February 26, 2015

The importance of regular company meetings

Regular-Meetings

When the busy seasons hit full force, what’s one of the things to hit the bottom of the priority list? Regular company meetings. While it may seem like a great way to save time, it’s been my experience that this is something that should stay top of mind especially during the busy season because it can benefit your bottom line.

Why they’re important

  • It’s a platform for communication. With the hustle and bustle, your team will probably miss each other in passing throughout the week. Gathering everyone together in a central location in the business for an all-hands-on-deck meeting gives the team a chance to catch up with each other and their managers.
  • It’s a good morale booster. Let’s face it — busy seasons can be overwhelming. Calm the chaos with some coffee, a smile, and some support from fellow team members and management.
  • It builds unity. Regular meetings remind contractors, installers, technicians, comfort advisors, even the receptionist, that they are part of one big team of people there to make a difference in the community and the comfort of their customers.

Make the most of each meeting 

  • Have an agenda — When you have organized talking points, you’re less likely to forget something when you have your team at their most receptive. Make a quick agenda ahead of the meeting to keep yourself on track and the meeting efficient.
  • Use handouts — Chances are, the minute your employees leave the meeting, they’re initiating work mode and are already checking items off their to-do list. Stack the odds in your favor by giving them handouts for reminders and action plans for the “next steps.”
  • Take notes — Did an employee ask you for something? Did they voice a concern? Did you remember something you needed to follow up on? Have a designated note taker to take notes throughout the meeting. 
  • Ask questions — This is your opportunity to see how things are going. Are they low on inventory? Do you need to put in a new order for uniforms? Are there enough supplies in the break room? There’s no such thing as a dumb question, so ask away. 

Remember, happy and loyal employees make happy and loyal customers. Keep the company unified, informed, and excited for the busy season with simple regular company meetings.

I offer daily tips on Twitter for dealers, Comfort Advisors, and technicians alike. Follow me at @HVACLearning for insight into today’s trending topics.

 

February 24, 2015

Q&A: Why KPIs matter to HVAC businesses

KPI - Key performance indicator

Don from Tallahassee, Fla. writes:

Hi Dave, 

I’ve heard a lot of talk about KPIs and the importance of measuring them, but I’m not exactly sure what they are and how they bring value to my HVAC business. Any suggestions? Thanks! – Don 

Hi Don,

Great question. First, let’s define a KPI. KPI stands for key performance indicator and it simply is an indicator as to whether or not your business is operating the way you want it to operate. Then you measure that KPI against an industry standard.

In the heating and air conditioning business, there are a tremendous number of KPIs, but to name one as an example, a KPI for HVAC could be that you’re looking for 15 percent net profit on an annual basis.

It’s important to remember that the industry standard is an average, which suggests people are both above and below that line. So let’s say the industry standard is 10 percent, but I want 15 percent, then I’m 5 percent over the industry standard. But if I’m at 5 percent, then I’m below industry standard. When you’re below the industry standard you then ask yourself, “How do I get to the industry standard, and then how do I move to where I want the company to be?”

So, in this one example we have four KPIs:

  • Industry standard 10 percent
  • Above industry standard 15 percent
  • Below industry standard 5 percent
  • Where my company is ? percent

Lennox has a significant list of KPIs as to where a business needs to be to operate successfully. For example:

  • Percentages on the financial statements
  • The number of sales each salesperson should be generating
  • The amount of revenue for each technician
  • Amount of revenue for each installation crew
  • Amount of revenue per employee in the business

All of these examples are measures that we have put out over time and are available by asking your Lennox TM.

Some additional things to keep in mind about KPIs:

  • They’re nationally based.
  • They’re unaffected by weather or the economy.
  • Don’t set it and forget it. Measure your KPIs throughout the year and set action plans and responsibilities to individuals in the company to sustain or improve your numbers.

Dave Nichols is a Regional Training Manager with HVAC Learning Solutions.

Do you have a question for an HVAC Learning Solutions expert? Submit your question on the HVAC Learning Solutions Facebook page for a chance to have your question answered in a future blog! 

 

 

February 19, 2015

Why is Lennox equipment better?

A or B as concept of choiceFor customers, the options are plentiful when it comes to where to purchase their heating and air conditioning products. So when a customer asks you “Why should I choose Lennox?” what do you say?

With a history of building outstanding and industry-leading products that are durable, reliable, and sustainable, here are the top-five reasons to choose Lennox over the other guys.

D.W. Norris, who purchased Lennox Industries from Dave Lennox in 1904, once said, “Build the best product to get me the best salesmen. The best salesmen will get me the best dealer. And the best dealer will give me the most business.” Use these five selling points to sell the best products on the market in your business.

I offer daily tips on Twitter for dealers, Comfort Advisors, and technicians alike. Follow me at @HVACLearning for insight into today’s trending topics.

 

February 10, 2015

A day in the life of a Comfort Advisor

day in the life of a CA

There are lots of myths in the HVAC industry but some of the most prominent ones are focused around the day-to-day operations of Comfort Advisors. To debunk some of these fables I reached out to Joe Jones, region business manager, brand management at Lennox Industries.

M: Joe, what are some of the responsibilities of a Comfort Advisor?

J: Sales is the bloodline of the business; it’s what puts life into it. So Comfort Advisors are responsible for bring life back to the business. Sometimes great companies fail at the sales side of things, and consequently the business fails. If you think about sales being the bloodline and that analogy, as important as the organs are, if you don’t have blood flowing through your body, you die. It connects everything together and allows it to function.

M: That’s a good analogy, Joe. How does a Comfort Advisor recognize that role? 

J: They’re going to know the installers. They’re going to know their job board and what they have scheduled. And when they don’t sell a job, those installers go home, sometimes without pay. When things are busy and a Comfort Advisor is handed a lead, they’re responsible for turning that lead into profit for the business, a paycheck for the installer, and it’s a burden that the Comfort Advisors carry.

M: Where do you think these perceptions come from? 

J: The perception in the industry is that all they do is load studies and they kind of have it made. That is because when they get really good, business owners recognize that before they had this Comfort Advisor they struggled. And now the Comfort Advisor is closing deals and they’re keeping their business alive so they do get really good treatment. And they’re important in a way that you can see it and you can recognize it more so than maybe other roles. I think that some of the perception is based on a reality, like their lack of attention to detail or troubles with paperwork, but it shouldn’t overshadow the positive things they do and the responsibilities they have.

M: What’s a good way for a dealer to minimize those perceptions in a dealership? 

J: I would suggest requiring Comfort Advisors to have a set amount of in-office hours per week. This gives them the chance to pay attention to details, do their paperwork, follow up with customers and show their team members that they’re responsible in handling their work.

I offer daily tips on Twitter for dealers, Comfort Advisors, and technicians alike. Follow me at @HVACLearning for insight into today’s trending topics.

 

February 5, 2015

A checklist for better customer service

Checklist

Did you just track mud in on your shoes? Leave a trail of dust or insulation in the customer’s home? Use this whole-home checklist to guarantee you treat the customer’s home like you would your own (or better!)

 

Before you leave the dealership

Before you get to the front door

During the service call

  • Put on your shoe covers to avoid bringing the outside inside.
  • Pay attention to details — clues throughout the home will tell you a lot about the customer and the HVAC solutions you can offer them.
  • Offer to let your customer look at new products, offerings, and videos on your tablet while you work on their system.
  • Survey the area before you start your work to make sure you leave it as clean or cleaner than when you arrived and clean up any loose parts, tools, scraps, or displaced dust when you’re finished.
  • Do a full review of services rendered with the customer and schedule a follow up call.

After the service call

These simple steps can help turn an okay job into a five-star review with simple awareness, preparation, and care.

I offer daily tips on Twitter for dealers, Comfort Advisors, and technicians alike. Follow me at @HVACLearning for insight into today’s trending topics.

  • Meet Mike Moore

    Mike Moore isn't just an HVAC expert;
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