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Old 09-22-2012, 08:45 PM
Braveheart Braveheart is offline
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Location: Port St Lucie, FL
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Work orders: Our lemonade stand

The majority of time our team receives a Work Order it is due to:

• A completed service that does not match the customer’s expectation

• A service that was scheduled to be completed and was not

Fresh Lemonade: Response Time

We receive a Lemon (work order). We know the best Lemonade is made from the freshest lemons; we have a small window to serve refreshing Lemonade.

We also know that by the time we receive a Lemon the customer is already thirsty, get the Lemonade made and delivered as quickly as possible.

Take away: As soon as you know about the problem, let the customer know you know and what you plan to do about it.

Fallen Lemons: Proactive (the secret ingredient)

The secret to making the world’s best Lemonade is using the Lemons that fell naturally. Besides being the freshest, sweetest Lemons available, the customer does not have the hassle of having to bring the Lemons to us.

How wonderful for the customer, finding a fresh pitcher of delicious Lemonade rather than finding fallen Lemons!

Of course the opposite is also true, should the customer discover rotting lemons beneath the tree, they will immediately become irritated.

Take away: Communication, if there is a mistake made, missed service or damage to the property, let the customer know and fix the issue ASAP! Mishandling this single event can destroy years of perfect service.

Lemon Tree Maintenance: Follow-Up (the most important ingredient)

Why is Mom’s Lemonade the best? She makes it with love.

How do we tell our customers we understand that their decision to drink our Lemonade over our competitors is what puts food on our family’s table? We maintain their Lemon Tree; this is done with follow-up.

Revisiting customers after we delivered the Lemonade and asking a simple question will demonstrate how we feel. The question is not “How was the Lemonade” the question is “What can we do to make the Lemonade better”

This lets customers know that they are important, valued and cared about.

Second, it transitions them from a “customer” into a “teammate”. When a customer feels that even in a small way they are able to help direct the company they become a part of it. That makes them fiercely loyal. The customer feels like they are part of your personal success or failure.

Take away: A week after the work order is completed, revisit the customer. Ask the question “what can we do to make this service better for you?” At a minimum this will be the beginning to an open and honest conversation, which is also the beginning to a great relationship.

Additional consideration about work orders:

Product designers say: “there are no dumb user’s only dumb products”

In HOA Accounts, Homeowners are encouraged to initiate work orders through a Property Manager. Is this the best way to handle a customer who desires our immediate attention? Is there a benefit to having a centralized work order system? Is this the fastest, most convenient method to solving a homeowner’s issue? Does the Property Manager always turn around and get the work order to us ASAP? Is it beneficial to have the Property Manager and entire Board of Directors aware of every complaint, concern or question that comes in from Homeowners? Who does this model serve best?
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:58 PM
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93Chevy 93Chevy is online now
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I agree with a lot of what you say, but many homeowners at HOA plans don't have a FREAKING CLUE about man hour constraints, landscaping budgets, or have an ounce of common sense.

If you have good loyal crews, then chances are they will handle customer "complaints" and "favors" at every service, which would vastly increase the man hours and possibly put you over budget. Okay, it only takes a few minutes to trim a shrub that's looking gangly, but what if the neighbor comes out and asks why you're not trimming her shrubs also? Especially when you can't use the excuse "well, they're paying extra for it" because, well, chances are they're not.

With the work order system, the property manager can act as a filter. One of the accounts I take care of is a patio home complex that's inhabited mostly by retired folks. Every freaking week there's something we did "wrong." "It doesn't look like you cut our grass." "It's too wet." "It's too dry." "You're only trimming shrubs twice a year." "You're starting too early." "I'm an idiot."

Typically when the property manager gets these complaints, he sends us a letter and unless it's something that either needs immediate attention or is extremely egregious, he doesn't expect us to follow through. With their limited budget, he's extremely happy with our level of service.

I think a good system is to have a "field supervisor" or whatever you want to call it going around to properties weekly or bi-weekly to see what needs to be done when the crew is scheduled for their next service. That's a good way to curb most complaints, especially the small ones. But I think the work order system through the property manager can be a good thing for larger complaints that can't be handled by the weekly crew because the property manager would know the budget and could tell the homeowner yeigh or neigh.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:01 PM
ryde307 ryde307 is offline
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Interesting read. Lots of good advice.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:06 PM
Braveheart Braveheart is offline
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I agree - however I think it is important that certain Homeowners have the Account Managers direct cell. We anticipated that this would greatly increase his workload, however we found that even when hundreds of customers had his cell he only received 6 to 10 calls extra a week. That's in gated retirement communities in FL.

What we did is start a program where every homeowner who required a visit for a work order would be given the Account Managers phone number and told to call any time.

It is usually 5% of the "loud" homeowners in a given community who need this little extra, but it goes a long way for us!
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:18 PM
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93Chevy 93Chevy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braveheart View Post
I agree - however I think it is important that certain Homeowners have the Account Managers direct cell. We anticipated that this would greatly increase his workload, however we found that even when hundreds of customers had his cell he only received 6 to 10 calls extra a week. That's in gated retirement communities in FL.

What we did is start a program where every homeowner who required a visit for a work order would be given the Account Managers phone number and told to call any time.

It is usually 5% of the "loud" homeowners in a given community who need this little extra, but it goes a long way for us!
Good point on that...our problem homeowners do have the account manager's cell and email. I'm sure he doesn't enjoy it when he gets calls in the evening when he's at home with his fiance and kids from stupid complaints, but the job is what it is.
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