Boots & Ladders (One Hour) Service Employees Training

intro

This is a short training video but together specifically for onsite service providers whose work requires them to go to or in the customer’s home. My goal is to keep short and to the point but first I’m going to start with a short story so we relate to it later in the video.

Short story

Zuko is an early riser and usually has his boots strapped and out of the house by seven, he left for his first job, and he was there on time. It was 8 am when a young lady greeted him at the door and she showed him the areas that needed the work. She was kind, nice and Zuko almost asked her out! Zuko brought his tools and started the work. It wasn’t long before he realized that he wasn’t talking to the homeowner, it was actually the daughter. When he met the mother, she was a bit upset that Zuko tracked mud all over her new hardwood floors. Zuko quickly realized his mistake and rushed to take his shoe off.     

To make it up to the customer, Zuko offered to help when he saw her struggling to replace one of her light bulbs. “Yes please,” she said, “you might have to move the piano to get to it though!” She also asked if he can help replace the fire alarm battery and the AC filter since he and the ladder are available. Zuko was kind and took initiative fast. On the other hand, his original job wasn’t completed because he brought the wrong supplies. So he had to reschedule for a later day. 

Zuko didn’t know this job was going to take this long nor was he prepared with the right supplies for this type of repair. With everything he had to deal with, Zuko managed to wrap up and bandage the problem the best that he could, which made him late for his next job. 

When Zuko was done, the customer and her daughter had already left the house and he was not aware the cat got out! Long story short, Zuko missed his next appointment chasing the cat and waiting for the customer to get back. 

Zuko called in a few days to set up a time for another visit and the customer replied with an angry tone and expressed her frustration with him.  

“I believe that we have a problem here!” She said, “The job wasn’t done. My teen daughter said you were hitting on her; there is a three-foot scratch on my hardwood where you moved the piano, and my cat has been missing since you were here!”

In this video training, we are going to learn about three important things a seller should be aware of. Taking orders, Learning about the customer, and protecting yourself. 

I.  (Lesson one) Safety

Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leading cause of workplace death is overwhelmingly motor vehicle accidents. Falls, slips, trips (especially on ladders) ranked second. Accidents can be reduced with a simple change of habits. Such as avoiding left turns and tailgating. Turning right comes with its own risks, but there are even more things you need to think about when turning left. Sleep well, eat well, and exercise so you don’t zone out!  

Service trucks and vans loaded with equipment can run-heavy. They weigh more and need more time to stop. Plan your route ahead of time and avoid your smartphone while driving. If you take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds at only 25 mph, it would be the same as driving the length of ten entire commercial vans, blindfolded!  

Whether you spend most of your day driving, using equipment, or on a ladder, having patience is the most important element for your safety and the safety of others.

II.  (Lesson two)  Taking orders

Zuko could’ve prevented ninety percent of his mishaps by clarifying the scope of work prior to taking the order. The offer should spell out what the job includes and doesn’t include. Being upfront with details and pricing can make results less surprising and put everyone on the same page.

Listen to the customers that know what they want and educate the ones that need to learn. Asking the right questions before taking on any job can also help reveal hidden issues that could become a major obstacle. A new customer is a new Issue, you should fit problems with solutions, ask the right questions, identify common problems, and present ideal win-win solutions. Do not be afraid to ask someone to clarify a comment or tell them you didn’t understand. Add as many details to the work order as you can. Be sure to ask: who, what, where, and when?

You should also ask the customer about their concerns and mention other services you offer. They might not know all your other services or they might expect you to already know their problematic issue.

Communicating with the customer

  • Feel good about yourself. 
  • Avoid early judgment calls.
  • Listen carefully, ask questions, speak clearly, and create effective messages.
  • Practice habits of courtesy and avoid sympathy.
  • Use positive communication, have yes’s in your replies more than easy no’s.
  • Smile when you’re texting or when you’re on the phone.
  • Avoid a phone tag or unnecessary text
  • Be specific. Leave a one-way detailed message and end with a call to action.
  • Communication is best done with action. Walk the walk rather than selling talks.

Let technology do some of the work for you. Write instructions on how to prepare for your visit along with does and don’ts or FAQ, send it to your customers after they book with you or when you email reminders.  

Sadly, most customers and small business owners are facing an outrageous call volume from telemarketing, an inconvenience that has forced them to stop answering and send all calls to voicemail. This is becoming a growing problem that’s causing phone tags, delays, and a loss of revenue. One of the reasons we started the ‘Boots & Ladders’ engine, is to automate the work order. The technology is designed to allow you to post your detailed offers and pricing, set your available days, and automate your booking. We are hoping that your customers will always be able to reach you and manage their appointment right from your page. Our goal is to eliminate expensive advertisements and middlemen so all your focus is on delivering results. 

III.  (Lesson three) The Customer

Customers hire specialists to help them solve a problem that they can’t solve on their own. They expect you to be knowledgeable, transparent, and easy to work with. They will love you if you pay attention to detail and are excited about the job, generous, caring, a good listener, fast to respond, ready, clean, and green. They will be very disappointed if you waste their time and don’t deliver results. Even worse is if you create another problem while solving the first one. Remember how Zuko brought in mud and scratched the hardwood floors while he was trying to solve the original problem? 

Always remember that you are hired to solve a problem and not to create another.   

Customer service experts state that customers subconsciously decide within 30 seconds to two minutes whether someone does a good job or a bad job in their homes. This subliminal decision-making process takes place long before you even start the work.  And if you make a bad impression on them during those vital first few minutes it would take about 12 good impressions to get even. Zuko tried to make it up to the customer by offering to help with changing the light bulb. Eventually, he replaced the fire alarm battery and the filter just so he got back to even.

Start every job on the right note and with a good impression. Understand that the customer’s time is valuable. Upon arrival, you must immediately get out of the truck. At the customer’s door, stay at least six feet away and start by introducing yourself and hand out your service brochure. It’s like giving your customer all your information so they can trust you in their house. Unlike digital conversations, the old school pressure is something physical that can stay behind you for a few days or longer after you are done with the job. Try to place yourself at eye level with the customer. Don’t be the shy technician who won’t even look the customer in the eye.

It would also be helpful if you can identify the customer when making the order. Find out who is authorizing and paying for the work. The customer can be the property owner, manager, tenant, or even an agent.

Zuko thought the young lady was the customer and proceeded with the job by getting approval from the wrong person. Starting on the wrong note can mess up the procedure and divert the results. 

Ask if you parked in a good spot and if it’s ok to go into a room/open a door. Ask about and accommodate pets.  

There are two types of customers, the type that knows what they want and the type that don’t. Customers who don’t know what they need often ask about the cost. Simply because they don’t know what else to ask!  Customers are not cheap, they are simply looking for value. Education by knowledgeable staff is always the main reason customers buy. Remember: Customers don’t like to be sold but they love to buy. Sell results – avoid selling “methods”. The customer would much rather have you describe the results they are going to get instead of how much you’re paying for the supplies. 

You are in the business of uncovering problems and selling solutions. Solving problems will create opportunities. The bigger the problem, the bigger the reward, and big problems require big solutions. Some solutions require multiple steps so always analyze the problem by searching for clues. Find problems for which your service is the ideal solution. Ask in a logical sequence. Sales experts know that you should never say a thing if you can ask it. 

Selling a solution to a problem requires four things.

  1. Knowing your product. 
  2. Customer knowledge. 
  3. Prepare the solution. 
  4. Presenting the solution. 
  5. Let the customer decide.

Knowing available products expands your options and allows you to develop better solutions. How much the customer knows can also play a factor in them selling themself simply by knowing the solution you’re presenting. Preparing the solution is the main set of steps it will take to solve the problem. This is usually presented to the customer as the solution and the results that it will reflect. 

Do you know the difference between confidence & cockiness? We should include these questions in the quiz and see what you think. Here are some tips on how to win a customer for life. 

  1. Leave your ego at the door. Give your customers control by letting them drive the conversation. 
  2. Keep topics of conversation on the services you offer.
  3. When dealing with customers, always maintain an impartial attitude and respect coworkers.

Remember to keep whatever statements you make short. The average person can’t digest more than three sentences in a row! 

Respect the customer’s time and respect their personal space. If you work inside, always be predictable on where you are going to be working so the customer can figure out where to spend their time during the process. Organize your work so you don’t go back into the rooms you finished. 

Protect Yourself

Most customers generally come with good intentions. Buyers are willing to pay for the results they expect. Sometimes you might encounter buyers who are trying to get more simply because they feel like they didn’t receive the full value of what they paid for. There are also those who want to take advantage of you and get a free ride anywhere they can. Some people think since you were able to solve one problem they expect you to solve their other problems! Up-selling is sometimes the best way to protect yourself from having to give free service. If Zuko offered to replace the fire alarm battery and AC filter for an additional $25, the customer would probably decline and cease the requests.

So the next time a customer makes a move and wants to take advantage of you, try up-selling them. They will leave you alone. “I wonder if you perhaps can help me move this couch upstairs?” the customer might ask. “Sure, we offer light furniture moving for only $150 per item, would you like that upstairs?” would be an appropriate response. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you should not be generous. Gallantry and stepping up to the plate without expectation is one of the best qualities a person can have when it comes to customer service. In fact, it’s one quality most successful people have in common. Gallantry! 

DO NOT USE THE CUSTOMER BATHROOMS: Customers don’t like it when you use their stuff.

SMOKING: Leaves a sticky smell that non-smokers really despise. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Never smoke at the Jobsite. Don’t assume your customers can’t smell a cigarette’s odor. Don’t assume smoke odor is not going to spread inside the customer’s home. More than 85% of people in the united state are non-smokers. Most of them despise the odor so if you are a smoker and your job requires you to work inside, make a plan.     

Unlike Zuko, professional companies require someone to be at the location the entire time of the service. This will not only prevent miscommunication, but it would help keep some of the unforeseen problems as their problem. Always remember that if you mention the damage before you start the job, the problem is theirs. If you mention it after you get done with the job, the problem is yours. 

Nobody knows if the three foot scratch on the customer’s hardwood floor was already there. Zuko failed to plan ahead and protect himself so now the problem became his. Always plan your work and work your plans! With careful planning, offering solutions, and products you can turn things around for your favor. Selling solutions is also a top way to protect yourself from giving free service. 

Document notes and job results. This will come in handy incase of a dispute. The judge mainly looks for evidence on who caused the issue. It’s also a good idea to add more detail to your offer or estimate. The more itemized something is, the less surprised everyone will be. One other thing you can master in your game is to familiarise yourself with your contract clue’s language and know the law. This is a must if you want to grow into bigger deals. Education brings everyone on the same page and leads to successful results.  

Be sure to use care and caution when handling the customer’s property. Be cautious when bringing in tools or equipment and be extremely careful around furniture. 

Message and confirm all appointments before attempting to travel there. Get an idea about the area and the neighbors association (HOA) rules. Don’t block other neighbors or drive on the customer yard. It would be very bad if you cause your customer a dispute with their neighbors. 

If you bring an assistant, coach him or her to plan ahead and to keep progress moving forward. Share the end goal so you both work toward the same thing. Their mission will become your mission, and that mission is to thrill every customer with an on-time response and outstanding results at a fair price! 

Be accurate. Read orders carefully, check and recheck for accuracy. Inspect, don’t expect! 

Work on your script. Making a statement before and after each job will ensure proper communication, something that customers like. If you are not sure what your script should say, try something like this:

“We have finished the job. Is there anything else you would like us to do while we are here? Can you please check and make sure everything is working ok? You may already know this, we also do (service 1)  and our technicians are on standby 24/7 in case of an emergency breakdown. We work with all insurance companies. Reviews fuels our urge to do more for others, so if you tell others about us, I will make sure we over-deliver to make you look good.”  

Another good idea is to ask the customer if they like to schedule another service or a revisit again in the future.

It’s ok to have a script on your clipboard and read it to the customer. It’s professional and can increase business by at least 30%.  

This is all good stuff. But how would you handle customer complaints?  

First of all, apologize immediately, say something like: “We offer 100% satisfaction guarantee and will make our best attempt to resolve the issue” Take action by documenting or reporting to your manager. 

All unruly customers, refunds requests, and challenging situations should be handled as the following:

Step 1 – Strategize – Your strategy should be to arrive at a solution that will be a win for both your company and the customer. If you are successful, you will retain the customer, exceed the customer’s expectations, and bring home a check. Develop your goal for the interaction. What do you want as the end result? 

Step 2 – Prepare by identifying common problems 

Step 3 – Propose a win-win solution.

Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t get paid? How do you handle that? While some unruly customers intended not to pay, the majority of unpaid bills are due to dissatisfaction or misleading offers. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from not getting paid.    

  • Itemized estimates and a work progress checklist will help all parties stay on the same page.
  • Signed contracts, Work Authorization Agreements, Release of Responsibility forms, and Payment/Work Compilation forms helps immensely in case releasing payment becomes an issue.
  • Happy customers are less likely to refuse payment or become problematic buyers. Fixing the source and addressing any issues is often the best way to complete the transaction.

To sum it all (appripriate music playing)

  • You are the Problem solver and always positive. 
  • You’re thorough when making offers and when taking work orders.
  • You reveal hidden problems and prevent unforeseen issues.
  • You Ask the Right Questions.
  • Your customers know what to expect.
  • You turn around the table, you match problems with solutions
  • You don’t rush, You are patient.
  • You under-promise and over-deliver. 
  • Your mission is to thrill every customer with an on-time response and outstanding results at a fair price! 

Closing,

Wouldn’t it be nice if the customer prepaid for what they wanted? And for the sellers to focus only on delivering results? No advertising expense, no website to optimize, no calls to tender or appointment to fill, no invoicing, and most importantly no middlemen to share your hard-earned cut. 

With Boots & Ladders, simply describe your offer in detail, set your schedule and thrill the world with what you do best. Results!  The customers will be more than happy to pay and manage what they want. And with technology running in the background, you can be assured that we have your best interests at heart! 

At Boots & Ladders, you can list your service, accept orders, escrow payments, track your records, and take control of your rank by delivering results. Listing is FREE and payment processing is only 2.9% 

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