Work the Plan—Even When Pressured! - Warm Thoughts Communications
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Work the Plan—Even When Pressured!

Posted on August 3, 2015

It is common for an HVAC business to focus on planning its upcoming strategies, marketing initiatives, employee training, and budgets during the quiet months.

By taking that necessary time to plan The Big Picture, the company is better prepared to meet and/or exceed important goals and have a successful year.

Plan the work and then work the plan—right?

Well, yes…until the temperatures spike and the phones start ringing off the hook and total chaos breaks out once again.

Then the best-laid plans fly out the window, all hands are on deck, and everyone works 14-hour days that are packed with as many tasks as possible.

When we come up for air at the next slowdown, we can barely recognize those earlier plans because we have veered so far off course. (We might not even remember what the plans were!)

Does this sound familiar? Have you learned to just chalk it up to the seasonal nature of our business and resigned yourself that there is just no way to avoid getting lost in the weeds?

Running hard? It pays to aim for the right finish line

It’s great to be busy—but that is the most critical time to stay committed to the plans you so carefully crafted during the off-season. If you stray off course, you will likely miss your goal(s) all together…and “sweaty” is not the same as “successful.”

Not only do business owners and managers need this discipline; it is critical that your employees understand that waving from the plan is NEVER an option.

A recent American Home Comfort Study shows that sales people and techs take fewer steps during an emergency breakdown call versus a planned replacement visit. It further shows that when reps take shortcuts and hurriedly skip steps, customer satisfaction drops significantly. This is especially true during peak seasons.

Why is this? Companies and techs place too much emphasis on getting tasks done quickly to pack in more daily appointments. The finish-rate becomes the measurement of “doing a good job.”

This generally comes at the expense of providing exceptional customer service. What about prioritizing home comfort rather than simply fixing what’s broken? How about taking a moment to identify add-on sales opportunities?

I know, I know: TIme is money. But providing the barest amount of customer service and care possible—at the very time that you will see more homeowners than any other time of the year—will not help grow your business long-term.

When the going gets tough, don’t rush going

Now that you’re in a peak season again, it is time to start each workday re-emphasizing what you are trying to achieve and how each person can help the team reach those goals.

Explain that it only takes a few minutes more to deliver exceptional service:

You can expect peak work speed during peak seasons. But be sure to emphasize that strategic goals must also be met—spell them out again each day to the team—and only require a few more minutes with each customer.

Pressure is a privilege—use it to speed your success

Staying on strategy and remembering the fundamentals during your busiest seasons will let you look back with pride and realize that you did exactly what you planned to do. You might even find that you have exceeded your goals and have a stronger, more secure customer base than you even imagined.

On the other hand, if you have found that you wavered off-course during the high-stress period, perhaps you should consider adding this to your strategies next time: Hire a trusted mentor or outside agency who can meet with management regularly (even by phone) and ensure that all strategic efforts are fully implemented and remaining on track.

Good luck with your plans—and stick with them during your peaks!

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