ACCA Mix Groups Add Value
I just returned from three weeks of travel. The four ACCA-member companies served were based in the northeastern states of New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. But the inception of these client assignments began with a recommendation from a Pennsylvania ACCA member, namely Difillippo’s Service. Laura Difillippo is the first woman to serve as Chairman of ACCA and she is also a Mix Group member and a friend.
When one of her Mix Group partners asked about customer service training, Laura recommended my company, and this led to a new client opportunity. When other Mix Group members learned about my upcoming northeastern travel, a second ACCA Group member hired my company. Within the following week, two additional northeastern ACCA-member companies booked training dates which resulted in a lively calendar.
What I learn from serving ACCA-member companies is that they are all the best HVAC contractors in their marketplace. Yet being the best isn’t enough for companies who seek market domination. Complacency is not in their corporate vernacular as they strive to get even better. The resounding strategy I convey is to differentiate with a noticeable difference. Being noticeably different results in a memorable experience.
The most profound noticeable difference among these companies is the person at the helm. This is usually a company owner who has learned from both successes and failures. And these past experiences can result in a blend of humility and self-confidence.
It is through this person that employees achieve outstanding synergy.
What is synergy? It is the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.
A competent company owner builds a strong team, leads by example and establishes a culture of excellence. This culture is usually built upon four customer service principles:
- Communicate well with employees to clearly convey purpose and goals. Numerous changes in engineering designs, compatibility, and manufacturing schedules must be quickly circulated to those who serve customers.
- Strictly enforce a rule of fast follow-up with customers, regarding scheduling and parts delivery so that customers are well-informed. Maintaining persistent customer follow-up is a proactive success strategy. If customers are uncertain as to what is going on, they’ll phone to ask. When this happens, employees can become reactive and defensive, thus minimizing their ability to be constructive.
- Maximize the latent technological and human assets in your customer service department. This enables employees to serve customers in a fast, accurate, and efficient manner. It is inefficient to use only a small percentage of desktop or tablet applications. Time invested in advanced training, to maximize employee efficiency and productivity, delivers robust ROI. The cost of training is always less than the cost of ignorance. Make the investment to educate employees.
- Enable and empower employees to quickly resolve difficult situations with a stable problem-solving infrastructure. The best managers understand the two primary reasons why customers call for service: customers either had a problem or a question. Therefore, inculcating a customer-centric attitude among employees helps to keep the focus on where it belongs. Front-line service employees should be part of weekly role-playing sessions during which common questions and problems can be rehearsed and perfected.
These four principles, while not exhaustive, are key differentiating factors. Achieving a world-class service level does not have to be complicated and expensive. In fact, it’s much more affordable than you think.
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