No is Not an Option!

By: Joe Crisara

One of the most important jobs we have is turning a customer’s “No” into a “Yes”. And it’s not as complicated as you might think. A great tool to help bridge the gap between a doubtful or resistant homeowner and a happy, satisfied customer is the option sheet. It serves as a set of firm guidelines, ensuring that premium, pure motive service is offered every time. This helps to remind techs communicating with potential customers to be thorough and diligent about every part of the service interaction. But an option sheet is only as strong as the words written on it. That’s why it’s important for dispatchers / SWAT team members to run their own quality assurance on it every time.

The first question a SWAT team member (this stands for Strength Weakness Analysis Threat) needs to ask about the service tech’s option sheet is…

Are There Options?

The service tech should always offer 2 premium, 2 mid-range, and 2 economy options. By giving a variety of service options at 3 major price levels, we are accommodating different kinds of customers and making them feel like their particular situation with regard to needs and costs is understood by us.

The option sheet’s different price points need to reflect an even spread. Imagine if you went to Best Buy to purchase a television and the 6 TV’s you saw their cost $3,500, $1,200, $1,197, $1,150, $1,125, $1,100. You’d be thinking- where’s the one for $2,400? Where’s the one for $600? If there are excessive gaps in price between options, customers will start to think that some other service provider out there will offer something in that gap.

Does the option sheet show an absolute least expensive bottom option? This would be like finding the customer’s broken wire, even if you weren’t fixing it. It could be just a diagnosis.

Likewise, is there an absolute premium top option? To be truly top premium, it needs to cost   5X times as much as the bottom option and include the right services, spoken in the right way.

Are the Options Verbally Packaged?

Verbal packaging is explaining what the parts DO and not what the parts ARE. You will get customers that tell you that they found the parts themselves at Radio Shack for around $15, and you’re charging them $350. This way of looking at things won’t work. You need to describe the parts and systems in the most value added way. Here are a few examples…

  • An electrical contactor is a voltage distribution system.
  • A drain cleaning is a restoration of the sewage removal system.
  • A water heater is a hot water containment system.

These aren’t cheap little parts. These are sophisticated services, components and systems which handle important parts of your customer’s household.

Make It Personal

The SWAT team members in your company should be questioning the service techs about what’s on their option sheet because the information there (or not there) reflects important elements of the customer interaction that greatly influence whether your company will be doing the job or not.

The SWAT member should pick out different parts of the service options and ask the tech who in the family that specific option was for, and why they made it an option. If the tech answers that he didn’t even know the customer’s name, he’s probably unlikely to sell them a $7,000 solution with that little personal connection.

Have you noticed how at Starbucks they always ask you for your first name and then write it on the cup and say it back to you, sometimes repeatedly in the customer transaction? Starbucks found that customer dissatisfaction went way down when they started doing that. It make sense- we all like to feel like someone recognizes us, cares about us as people, and knows our name.

The SWAT team member should make sure the techs know all of the family members’ names, the family’s pets and hobbies, how long they’ve lived there, their places of work outside the house, favored vacations and so forth. Customers usually love to share at least a little of their personal lives if the service provider is personable and genuine.

Ask your techs to note the family’s victories and challenges. A victory would be a graduation, birthday, wedding, anniversary, great new job or promotion, winning a competition or sport, etc. A challenge would be a personal loss, life disruption, disease, financial setback, property issue, etc. The work you are doing their very often can help celebrate a victory or offset a challenge.

As an example, if the customer’s daughter is graduating high school, and you are installing a new hot water heater, say “We thought your daughter Karen deserved the best.” Remember- there are 2 parts of every option sheet, which reflect the real life interaction you are having, and they are 1.) The service we’re providing, and B.) The people we’re providing it for.

Get Client Feedback

It is okay and sometimes necessary for the SWAT team member to speak to the customer directly, when there is dissatisfaction from the initial call and the likely loss of a job for the company. The team member should ask how the service tech call went, who discovered the broken hot water heater, what happened when she discovered it, and was anybody else in the house. The SWAT team member is establishing a personal high-value service connection with the customer, making up for what did not happen with the field service tech.

A good phrase for your SWAT team member to say is “I want to try to create a bridge between you and the tech who is out there in the field and wants to fix the hot water heater.” Always repeat the family member’s names to the customer and ask them, “Do you want to speak to me on this or are you okay speaking with Mike the technician over there?”

The SWAT member should get the tech to apologize for not having asked the right questions and not making the customer feel like the details of their issue were important.

The SWAT member should ask a series of questions such as:

  • Did the customer like their technician?
  • What service option did the customer like or didn’t like?
  • Is it okay to send the tech back in to do the work?
  • What if they send a 2nd tech out?
  • What if I explain the options to you themselves?

The SWAT team member should go over the individual options with the customer, removing them as needed, until they find the customer’s desired option and then go forward with it.

Remember- it immediately boosts your value by 50% when you offer personal service.

The idea is to avoid customer complaints instead of having to clean up the situation afterward.

It’s hard to get someone to change or amend a bad Yelp review. It’s much easier when you earn a great Yelp review at the outset. And consistent, quality-controlled use of the options sheet leads to much stronger customer satisfaction all around.

And to learn about a lot of other powerful tools and methods which will explode your sales revenue and skyrocket your customer satisfaction, look into our Total Immersion training for residential contracts in the HVAC, plumbing, electrical and many other service trades.

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