How to Handle Holiday Stress Without Comprising Service

The holidays can be a hectic time for consumers and businesses alike. Whether it’s ramping up the number of deliveries, handling a glut of emergency calls coming in about failing heating systems, or installing a slew of new appliances — all the while trying to manage a short-staffed workforce — the demands on service can get pretty heavy at the end of the year. Add to that the need for many businesses to make their year-end numbers, or ensure that their commercial clients renew contracts in their next-year budget, we’ve all, at some point, felt the urge to do something.

That was a much-watched video of a FedEx deliveryman tossing a computer monitor over someone’s fence and then driving away (you can find it on YouTube). OK, we might empathize with him but we can all agree that a move like that can be the death of a company.

How can field service managers ensure technicians keep their cool? Here are a few tips:

  1. SHOW UP ON TIME: According to TSIA research VP John Ragsdale, customers are 14 times more likely to be satisfied with the resolution of their problem if their time expectations were met. Further, satisfied customers are eight times more likely to recommend a company to their friends, and 2.5 times more likely to make another purchase. “If you get nothing else right, get the resolution time expectations met,” he says.
  2. BE POSITIVE: Customer service expert Ron Kauffman says a key to dealing with high-stress situations is to just keep your cool. “Be part of the solution, keep the vision of success alive in your team, and in your customers,” he says.
  3. DON’T BLAME OTHERS: Under no circumstances should a tech blame the customer, or a past technician, for a broken or mishandled piece of equipment. Best-selling author Shep Hyken says techs should use “power phrases” to turn negatives into positives — and suggest actionable, forward-thinking solutions. “The customer’s not always right, but they’re always the customer,” he says. “Instead of telling them what they did wrong, show them how to do it right. It’s all about how you position your words.
  4. REMEMBER IT STARTS AT THE TOP: Putting techs in an impossible position guarantees something will go wrong. Vala Afshar, the Chief Customer Officer and CMO of Enterasys, says, “If you’re ignoring the employee experience, you’re ultimately ignoring the customer experience.”

More: Gearing Up for Winter? 3 Tips for HVAC Contractors.

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ABOUT Ian Stewart

Ian is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.