GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: Doing everything on time

Growing your businessby Dan Beaulieu, Business consultant

Or ahead of schedule. One of the biggest complaints customers have, whether they are dealing with the cable company or the washing machine repair person, is not knowing exactly when they will show up. Some companies will tell you they will be there sometime on Tuesday! Others will get more specific and say sometime in the afternoon between one and five; while others just plain not even show up or call. There is nothing worse than this when you are the consumer. And there is no worse evidence of a poorly run company, small or big than letting your customer twist slowly in the wind of the great unknown of when their repair person will show up.

We have all been there and done that. We have all suffered through the ‘glorious injustice” of waiting all day for the repair person who was supposed to show up at eight in the morning and arrives at four in the afternoon. Wow! Is that aggravating or what? And the sad thing is this should be the easy part of the job. The hard part is the performing service, the installation or the repair or whatever.

As someone once said, “Showing up is half the job.” And if you can’t even show up on time what does that tell your customer about you and about your company. You have two strikes against you already and you have not even stepped into the batter’s box yet.

But here is the good news. This is a great opportunity to be truly outstanding; this is your time to shine. And because so many of your competitors have this problem, you can be the one company that makes showing up on time a priority. Heck, always showing up on time can be a part of your reputation. Part of your brand.

And it really is easy to do. All it takes to show up on time is paying attention to your scheduling. You can get some scheduling software. Chances are you have Outlook on your phone already and that will do it for you. If you really know what you’re doing, you will be able to give your customers a two-hour window of when they can expect you. A one-hour window would be better, but because customers are so used to being disappointed all the time, they will love even a two-hour window. And then, and this is the best part, call them on the day of the service call. Let them know where you stand in terms of your current schedule and your estimated arrival time as the time nears and you have a clearer understanding of when you will arrive. Creating this system, and sticking to it will make your customers talk positively about you and that in end is what you want.

And one more piece of advice. The phone call, as in returning phone calls. If you can do it, return them immediately. Or have someone in your company return them immediately, or better yet answer them live! Imagine that? But if you are out there all day on your own getting your business started then make sure that your voice mail message, a very respectful message, letting the customer hear how much you want her business and then, and this is the important part… Let her know via your message that you return all calls between a certain time each early evening. This will go a long way in pleasing your customer and letting her know, not only how reliable, and dependable, you are, but also how important her business and her time are to you. With this simple message, these few words you will already be establishing an aura of professionalism that will make your company appear outstanding. And this is with just one phone message. You haven’t even performed the service yet!

So, remember these three simple rules of business:

  • Be on time;
  • Answer your phone immediately;
  • Or if you can’t leave a great phone message, letting the customer know exactly when you will return her call.

How hard can that be?


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