Ask the Experts | Prioritizing Leads with a Full Dispatch Board

Question: What can my CSR's do to not lose the customer when our dispatch board fills up and we may not be able to get out to them for a day or two?

Drew Cameron; President, HVAC Sellutions & Energy Design Systems, Inc:

First and foremost, we want to capture the customer information right up front. On the EGIA platform, we talk about how to schedule these calls and gather this information. There’re videos that talk about this as well. You can work on prioritizing your schedule. Prioritize your schedule with your service agreement and warranty customers first. They should always get same-day service no matter what else is on the board. So, if you have to bump noncustomers for your service agreement customers or your warranty customers, so be it.

It’s very common for the average ticket to go down and as the questioner says, we want our people to treat every After that, I look to repeat customers next. I put them in priority by quality of potential opportunity based on their equipment’s age and then I look to new customers. If you’re an existing customer that has done business with me but you’re not a service agreement customer, you have a lower priority then a service agreement customer or a warranty customer. If you have ten-year-old equipment versus five-year-old equipment, I’ll service the 10-year-old equipment first. That’s what I mean by order of the potential opportunity.

That’s the way you can change the prioritization. Then, you might think about inviting some of your non-service agreement and warranty customers to accelerate the speed in which they can get service by purchasing a service agreement over the phone. That way, your call takers can tell them they’ll avoid those potential breakdowns at the busiest time of year. You may also offer customers the opportunity to prepay the dispatch and diagnostic fee. I don’t know many companies around the country that do that but some of them say, “if you’re willing to lock in and pay your diagnostic fee upfront, we’ll accelerate your level of service and move you up in the queue faster if we get an opening.”

More often than not, when you look at your dispatch calendar, it’s filled based on the time you guesstimate the job taking to get done. Usually your team gets things done a little faster than you anticipate and things open up on our schedule a little bit sooner. So, we can move people into the queue a little bit faster. If they’re willing to become a service agreement customer or prepay their dispatch and diagnostic fee, then I’ll move them up a little bit faster.

You can also get a little bit creative and tell customers that you appreciate the confidence that day have instilled in your company and will give them the chance to save some money. Tell them if they’re willing to wait a bit longer, you’ll give them a scratch off ticket with a potential percent savings. Essentially, you’re rewarding them for electing to be served later. Again, the key is to capture their information early so you can get them into your database and let them know that you’re confident that you can provide them service.

Take for example the restaurant business. Say you’re going to a restaurant they tell you it’s going to be a 20-minute wait. More often than not, it ends up being only a 10-minute wait. Sometimes they ask if you want inside, outside, or first available. When you offer your customers options about the service they can expect and choose, they tend to stay in the queue. Some people are obviously not going to wait but by giving them options, you’re making sure that the majority of customers understand they’re valued.

What you could also consider doing if you have some runners available, and customers are without cooling or heating and you’re really backed up, you can have those runners deliver a temporary AC unit or heating unit. So those are just a few ideas I have for you.

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