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10 Ways to Shape Your Service Strategy

Originally published: 1/1/10 by Terry Tanker

Gaining a competitive edge in these challenging times is not easy. It takes perseverance, fortitude, patience, and leadership. But this also is a time of great opportunity. While many hvacr contractors will wilt and lose ground under these adverse conditions, contractors that have focused on the fundamentals of good business by refining and improving how they deliver value each day will come out ahead.

Here are 10 concepts to consider as you put together your business plans and strategies for a successful 2010.

1 A company exists to serve its customers — and the organization exists to serve the needs of the people who are serving the customer. Service is produced at the instant of delivery. It can’t be created in advance or held in readiness.

2 A service cannot be centrally produced, inspected, stockpiled, or warehoused. It is usually delivered wherever the customer is, by people who are beyond the immediate influence of management. The service experience cannot be sold or passed on to a third party.

3 If improperly performed, a service cannot be recalled. The more people the customer must encounter during the delivery of the service, the less likely it is that he or she will be satisfied with the service.

4 It is not nearly enough that you give good service or that your service is uniquely better in some way. The customer has to know that fact for it to do

you any good.

5 Satisfaction of customer needs is either everyone’s business in your organization, or it might as well be no one’s business.

6 To have a high standard of service, it is necessary to create and maintain a motivating environment in which service people can find personal reasons for committing their energies to the benefit of the customer.

7 As you develop motivational techniques to improve the quality of your organization, keep this in mind: The difference between a great new program for your employees and continuous commitment is good management. Lack of management commitment often dooms a good program before it ever gets started.

8 Maintaining a highperforming service company means turning the whole organization into a customer-driven business entity.

9 A high-performing service organization is a powerful competitive weapon that should be regarded as an essential part of your business strategy.

10 High-performing service companies always maintain a significant and meaningful commitment to the needs of their customers.

Most contractors we’ve talked to over the past year have done a great job of controlling and managing their costs efficiently. And while that’s a necessary ingredient of good business, the real test to come is how customers and prospects perceive the value you offer to them.

Terry has more than 25 years of experience in the advertising and publishing industries. He began his career with a business-to-business advertising agency. Prior to forming Hutchinson Tanker Ltd. and HVACR Business in January 2006, he spent 20 years with a large national publishing and media firm where he was the publisher of several titles in the mechanical systems marketplace.

In addition to his experience in advertising and publishing, Terry has worked closely with numerous industry-related associations over the years including AHRI, AMCA and ABMA. He currently serves on the board of N.A.T.E  (North American Technicians Excellence Association). He has also served on the Board of Directors for the American Boiler Manufactures Association (ABMA) and as chairman for both the Associates Committee and the Marketing Communications Committee.


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