to finally move their finances into the “Black.”
Learn the above lessons and apply them to help your team succeed and finish the year strong.