Managing Your Service Department: Take Inventory of Your Customers’ Needs

If you are a company owner, inventory is important to you. If you don’t have the right parts in stock the result is an inefficient service call that often results in a callback. What’s the solution? You put an inventory system in place. Someone records what’s needed, and the order is placed. Knowing what you need, and when you need it, is important. To remember what needs to be ordered requires making a physical list, if you are a small business. If you are a larger business you might have inventory software, but the principle is the same. A list of what needs to be ordered has to be kept in some form or fashion.

We all want to increase our add-on sales, right? Service technicians are typically in roughly 1,000 homes per year. While you’re in the home, take inventory. Create a checklist, depending on the trade you may be in. For HVAC contractors, the list might include the age of the equipment, making note if they have an air filtration system, or if they are in need of an updated thermostat. Plumbing techs will want to note the size and age of the hot water heater while electricians will want to note the age of the panel and/or the need for added capacity.

Create a checklist of what your customers do not have but might need. Keep it simple by creating a standard checklist that the tech fills out while on the call. Be sure to provide space where the tech can enter unique needs for a specific customer.

The next step is to have a system set up for keeping track of the data. If you have a detailed customer base program then enter the data directly into the customers file AND keep an overall list of your customer’s needs.

As time goes on do a bit of marketing. One area of marketing might be a direct mail piece to customers covering their specific needs. Another idea would be to create a simple one-page flyer that can be handed to the customer on each call. The flyer might feature a discounted price on a specific product. It could be your Special of the Month. The tech would obviously have the product on his, or her, truck so it could be immediately installed while the tech is on site. Create a simple flyer in your computer and print it in the office.

My dad always told me that if you want to be successful, then find a need and fill it. That is what this program is all about!

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