Top Three Challenges of a Home Services Industry Customer Service Manager

Stephen H. Reichman, Sr.
Customer Service Manager / Donnelly's Home Comfort Specialists

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The title “Customer Service Manager” (CSM) can also be synonymous with “Call Center Manager” (CCM) and/or the two could denote separate functions but overlap into one person’s role in a company.

Each of the challenges discussed ultimately result in the mission goal of having a full schedule for all technicians on staff as well as a buffer or inventory of additional calls to allow for maximized opportunities that promote company growth while providing 5-Star customer service.

Living within a Positive Values system:

Values is a challenge for CSM/CCMs because one person’s values may differ from the next. In order to provide the best, most professional, consistent and 5-Star Service there must be

  1. belief in the Values that the company has established,
  2. living out those beliefs in the every day actions, workings and operations and
  3. being open vulnerable to being held accountable to maintain those values, even when it hurts.

Many situations arise that could tempt a person to take a shortcut, leave out a few facts, make justifications (“just this time”) to avoid an expensive correction to save a sale or cover a warranty, etc.

It is too easy to be tempted to cut corners but, in the end, you will reap the consequences of short-sighted, band-aid decision making.

Living the values that the company has established, good values, values proposed in the industry such as Nexstar-like values is a challenge well worth pursuing, attaining and maintain.

If you can have your whole team on board and actively live out positive Company Values all the other challenges can be skillfully and successfully met and just for a positive residual your company will not only survive, it will thrive and grow.

Building a Cohesive Team

This is probably the first challenge. The role of the CSM/CCM requires at the core the ability to establish relationships with team members, creating an environment of open communication, trust, effective and continual training and coaching, specific group and individual goals, direction, accountability and consistent follow up to ensure the mission goals are achieved.

Leveraging Technology for Your Cohesive Team

This is vital in the process of building a team.

Today’s working environment has to make allowances for team members working remotely. Some of the challenges in this is deciding

  1. does the company supply the technology to connect into the systems used for processing calls and interacting with the team or

  2. does the company require a pre-requisite that the employee supply their own technology within minimum technical specifications, possibly providing reimbursement for job-related expenses (with limitations).

Your team will work using technology to answer phones, book calls, intercommunicate, text and email customers, run reports, training, etc.

Knowing how to leverage technology is a must when building your team.

If you are not a student of technology platforms, you better start to learn because every 2-5 years the platforms evolve into new forms; I am not referring to programming but from the user and team management perspective.

If you do not know, how can you train your team?

Technology: Cannot Live Without It:

Technology touches every area of today’s Home Services industry; telecommunications is the norm.

We will use technology for continual collaboration through platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Facebook’s Workplace, Zoom, etc. just to allow team member to keep in constant contact for effective communications.

Many CRM platforms, ServiceTitan as one platform example, rely primarily on reliable internet connectivity. Most phone systems have transitioned from the old copper POTS (“plain old telephone system” as it was called) lines to the now normal fiber-optic, Voice-over Internet-Protocol (VoIP) lines.

They are very vulnerable to various causes of outages. What happens when systems fail? Knowing what to do when your tools disappear is vital.

It is called “Continuity of Operations” or COOP. Have a plan to go back to pen and paper until you can get back online.

This will require preparation beforehand and some platforms allow backup resources such as ServiceTitan’s “Upcoming jobs report” that you can have emailed daily providing you a list of calls for the next day or so.

You will be able to manually dial and communicate with your scheduled customers and then manually call your technicians, etc. Have Booking forms created, technician finding sheets and paper invoices, etc. just in case.

If you can work through these three challenges you can get through most other challenges you may face.

The ultimate mission goal is a full schedule, full dispatch board, enough calls – good opportunities for each technician to have a maximized revenue on any given day in the process of providing a 5-Star experience for your customers and growing your company.

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