4 Keys in Transforming Your Company

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I have been working for the family business now for about eight years. BMC Plumbing and Heating Inc. originated 30 years ago when my father Brendan McCormack branched off on his own and took flight, grabbing any plumbing and heating opportunity out there to make some money. Just graduating college, I had worked on and off with the company on the weekends before I became a full-time employee back in May 2005. While getting my feet wet learning the trade and absorbing as much plumbing knowledge as possible, I also learned how unorganized this company was. Don’t get me wrong, my father has been very successful using his methods in running this company but things needed to be changed to bring this company to the next level.

Customer Organization
This is probably the most important aspect in running a successful plumbing business. “Sean, head over to Billy Kings house over there on Smith Street. I’m not sure of the number of the house but its blue with, I believe, yellow shutters or they could be grey.” Ahhhhh! This needed to change instantly! We were not organized in our customer database so I took action! After the completion of every job I took notes of the following and entered it into my customer database on my tablet: Name of customer, phone number, email, house address, the date of service, what we did and how much it cost, how they paid (credit card, cash, check), what kind of main water line they have coming into the house, do they have a gate valve or ball valve? (Crucial if you may need to shut down the main water. Those old gate valves sometimes don’t close or won’t open), how many gallons is the hot water heater? What condition is the boiler in? How many BTUs? So on and so forth…This helps tremendously! I can’t stress how important this has been for our company.

There has been many times where we showed up to a job, trusting that the customer knew how many gallons the water heater contained, and they were wrong. They knew the gallons but did not know it was a high efficiency heater. This is a big difference and wasted precious time, especially when they were expecting 60 + people over in 2 hours. So we had to return what we thought was a 50-gallon water heater to replace with a high efficiency 50 gallon. Time = money! Knowing what you’re faced with before arriving to the customer’s home, whether it’s having the right address or knowing what kind of heater they have, saves you time and money in the long run.

Follow-up calls are a MUST! I’ve found that at the end of a day, taking 10 minutes of your time to call up your accounts throughout the day is definitely worth it. I would find out how our services were and was there anything we could do differently. You’d be surprised how pleased customers are with the follow-up call. It goes a long way.

Customer Email Address
When presenting the customer with an invoice of the work done, I always make it a habit to ask for their email address. I find this to be one of the more important pieces of information that needs to be taken; especially that email is the number one way of communication these days. Not only can people receive email through their computers, but now on their smart phones and tablets. As soon as I finalize payment and back in the truck, I immediately enter the customer (if not added already) to my customer database and add them to the email list. BMC Plumbing and Heating has been doing this for a little over a year now and we’ve added up over 200 + email address. The most important thing with email is NOT TO ABUSE it! I cannot stand getting emails from businesses every day. I don’t see the need, plus it wears off its importance. Send an email once a month; include specials for the month or feature some new products out on the market. Again, don’t abuse this because it will just negate its effectiveness.

Customer Rapport
Incorporating all of the above ideas into your company is essential; however, having a good rapport with your customer is most important. You can have an email list set up and do everything right plumbing-wise but without having the trust from the customer there is no successful company. When entering a customer’s house I always pay attention to his or her name and shake their hand. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten a customer’s name! It’s embarrassing. Knowing their name when asking them a question or to fill out the invoice helps with customer comfort. I always try to remember something specifically about each customer when I’m there working. For example, pet names, kid names, hobbies and important things a customer would share when talking with you, etc… I always take these side notes down when entering them into the database to help refresh my memory when visiting again.

I’ve found that applying these key organizational skills to our company has helped tremendously and has saved a lot of time and money. I highly suggest incorporating these tools into your company and remember to have fun!

BMC Plumbing and Heating is Rockland County's (New York) neighborhood family plumber. For more than 30 years Brendan McCormack and his son Sean McCormack have been providing outstanding service to Rockland's residents, whatever their plumbing and heating needs may be.  BMC Plumbing was established in 1986, and offers full service plumbing, heating and boiler service assisting residential and commercial customers. Visit them online at www.BMCrockland.com.

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