If you’re not strategic with scheduling, you’re losing right off the bat. Here we discuss the who, how, and when of scheduling which will give you the most chance of success in your plumbing business.
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3 Golden Nuggets
- Use a CSR (customer service rep)
- Book the call for TODAY!
- Triage the schedule
Use a CSR
You’ve got to use a customer service rep to handle your calls. It’s a big mistake if you (as the plumber or the owner) are answering the phone. You’ll miss calls. You can’t go on vacation. If you’re under the sink when the phone rings, the customer on the line will be able to tell you’re not fully engaged, and the customer whose house you’re in might be asking themselves, “Why is my plumber on the phone right now and not fixing my sink?” It’s a lose-lose situation.
Plus, you as the plumber tend to disqualify the customer who’s on the phone. If they call at an inconvenient time, or their location isn’t great, or your schedule is full, they’ll be able to hear your reluctance in your voice. How is that a good representation of your business? You’ll also start to over-answer their questions or promise unrealistic prices—aspects of the job which don’t need to be discussed until you get there.
You might be tempted to think your CSR needs to know about plumbing, but they don’t. All they need to be is friendly and professional because they’ll be dealing with stressed-out customers with leaking pipes or no hot water. The CSR will have one, simple goal: BOOK THE CALL.
Book the call for TODAY
The number one concern for residential service customers is not about price (although they may ask about it). Their main concern is, “Can I get this sorted out today?” They’ve probably rearranged their schedule, and they just want their day back.
Book every call for today, no matter how many you have. If the customer says, “I can be off on Thursday”, then of course you can work with their schedule. But otherwise, book it today, because the money is in today. That’s what they value most—having their problem fixed as soon as possible. You’re not selling a hot water heater; you’re selling hot water TODAY.
You might think it’s great that your schedule is booked out two weeks in advance, but that’s the opposite of security. There are too many plumbers around, and you’ll be losing money. If you’re booked out for more than 48 hours consistently, you need to hire another plumber.
Triage the schedule
Just like the Emergency Room prioritizes calls by need, you need to prioritize calls by profit. Book every call for today, but then sort them by what’s most profitable. A “money call” gets put in front of minor things.
Your CSR needs to know which 4 to 5 jobs should be moved to the front of the line. Don’t make them guess, because they don’t want to have to move things around. Make these money calls non-negotiable, where the answer is always yes. Don’t make the CSR have to call you for approval.
Be sure to communicate with other customers if their appointment has had to be moved. Give them a 10% discount. Every now and then you might have a disgruntled customer, but as long as you communicate, they’re usually fine. This might warrant a lot of back-and-forth calls, but that’s professional plumbing! Keep an eye on it, though; if you’re having to move calls often and are triaging the schedule a lot, you might need to hire more plumbers.
Richard’s Call to Action
We go into way more detail on this in our Success Academy, where we even offer the perfect phone script for triaging your schedule. On top of that, we discuss how to make the phone ring in the first place, how to charge, how to use the right branding, and which accounting package to use—everything you need to know about growing a successful and very profitable plumbing business.
Try our 14-day free trial, but trust us, you’ll be coming back for more.