18 Possible Reasons for Poor Performance in Demand Service


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Have you ever played the blame game?  Of course you have and it started when you were very young. When your mom asks you who started the fight between you and your sister. The answer, of course, was “She started it!”” Why were you late to work?  “My alarm did not go off.” I could go on a bit more, but you get the point. We tend to blame other people for mistakes we ourselves make.

Now let’s get a little closer to where you live. You are the company owner and/or service manager and you notice demand service performance is lousy.  Joe is too slow, dispatching did not call the customer, or Bill just won’t talk to the customer about maintenance agreements. Sound familiar?

Let’s ask ourselves a few questions. They are listed below.  Take a few minutes to read each one and ask yourself this question: Is the problem being described the fault of the technician, the manager, or both.

If it’s the techs fault (blame) put a “T” next to the question. If the problem is caused by management, place an “M” next to the question. If the problem is caused by the technician and the manager then put an “M/T” next to the question. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Reasons for Poor Performance in Demand Service:

1 ) Hourly labor rate are set incorrectly or are too low.

2 ) Fear of charging what you need to make a profit.

3 ) The technicians are under-billing.

4 ) Poor labor leverage.

5 ) Inefficiency, causing the need for too many service technicians for the  amount of service work.

6 ) Too many trips to the distributors location and taking too much time while there.

7 ) Poor first-time call completion percentage.

8 ) Unmeasured travel efficiency.

9 ) Unnecessary callbacks.

10 ) Too many callbacks.

11 ) Unclear performance expectation.

12 ) Unapplied time is high.

13 ) Too much manager applied time.

14 ) Tradition – “We have always had six technicians.”

15 ) Poor dispatching.

16 ) Weak leadership – Afraid to do the right thing because you might lose technicians.

17 ) High turn-over.

18 ) Wage increases for the technicians outpacing street rate increases.

How many “T’s” and how many “M’s” did you have? Well if you were honest with yourself you would find the root cause for most of the problems with poor performance in demand service are caused by management, not the techs.   Some things like poor first time completion percentage would, at first, seem to be a technician problem. However, when the management begins tracking they often find four root causes:

  • Lack of Parts – This would seem to be a tech problem, however, when management realizes the techs vehicle is poorly stocked it is up to management to create stocking lists, perform spot inventory checks, and provide accountability in this area.
  • Lack of Technical Expertise – Again, lack of technical expertise may seem like a tech problem, but is it. Did management hire unqualified technicians? Is the company providing the necessary training so the techs can do a good job?  Again, the symptom on the surface would seem like a technician problem, but the root cause is again poor management!
  • Lack of Manpower –The problem might be poor descriptions of the work that needs to be performed. The owner, or perhaps the sales person, should have pointed out that the job would require two techs to perform.  Again, a management issue, not really a technician issue.
  • Customer No Shows – We sometimes blame the tech for poor first time completions, because the customer was not home. The root here is really dispatching. It’s not John’s job to call the customers, its dispatching’s job.

Have you noticed a trend yet?  Much of what we often blame the tech for is really a management problem. When you go out in freezing weather with no coat on what will happen? Right, you will probably catch a cold. Catching a cold was the result of the root problem, not the problem itself. If you wear a coat chances are you will not catch a cold.

The blame game has been around a long time. However, companies that really want to grow and prosper often take a really close look at themselves. They are willing to be honest and are willing to change for the betterment of the company.

Next time you are tempted to blame someone else for a problem you just might want to talk a good look at yourself first, before pointing that finger.

Tom Grandy
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Posted In: ACCA Now, Management

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