Service department mistakes can cost your company thousands of dollars per year. Clearly, hiring and training the right service coordinator makes the critical difference between a profitable, smoothly running service department and an inefficient one that routinely suffers losses.
How much money has your company lost from ineffective service operations? How many of your clients have complained about your service department’s performance, or worse, taken their business to one of your competitors?
Failure to balance billable and non-billable calls (i.e., contracted planned maintenance calls) can cause your company to lose valuable service contracts — eventually resulting in substantial losses of service call revenue. Failure to balance technician workload can result in loss of valuable employees and resources.
Without a doubt, service coordinators have important, complicated jobs. They are responsible for everything from scheduling service-related work, to generating proposals, to building customer service relationships that ensure repeat business and referrals.
Simply put, it’s hard work, and it takes a special kind of person to do it. If you already have a person in place, use this article to make sure you are giving him/her all the tools they need to do their jobs as effectively as possible. If you need to hire someone, see the accompanying sidebar for a list of qualities to look for.
Give Them Authority
Give your coordinator the authority he/she needs to get the job done. When you empower the coordinator to make decisions, he/she has more flexibility to meet individual clients’ needs. As a result, your customers will receive the support and services they need quickly and easily.
Additionally, your service technicians will benefit from a more informed, supportive coordinator. Coordinators help their team better understand company policies and service procedures.
Both coordinators and informed technicians provide better service when they are trusted to perform their jobs without being micro-managed. They are also more motivated and productive.
Your Computer System
Have a good computer system in place. Even the best service coordinators can’t do their jobs properly if they don’t have the right tools to work with.
Because service coordinators manage valuable resources (e.g., technicians who produce thousands of dollars per year in revenue), they need modern software programs to help organize client information and stay in control of scheduling.
Coordinators should have access to cutting-edge computer systems that offer:
- Comprehensive record-keeping capabilities. Coordinators should be able to access each client’s accounts receivable log, contract status, equipment database, and service history.
- Scheduling logs that alert the dispatcher of each technician’s case load, display time stamping of service calls, and reveal call priority and status.
- User-defined fields and an annotation function with unlimited text entry.
- Extensive search functions. Coordinators need to be able to find client records, equipment information (serial numbers and model types), and purchase orders quickly and easily.
Good Communication Tools
Service coordinators are constantly communicating with technicians and customers. That’s why providing your service team with a reliable wireless communication system is essential. Cellular phones, pagers, and a mobile dispatching system are crucial to running a successful service department.
Service coordinators also need up-to-date fax machines. In today’s fast-paced business climate, your coordinator can’t be slowed down by old equipment and outdated tools.
Develop a Training Plan
Since service coordinators are responsible for so many different types of tasks, they need formal training in a variety of areas. In addition to on-the-job training, they need training for:
- Communication skills
- Time management
- Supervisory skills
- Customer service techniques, including telephone skills
- Team building
Formula for Success
A winning combination of on-target hiring, employee empowerment, modern computer and communication tools, and thorough training will help you achieve the performance results your company needs from your service coordinator. When you give service coordinators the resources and authority they need, they can perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently. That makes customers happy – and saves (and makes) you money.
Jeff Somers is the vice president and general manager of service operations for Monsen Engineering Co., Fairfield, NJ. For more information, contact Jeff Somers at [email protected] or call 973/227-7250.