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Service management

Mar 17, 2024

Chapter 1: The Diamond Standard of Service Management

In the heart of the bustling city of Antwerp, known as the diamond capital of the world, artisans diligently shape, cut, and polish gemstones into masterpieces. Each facet of a diamond, from its table to its girdle, contributes to its brilliance and fire, making it a sought-after treasure. Similarly, in the realm of business and service, various facets contribute to the brilliance of successful service management. Each element, be it supervision, leadership, or customer service, plays a critical role in ensuring the organization shines bright in the market. Let's delve into the diamond analogy to understand the multifaceted world of service management.

  1. Supervision: The Table of the Diamond

The table is the largest facet of a diamond, serving as a window into its core. Similarly, supervision provides a clear view into the operations of any organization. It sets the foundation for quality assurance and daily operations.

  1. Management: The Crown

Just as the crown disperses light into colorful flashes, management disperses the organization's vision into actionable tasks. Effective management means allocating resources appropriately and coordinating teams to achieve goals.

  1. Leadership: The Depth

The depth of a diamond determines its brilliance. Leadership, in an organization, provides depth by inspiring teams, setting a vision, and leading by example. It ensures an organization doesn't just function but thrives.

  1. Mentoring: The Pavilion

The pavilion reflects light, giving the diamond sparkle. Mentoring reflects experience and wisdom onto younger or less experienced employees, helping them grow, learn, and add value.

  1. Monitoring: The Girdle

The girdle keeps a diamond secure. Monitoring ensures processes and performances are consistent, identifying deviations and ensuring corrective actions.

  1. Motivating: The Fire

Motivation ignites passion, drive, and enthusiasm in employees. It ensures employees are not just working but are passionate about their roles.

  1. Watching: The Clarity

Watching is about observing and understanding the unique strengths and challenges in the service landscape, ensuring readiness and adaptability.

  1. Customer Service: The Carat Weight

Customer service adds immense value. It’s about meeting and exceeding expectations, ensuring loyalty, and building lasting relationships.

  1. Financial Results: The Cut

Financial results reflect the health, profitability, and overall success of an organization. It's the measurable outcome of all the other facets working in harmony.

  1. Firefighting vs. Fire Prevention: The Symmetry

Just as symmetry affects the balance and proportion of a diamond, the balance between firefighting (addressing immediate problems) and fire prevention (proactively addressing root causes) determines an organization's stability. An over-reliance on firefighting means constant crises, while a focus on fire prevention ensures long-term sustainability. Prioritizing and addressing significant issues reduces the frequency and intensity of daily challenges.


Just as a diamond requires meticulous crafting to shine brilliantly, service management demands the careful orchestration of its facets. As we delve deeper into this book, we'll explore each facet in detail, understanding its significance, challenges, and best practices. By the end, you'll have a comprehensive toolkit to ensure your organization shines as brilliantly as a well-cut diamond.


Chapter 2: Leadership vs. Management: Navigating the Nuances

In the intricate tapestry of service management, two threads often stand out, distinct yet intertwined: Leadership and Management. Both are essential, serving as the backbone of any successful organization. Yet, to navigate the world of organizational dynamics effectively, understanding the unique essence of each is crucial. Let’s unfurl these concepts and discern their individual patterns.

  1. What is Leadership?

Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. But let's delve deeper:

Leadership Requires Others: Leadership isn't about solitary effort. It's about the ability to inspire, motivate, and guide others, irrespective of hierarchies. Leadership's realm extends to peers, superiors, and even those outside the immediate organizational structure. Its essence lies in influence, not authority, and this influence can manifest in myriad styles and paths.

Diverse Perspectives on Leadership:

  • From a Classroom Discussion: Leadership is about character development, achieving specific goals, motivation, and enhancing collaboration. The heart of leadership lies in guiding a group toward a collective aim.
  • A viewpoint emerged, emphasizing the roles of leaders and managers: while leaders inspire followers, managers ensure tasks are executed. These roles, though distinct, often overlap in complex organizational structures.
  • Some leaders, looking to successful figures for inspiration, believe that leadership revolves around customer satisfaction, long-term vision, and robust communication. This involves considering different perspectives in decision-making and ensuring that the team is aligned with a shared vision.

It's Goal-Oriented: Leadership operates with an end in sight. It's not just about influence; it's about directing this influence towards a specific, challenging objective. Leadership ensures that collective energies channel toward meaningful, impactful outcomes.

  1. What is Management?

Management is the process of dealing with or controlling things or people. It's the application of resources to achieve an outcome. While leadership sets the vision, management works to realize it through structured processes, resource allocation, and effective execution.

Distinguishing Features of Management:

  • Structural Framework: Managers provide the skeletal structure to an organization, ensuring that tasks are organized, resources are allocated efficiently, and the workflow is smooth.
  • Risk Assessment and Mitigation: Managers often play a crucial role in identifying potential risks and ensuring that there are strategies in place to mitigate them. This involves a combination of foresight, planning, and quick decision-making.
  • Performance Metrics and Feedback: Effective management requires constant feedback and performance evaluation. Managers set benchmarks, monitor progress, and provide constructive feedback to ensure continuous improvement.

The Dance of Leadership and Management in Service Management:

In the realm of service management, leadership and management often dance together in harmony. Leaders set the tone, inspire the team, and provide direction. In contrast, managers ensure that the services are delivered efficiently, customer expectations are met, and resources are utilized optimally. It's this combination of vision and execution that makes organizations in the service sector thrive.

Top of Form

Chapter 3: Coaching and Mentoring: The Twin Pillars of People Development

In service management, building a strong, capable team is paramount. Coaching and mentoring, while overlapping, serve unique roles in this development process, and understanding their distinct attributes can greatly benefit any service-based organization.

  1. Understanding Coaching

Coaching is about guiding individuals to improve their current job performance. It is immediate, focused, and goal-oriented.

  • Key Characteristics of Coaching:
    • Performance-Oriented: Coaching is primarily concerned with the present, aiming to boost an individual's current performance.
    • Specific Objectives: It centers on meeting designated objectives within a set timeframe.
    • Skill Development: Coaching emphasizes the honing of specific skills, ensuring that individuals can perform their tasks effectively.

Areas Technicians Might Need Coaching:

  • Technical Skills: Understanding the intricacies of equipment repair techniques and troubleshooting.
  • Workflow Efficiency: Ensuring tasks are performed in the most efficient order and manner.
  • Company Policies: Adhering to and understanding the importance of organizational guidelines.
  • Performance Metrics: Regularly reviewing key performance indicators, such as first call effectiveness, callback rates, and parts usage.
  1. What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a deeper, more long-term commitment. It prepares someone for future challenges and roles, often passing on wisdom, skills, and experiences beyond the immediate job.

  • Key Characteristics of Mentoring:
    • Wisdom Transfer: Mentoring imparts wisdom, empowering individuals to apply skills, knowledge, and experience to diverse situations.
    • Long-Term Focus: Unlike coaching, mentoring is geared towards long-term career development.
    • Relationship-Based: Mentoring fosters a learning relationship, evolving over time, grounded in mutual trust and respect.

Examples of Mentoring from the Discussion:

  • Mentoring might involve senior technicians sharing expertise about equipment repair techniques, ensuring juniors comprehend not just the technical aspects but also the nuances of client relations.
  • Another facet of mentoring is helping mentees visualize and prepare for future roles. For instance, mentoring might encompass guiding someone to eventually assume a senior or leadership position.
  • Importantly, mentoring isn't just about formal training. It involves sharing experiences, insights, and often, lessons from mistakes. This knowledge transfer ensures the mentee is poised to tackle future challenges effectively.

The Dance of Coaching and Mentoring in Service Management:

In service management, coaching ensures the team is equipped for immediate tasks, while mentoring prepares them for future challenges. Together, they lay the foundation for continuous growth within the organization.

Chapter 4: Training: Developing Your Team's Skills and Knowledge

Introduction In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, training and development are more critical than ever for the success of your team and your organization as a whole. As a manager or supervisor, one of your primary responsibilities is to ensure that your team members have the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to perform at their best. This chapter will explore the various aspects of training, including identifying training needs, utilizing different training methods, and creating a comprehensive training plan for your team.

Identifying Training Needs The first step in developing an effective training strategy is to identify the specific areas where your team members need improvement or additional knowledge. This process involves assessing both individual and team-wide skill gaps and considering the current and future needs of your organization.

Some key areas to consider when identifying training needs include:

  1. Technical skills: Hardware, software, and industry-specific knowledge
  2. Soft skills: Communication, customer service, and problem-solving abilities
  3. Business skills: Writing, speaking, and presenting effectively
  4. Leadership skills: Thinking like an owner and taking initiative

To determine these needs, engage in regular one-on-one conversations with your team members, observe their performance on the job, and seek feedback from colleagues and customers. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your team, you can prioritize training efforts and allocate resources accordingly.

Utilizing Different Training Methods Once you have identified the training needs of your team, the next step is to select the most appropriate training methods to address those needs. There are numerous options available, each with its own advantages and considerations.

  1. Manufacturer training: Many equipment manufacturers offer online courses, in-person classes, and remote training sessions to help technicians stay up-to-date on their products.
  2. Trade associations: Organizations like the Business Technology Association (BTA) provide a wide range of educational resources, including seminars, webinars, and conferences.
  3. Community colleges: Local educational institutions often offer courses in relevant areas such as basic electronics, networking, and business communications.
  4. Online resources: There is a wealth of free and low-cost online training available, covering topics from technical skills to personal development.
  5. In-house training: Leveraging the expertise within your own organization, you can develop custom training programs tailored to your team's specific needs.
  6. On-the-job training: Pairing less experienced team members with seasoned professionals for job shadowing and mentoring can be a highly effective way to transfer knowledge and skills.

The key is to select a mix of training methods that best suit your team's learning styles, schedules, and budget. By providing a variety of learning opportunities, you can keep your team engaged and continuously growing.

Creating a Comprehensive Training Plan To ensure that your team's training efforts are focused, consistent, and effective, it is essential to create a comprehensive training plan. This plan should outline the specific training goals for each team member, the timeline for completing training activities, and the resources required to support the plan.

One useful tool for managing your team's training is a training chart or matrix. This visual representation allows you to track each team member's progress through required courses and certifications, making it easy to identify gaps and prioritize training efforts.

In addition to individual training plans, consider developing a standardized onboarding process for new hires. A well-structured onboarding program, such as a 90-day plan, can help new team members quickly acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their roles, while also integrating them into your organization's culture and values.

Conclusion Investing in the training and development of your team is one of the most valuable things you can do as a manager or supervisor. By identifying training needs, utilizing a variety of training methods, and creating a comprehensive training plan, you can help your team members reach their full potential, improve job satisfaction and retention, and ultimately drive better results for your organization.

Remember, training is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process. As your team and your industry continue to evolve, so too must your approach to training. By staying attuned to the changing needs of your team and embracing a culture of continuous learning, you can build a highly skilled, adaptable, and engaged workforce that is prepared to tackle any challenge that comes their way.

Chapter 6 Managing time

Chapter: Managing Time Effectively as a Service Manager

  1. Introduction As a service manager, one of the most crucial skills you can develop is effective time management. In an industry where unexpected challenges, constant interruptions, and competing priorities are the norm, mastering the art of managing your time can make a significant difference in your productivity, team performance, and overall success. This chapter will explore key principles and strategies to help you take control of your time, prioritize tasks, and lead your team effectively.
  2. Identifying Time Wasters and Interruptions Service managers often find themselves inundated with interruptions throughout the day. Phone calls, emails, and impromptu visits from team members, colleagues, or customers can quickly derail your focus and productivity. To effectively manage your time, it's essential to identify and quantify these interruptions.

Start by tracking the number and sources of interruptions you experience during a typical day. This will give you a clear picture of the main culprits stealing your time. Common interruptions include responding to non-urgent emails, engaging in unproductive meetings, or addressing minor issues that could be handled by others.

Once you have a better understanding of your interruptions, you can develop strategies to minimize their impact. This might involve setting specific time blocks for checking and responding to emails, establishing clear guidelines for when team members should approach you with questions, or delegating certain tasks to others.

  1. Prioritizing Tasks Using the Urgent-Important Matrix To effectively manage your time, it's crucial to prioritize your tasks based on their urgency and importance. The Urgent-Important Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix, is a powerful tool that can help you categorize your tasks into four quadrants:
  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important - Tasks that require immediate attention and have significant consequences if not addressed promptly.
  • Quadrant 2: Important but Not Urgent - Tasks that are crucial for long-term success but don't have pressing deadlines.
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but Not Important - Tasks that demand immediate attention but don't contribute significantly to your goals.
  • Quadrant 4: Not Urgent and Not Important - Low-priority tasks or distractions that should be minimized or eliminated.

By categorizing your tasks using this matrix, you can focus your energy on the most critical and impactful activities. Aim to spend the majority of your time on Quadrant 2 tasks, as they are essential for long-term success and growth. Delegate or streamline Quadrant 3 tasks when possible, and minimize time spent on Quadrant 4 activities.

  1. Implementing Time Blocking and Daily Planning Time blocking is a powerful strategy for ensuring that you allocate sufficient time to your most important tasks. It involves scheduling dedicated blocks of time in your calendar for specific activities, such as working on high-priority projects, conducting team meetings, or engaging in strategic planning.

To implement time blocking effectively, start by identifying your peak productivity hours and reserving those times for your most critical tasks. Create a daily or weekly plan that includes specific time blocks for each activity, and treat these blocks as non-negotiable appointments with yourself.

In addition to time blocking, develop the habit of creating a daily task list. Each morning or the night before, spend a few minutes reviewing your priorities and outlining the key tasks you need to accomplish that day. Be realistic in your planning and allow for some flexibility to handle unexpected issues that may arise.

Regularly review and adjust your time blocks and daily plans based on your progress and changing priorities. Celebrate your accomplishments and learn from your challenges to continuously improve your time management skills.

  1. Delegating and Empowering Your Team As a service manager, it's essential to recognize that you can't do everything yourself. Effective delegation is a key component of successful time management. By empowering your team members and entrusting them with important tasks and responsibilities, you can free up your own time to focus on higher-level strategic initiatives.

Start by identifying tasks that can be delegated to others based on their skills, experience, and development needs. Provide clear instructions, expectations, and deadlines, and ensure that your team members have the resources and support they need to succeed.

Invest time in training and coaching your team members to take on more responsibilities. Encourage them to develop problem-solving skills and take ownership of their work. By fostering a culture of empowerment and accountability, you'll build a stronger, more capable team that can handle challenges independently.

Remember to provide regular feedback, recognition, and guidance to your team members as they take on new tasks. Trust in their abilities and resist the urge to micromanage. Celebrate their successes and use any setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth.

  1. Sharpening the Saw: Continuous Improvement and Skill Development In the face of endless demands on your time, it's easy to neglect your own professional development. However, investing in continuous learning and skill-building is essential for your long-term success as a service manager.

Make a commitment to "sharpen your saw" by setting aside dedicated time for personal and professional growth. This might include attending industry conferences, participating in online courses, reading relevant books and articles, or seeking mentorship from experienced colleagues.

Encourage your team members to prioritize their own development as well. Provide opportunities for training, cross-functional collaboration, and exposure to new challenges. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth, you'll build a more adaptable, innovative, and high-performing team.

  1. Conclusion Effective time management is a critical skill for service managers in today's fast-paced, ever-changing business environment. By identifying and minimizing time wasters, prioritizing tasks using the Urgent-Important Matrix, implementing time blocking and daily planning, delegating effectively, and investing in continuous improvement, you can take control of your time and lead your team to success.

Remember that time management is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix. Regularly reassess your strategies, adapt to new challenges, and seek feedback from your team and colleagues. Celebrate your progress and learn from your setbacks.

By mastering the art of time management, you'll not only improve your own productivity and effectiveness but also set a powerful example for your team. You'll be better equipped to handle the demands of your role, make strategic decisions, and drive long-term success for your organization. So, embrace the principles and strategies outlined in this chapter, and make a commitment to managing your time with purpose, focus, and discipline. Your future self, your team, and your organization will thank you

Chapter 7 Motivating Your Team

Motivating Your Service Team


Introduction Motivation is a crucial element in the success of any service team. As a service manager, one of your primary responsibilities is to ensure that your team members are motivated and engaged in their work. When a team is highly motivated, they are more productive, deliver better quality service, and contribute to the overall success of the organization. In this chapter, we will explore the key principles and strategies for motivating your service team, drawing from real-life examples and proven techniques.

Understanding Motivation At its core, motivation is about getting team members to willingly move in the desired direction. It's not just about getting them to do their job, but to do it with enthusiasm, dedication, and a sense of purpose. To effectively motivate your team, it's essential to understand what drives human behavior.

One of the most well-known theories of motivation is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This model suggests that people are motivated by five levels of needs, starting with basic physiological needs and progressing to self-actualization. In the workplace, the most relevant levels for motivation are esteem needs (the desire for recognition, respect, and achievement) and belongingness needs (the desire to be part of a team and form meaningful connections with others).


By leveraging these needs, you can create a motivating environment for your service team. For example, recognizing team members for their achievements, providing opportunities for growth and development, and fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork can all contribute to higher levels of motivation.


Factors Influencing Motivation In addition to understanding the underlying needs that drive motivation, it's important to recognize the various factors that can influence an individual's motivation. These factors can be grouped into two broad categories: pain vs. pleasure and fear vs. reward.

People are generally motivated to avoid pain and seek pleasure. In the workplace, this means that team members are more likely to be motivated by positive reinforcement (such as praise and recognition) than by negative consequences (such as punishment or criticism). Similarly, people are often motivated by the desire to gain rewards (such as bonuses, promotions, or opportunities) and avoid feared outcomes (such as job loss or failure).


However, it's crucial to remember that motivation is highly individual. What motivates one team member may not work for another. Some may be driven by financial rewards, while others may be more motivated by a sense of purpose or the opportunity to learn and grow. As a service manager, it's your job to understand what motivates each member of your team and tailor your approach accordingly.


Leadership also plays a significant role in motivation. Team members are more likely to be motivated when they have a leader who inspires and supports them. By setting a positive example, communicating clearly, and showing genuine care and concern for your team, you can create a motivating environment that brings out the best in everyone.


Strategies for Motivating Your Team With a solid understanding of the principles of motivation, let's explore some specific strategies you can use to motivate your service team:

  1. Setting achievable and valuable goals: Goals are a powerful motivator, but they must be both achievable and valuable to be effective. Work with your team to set goals that are challenging but realistic, and make sure they understand the value and importance of achieving those goals.


  1. Providing recognition and praise: Regularly acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and efforts of your team members. This can be as simple as a sincere "thank you" or a more formal recognition program. The key is to make sure the recognition is specific, timely, and meaningful.


  1. Making work interesting and engaging: Look for ways to make the work itself more motivating. This can involve providing variety in tasks, offering opportunities for learning and growth, and helping team members see the impact and importance of their work.


  1. Delegating responsibility and authority: Empower your team members by giving them responsibility for specific tasks or areas and the authority to make decisions and solve problems. This shows trust and confidence in their abilities and helps them feel a sense of ownership and pride in their work.


  1. Creating opportunities for achievement and growth: Provide opportunities for team members to take on new challenges, learn new skills, and advance in their careers. This can include training, mentoring, and clear paths for advancement within the organization.


Generational Differences in Motivation Another important factor to consider when motivating your service team is generational differences. Today's workforce spans several generations, each with their own unique values, preferences, and motivational drivers.

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) tend to be motivated by job security, respect for their experience, and opportunities for mentoring and leadership.

Generation X (born 1965-1980) often value work-life balance, autonomy, and opportunities for skills development and advancement.

Millennials (born 1981-1996) are often motivated by purpose, flexibility, collaboration, and regular feedback and recognition.

Generation Z (born 1997-2012) tend to value diversity, inclusion, authenticity, and the use of technology in the workplace.

As a service manager, it's important to understand these generational differences and adapt your motivational strategies accordingly. What works for a Baby Boomer may not be as effective for a Millennial. By taking the time to understand the unique needs and preferences of each team member, you can create a more tailored and effective approach to motivation.


Developing a Motivation Plan To put these strategies into action, it's helpful to develop a specific motivation plan for your service team. Start by identifying a measurable goal that you want your team to achieve. This could be related to productivity, customer satisfaction, or any other key metric.

Next, create a detailed plan for how you will motivate your team to achieve that goal. This should include specific tactics and initiatives, such as recognition programs, training opportunities, or team-building activities. Be sure to consider the individual motivators for each team member and incorporate a mix of strategies to appeal to different preferences.


As you develop your plan, it's also important to analyze the costs, benefits, and return on investment (ROI). Consider the resources (time, money, etc.) required to implement your motivation plan and weigh them against the expected benefits (increased productivity, improved retention, higher customer satisfaction, etc.). This analysis will help you make a strong case for your plan when presenting it to management.


Finally, communicate your plan to your team and get their buy-in and feedback. Motivation is a collaborative effort, and involving your team in the process can help ensure its success.


Conclusion Motivating your service team is an ongoing process that requires a deep understanding of human behavior, individual differences, and generational preferences. By leveraging the principles of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, tailoring your strategies to individual motivators, and creating a supportive and empowering environment, you can tap into the full potential of your team and drive outstanding results.

Remember, motivation is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It requires continuous learning, adaptation, and a genuine commitment to the success and well-being of your team. By putting in the time and effort to understand and motivate your team, you'll not only improve performance and customer satisfaction but also build a positive and engaging workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent.


So, take the insights and strategies from this chapter and put them into action. Develop a motivation plan that works for your unique team and organization, and watch as your service team reaches new heights of success and satisfaction.

Chapter 8 Motivational Ideas

Motivating Your Service Team


As a service manager, one of your key responsibilities is keeping your team motivated to deliver excellent service. Motivated technicians will go the extra mile for customers, work efficiently, and contribute positively to your department's success. Here are some effective ideas for motivating your service team:


Set achievable goals with meaningful rewards Work with your team to set specific, measurable goals that are challenging but attainable. Tie reaching these goals to rewards that your technicians value, such as a team trip, extra paid time off, awards/recognition, or bonuses. Make sure the goals benefit the company and the rewards justify the cost.

Create friendly competition Harness your technicians' competitive spirit with contests and games. For example, have techs compete on first call effectiveness rates or bringing in sales leads. Make contests fair by handicapping metrics so everyone has a shot at winning. Offer prizes like gift cards, a free team lunch, or trophies/plaques.

Provide recognition and praise Regularly acknowledge and praise high-performing technicians in front of the team. Implement programs like "Technician of the Month" with special perks. Give out pins or badges techs can proudly wear to showcase their accomplishments. Recognition shows you value their hard work.

Enable work-life balance Reward top techs with a half day off before a long weekend or the ability to come in late occasionally. Giving them extra personal time shows you care about their work-life balance. Schedule these during slower periods to avoid disrupting service levels.

Foster team bonding Organize fun activities to help your team build camaraderie, like a sports outing, fishing trip, barbecue, or volunteer day. If your budget allows, do an offsite team building event. Strengthening relationships improves teamwork back on the job.

Invest in their development Motivate techs by investing in their professional growth. Cross-train them on different machines, send them to training, or support them in earning new certifications. Advancing their skills helps their careers and makes them feel valued.

The key is tailoring motivation to what your unique team members value and ensuring rewards are commensurate with the effort required. Use a mix of financial and non-monetary incentives. With the right motivation strategies, you can build a driven, cohesive service team that wows customers and boosts profitability.

Chapter 9 Setting Expectations

Setting Clear Expectations


One of the most important responsibilities you have as a service manager is setting clear expectations for your team. When technicians know precisely what is expected of them, it eliminates ambiguity, boosts productivity, and helps them excel in their roles. The bestselling book The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson provides a simple yet powerful framework for setting expectations through One Minute Goal Setting.


Start with Company and Department Expectations

Expectations for your service team should flow from the overall standards of your company. Most organizations document their general expectations around things like work hours, dress code, and benefits in an employee handbook. Have your technicians read and sign this handbook to acknowledge they understand the company rules.


Next, spell out the specific expectations for your service department. Create detailed job descriptions for each role - technician, dispatcher, supervisor, etc. - that define their primary responsibilities and KPIs. Again, have team members sign their job descriptions to confirm understanding.


Set SMART Goals with One Minute Goal Setting 

With company and department expectations established, work with each technician to set individual performance goals using Blanchard and Johnson's One Minute Goal Setting process. The key is to collaboratively develop SMART goals that are:


- Specific: Goals should be clear and unambiguous. "Improve first call effectiveness" is vague; "Increase first call effectiveness from 50% to 55%" is specific.


- Measurable: Goals must be quantifiable so you can objectively assess if they were achieved. Use KPIs that you can pull from your service metrics.


- Attainable: Goals should stretch your technicians' abilities but still be realistic. If a tech is at 50% FCE, setting a goal of 100% would be demotivating. 55% is ambitious but attainable.


- Relevant: Individual technician goals should tie to overarching department and company objectives. Improving FCE, for example, boosts department profitability. 


- Time-bound: Goals need a deadline. Specify if the FCE increase should be achieved this month, quarter, or year.


Tailor Goals to the Individual

A junior technician and a 10-year veteran will likely have different goals. Set expectations that challenge each team member at their current skill level. For underperforming technicians, chunk goals into smaller milestones. Break that 5% FCE improvement into 1% monthly increases. Quick wins build confidence and momentum.


Formalize Goals in Writing

Once you and your technician agree on a SMART goal, have them write it down, sign it, and keep it visible. This creates accountability and serves as a constant reminder of the expectation.


Check in Regularly

Meeting expectations doesn't just happen. Regularly discuss progress with your team members. Celebrate wins with One Minute Praisings. When a technician hits a milestone, give immediate, specific praise. For missed goals, give a One Minute Redirect. Affirm the technician as a person, restate the missed expectation, and express your confidence they'll nail it next time.


The One Minute Manager's goal setting process enables you to work with each technician to craft meaningful, motivating, and achievable goals. When expectations are crystal clear, your service team can focus on executing at their peak potential. Make SMART goal setting a core part of your management approach to drive better results for your techs, your department, and your dealership.


Chapter 10  Evaluating Your Service Team's Performance


Regular employee evaluations are a critical tool for service managers to assess technician performance, provide constructive feedback, and drive continuous improvement. The bestselling book The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson provides valuable insights on making evaluations meaningful and motivational. This chapter explores best practices for conducting formal and informal evaluations that help your service team excel.


The Purpose of Evaluations

The primary purpose of evaluations should be to help team members improve and grow in their roles. Yes, evaluations provide documentation to support personnel decisions like raises, promotions, and terminations. But approaching them as coaching opportunities creates a positive, development-oriented culture. Use evaluations to:


- Assess performance against agreed-upon goals and metrics

- Affirm what technicians are doing well through praise

- Identify areas for improvement or skills gaps to address

- Set new SMART goals for the next evaluation period

- Strengthen manager-employee relationships through open communication


Incorporate One Minute Praisings and One Minute Redirects 

The One Minute Manager introduces two powerful concepts - One Minute Praisings and One Minute Redirects - that are tailor-made for evaluations. Blanchard and Johnson advise:


- Praise people immediately. Tell them specifically what they did right and how it helps the organization. Pause for a moment to let them feel good about what they did. Encourage them to do more of the same.


- Redirect people as soon as possible when they veer off track. Confirm the facts and review the mistake together. Express how you feel about the error and its impact on results. Be quiet for a moment to let them feel concern. Remind them you value them and have confidence in them. Realize that when the redirect is over, it's over.


Apply these techniques during formal sit-down evaluations and informal daily interactions. Specific, timely feedback is much more effective than general comments delivered months later. Make praising and redirecting in the moment a regular habit.


Conduct Quarterly and Annual Evaluations

Set a cadence for formal evaluations to assess individual performance:


Quarterly Check-ins: Meet one-on-one with each technician every three months to review progress on their SMART goals. Praise wins, redirect shortfalls, and set new quarterly targets. Regular check-ins keep everyone focused on priorities.


Annual Appraisals: Once a year, conduct a more comprehensive evaluation that rolls up the quarterly discussions. Assess technicians' overall performance, core competencies, and professional development. The annual appraisal becomes part of their permanent HR file.


Use Objective Metrics, Not Subjective Opinions

Effective evaluations assess performance against clear, measurable standards. In a service department, that means metrics like first-call effectiveness rates, mean copies between visits, SLA compliance, etc. Using objective KPIs ensures evaluations are fair and fact-based. It protects against claims of favoritism or discrimination.


Supplement with Informal Evaluations 

In addition to official check-ins and appraisals, gather performance insights through:


- Ride-alongs to observe technicians on service calls

- Spot checking repairs and maintenance to ensure standards are met

- Monitoring individual performance metrics weekly

- Reviewing customer feedback from surveys or unsolicited comments

- Checking that technicians are where they're scheduled to be


Document Evaluation Discussions

Always create a written record of evaluation conversations, both formal and informal. Use a template for quarterly check-ins and annual appraisals and have the technician sign-off. For informal feedback, document it yourself in the technician's file. Maintain records of praise and redirects. Good documentation provides support if performance problems persist and employment actions become necessary. 


Evaluations Develop Employees and Your Service Business

Committing to a robust evaluation process benefits your technicians and your service operation. Technicians gain a clear understanding of expectations, receive well-deserved praise that boosts morale, and get the coaching they need to shore up weaknesses. The service department gains employees who are continually upgrading their skills, as well as documentation to reward high performers and take action on underperformers. Make evaluations a cornerstone of your service management approach to develop a world-class team.

Supervisor roll in motivating

Here is a draft chapter on the Supervisor's Role in Motivating, incorporating some of the key principles we discussed:


Chapter X: The Service Supervisor's Critical Role in Motivating Technicians


As a service supervisor, one of your most important responsibilities is keeping your team of technicians motivated to deliver outstanding service day in and day out. Motivated techs are more productive, provide better customer service, and are more likely to stay with your company for the long haul. This chapter explores the supervisor's role in understanding what motivates each technician and tailoring your approach to bring out their best.


Tailor Motivation to the Individual

The same factors don't motivate everyone equally. Some technicians are driven by money and career advancement. Others prioritize work-life balance and flexibility. Many crave recognition and praise. Millennials and Gen Z may be motivated by very different things than Baby Boomers. It's critical to get to know your individual team members and what makes them tick.


Have regular one-on-one conversations to ask about their goals and what they find rewarding at work. Observe what types of incentives and feedback they respond to. Use this insight to personalize your motivational efforts. A one-size-fits-all approach will be hit or miss.


Enable a Sense of Achievement

Technicians who feel they are making meaningful progress are more motivated than those who feel they are on a treadmill going nowhere. Enable a sense of achievement by:


- Setting achievable short-term goals in addition to stretch targets. Chunk large objectives into milestones.

- Celebrating wins, both big and small. Praise technicians for hitting goals and making improvements.

- Communicating how their work contributes to company success. Connect their efforts to outcomes.

- Providing a career path with increasing levels of responsibility and rewards for top performers.


Recognize Good Performance

Positive feedback is rocket fuel for motivation. Get in the habit of catching your technicians doing things right. Seize opportunities to give spontaneous and specific praise. Make recognition public to multiply the impact - post customer compliments, announce achievements in team meetings, nominate techs for company awards. But also deliver quiet one-on-one appreciation. Tailor recognition to what individuals find meaningful.


Explain the "Why"

Technicians are more motivated when they understand the reasons behind goals, policies, and changes. Don't just dictate new initiatives - explain why they matter to customers, the company, and the technicians themselves. Help techs connect their individual roles to the big picture.


Listen to Their Ideas

Nothing deflates motivation faster than feeling like no one cares what you think. Actively solicit your technicians' input on how to improve service and operations. They're on the front lines and often have invaluable insights. Implement the best ideas and give credit. Involvement breeds commitment. 


Delegate Authority, Not Just Responsibility

Motivate technicians by giving them ownership over their territories. Delegate authority to make decisions and resolve customer issues. Teach them to think like the territory is their small business to run. Be clear on the guidelines and dollar limits of their authority. Tolerate some mistakes as learning opportunities. Technicians will rise to the challenge when trusted with autonomy.


Individualize Rewards and Recognition

Reward and recognize technicians in ways that matter to them individually. A Gen Z tech might love earning badges and company swag they can show off on social media. A Boomer tech may be over the moon with a sincere handwritten thank you from the boss. Choice is powerful - let top performers choose from a menu of perks like gift cards, extra time off, or a coveted parking spot.


Motivating a diverse team requires adapting your approach based on generational preferences, life stages, and individual personalities. By taking time to understand what drives each technician and tailoring your motivational efforts, you can build a service team that is highly engaged, committed, and firing on all cylinders.

Chapter 12: Mentoring Your Team



As a service manager, one of the most impactful ways you can support your team's growth and development is through mentoring. Mentoring goes beyond day-to-day management and coaching; it's about building meaningful relationships with your team members and helping them reach their full potential. In this chapter, we'll explore what mentoring entails, key areas where you can mentor your team, effective mentoring techniques, and the benefits mentoring provides for everyone involved.


Section 1: Understanding Mentoring

At its core, mentoring is about being a trusted advisor and guide to someone with less experience. A mentor is typically a more seasoned individual who shares their knowledge, skills, and wisdom to help a mentee grow both professionally and personally.


Key characteristics of a successful mentor-mentee relationship include:

- Trust and confidentiality

- Open communication

- Mutual respect

- A focus on the mentee's goals and needs


It's important to note that mentoring differs from coaching in a few key ways. While coaching tends to focus on specific skills or performance areas, mentoring takes a more holistic view of the individual's development. Mentoring relationships also tend to be longer-term and less formal than coaching arrangements.


Section 2: Areas to Mentor Your Team

As a service manager, there are several areas where you can provide valuable mentoring to your team members:


Career Development: Help your team members identify their professional goals and develop a plan to achieve them. This may involve discussing training opportunities, connecting them with other professionals, or providing guidance on navigating career choices.


Life Skills: Sometimes mentoring conversations go beyond just work topics. Be open to discussing broader life skills like communication, time management, problem-solving, and work-life balance. Your own life experiences can provide valuable perspective.


Leadership Skills: Look for opportunities to help your team members develop their leadership capabilities, even if they aren't in a formal leadership role. This could involve discussing how to motivate others, make difficult decisions, or handle conflict.


Developing a Mentoring Mindset: Encourage your team members to also be on the lookout for mentoring opportunities where they can share their own skills and knowledge with others. Cultivating a mentoring culture on your team has far-reaching benefits.


Section 3: Mentoring Techniques and Best Practices

To be an effective mentor, consider the following techniques and best practices:


Building Trust and Rapport: Take time to get to know your mentee as an individual. Show genuine interest in their life, goals, and challenges. Be reliable and maintain confidentiality to establish a foundation of trust.


Active Listening: Practice active listening during mentoring conversations. Give your full attention, ask clarifying questions, and check for understanding. Make your mentee feel heard and validated.


Asking Leading Questions: Rather than always providing direct answers, ask leading questions that prompt your mentee to think through situations themselves. Questions like "What do you think about...?" or "How would you approach...?" help develop problem-solving skills.


Helping Mentees Find Their Own Path: Remember that your role as a mentor isn't to dictate exactly what your mentee should do. Instead, help expand their perspective and equip them with the tools to make their own informed decisions.


Mentoring Do's and Don'ts:

- Do set clear expectations for the mentoring relationship

- Do maintain appropriate boundaries

- Do celebrate your mentee's successes

- Don't try to force your mentee into a certain mold

- Don't neglect your own continued growth and learning


Section 4: The Benefits of Mentoring

Investing time in mentoring your team members provides benefits for everyone involved:


For Mentees: Having a trusted mentor can lead to increased confidence, new perspectives, expanded networks, and accelerated professional growth. Mentees often feel more engaged and committed to their work as a result.


For Mentors: Mentoring keeps you connected to emerging talent and trends in your field. It provides an opportunity to reflect on your own career journey and develop your coaching and leadership skills. Many mentors report feeling a sense of fulfillment from giving back.


For the Organization: Mentoring helps with employee retention, knowledge transfer, succession planning, and building a positive company culture. Organizations with strong mentoring programs often report higher levels of engagement, productivity, and innovation.



Mentoring is a powerful tool for supporting your team's growth and creating a culture of continuous learning. By understanding the key principles of mentoring, focusing on core development areas, and applying best practices, you'll be well-equipped to be an impactful mentor. Start by identifying opportunities to build mentoring relationships with your team members and remember that even small mentoring moments can make a big difference. As you invest in your team's growth, you'll also find yourself growing as a leader and service manager.


Chapter 13 – Team Meetings

Chapter 13: Running Effective Team Meetings



As a service manager, one of your key responsibilities is to lead and communicate with your team. Team meetings are an essential tool for sharing information, discussing issues, and ensuring everyone is aligned and working towards common goals. However, not all meetings are created equal. Poorly planned and executed meetings can waste time, frustrate team members, and fail to achieve the desired outcomes. In this chapter, we'll explore strategies for running effective team meetings that engage your team and drive results.


Section 1: The Purpose of Team Meetings

Before scheduling a meeting, it's important to clarify the purpose. Meetings should only be held when they are the best way to achieve a specific objective. Some valid reasons for team meetings include:

- Making important announcements that require discussion

- Addressing customer service concerns or complaints

- Implementing new procedures or processes

- Sharing knowledge and best practices

- Celebrating successes and recognizing team members


If the objective can be achieved through an email, memo, or one-on-one conversation, a meeting may not be necessary. Being selective about when to hold meetings respects your team's time and helps ensure that meetings are productive and valuable.


Section 2: Planning Effective Meetings

Once you've determined that a meeting is necessary, the next step is to plan it effectively. Key elements of meeting planning include:


  1. Create an agenda: An agenda outlines the topics to be covered, the order in which they will be discussed, and the time allocated for each item. Distribute the agenda in advance so attendees can prepare.


  1. Involve the right people: Invite team members who need to be part of the discussion or decision-making process. Consider including representatives from other departments if their input or cooperation is needed.


  1. Set a time limit: Meetings should have a clear start and end time. Stick to the allotted time to show respect for everyone's schedules.


  1. Choose the right venue: For in-person meetings, choose a space that is conducive to discussion and free from distractions. For remote teams, ensure everyone has access to the necessary technology and a quiet place to participate.


Section 3: Facilitating Engaging Meetings

As the meeting leader, it's your role to facilitate an engaging and productive discussion. Here are some tips:


  1. Start on time: Demonstrate respect for everyone's time by starting promptly. Don't wait for stragglers to arrive.


  1. Set the tone: Welcome attendees and briefly review the agenda. Establish any ground rules for participation.


  1. Encourage participation: Invite input from all attendees, not just the most vocal ones. Use open-ended questions to stimulate discussion.


  1. Manage time: Keep the meeting moving by adhering to the agenda and time allocations. If an item requires more discussion, consider tabling it for a separate meeting.


  1. Summarize and assign action items: As you wrap up each agenda item, summarize the key points and decisions. Assign any action items and deadlines to specific individuals.


  1. End on time: Conclude the meeting at the scheduled end time. If additional discussion is needed, schedule a follow-up meeting.


Section 4: Meeting Follow-Up

The work doesn't end when the meeting does. To ensure that decisions and action items from the meeting are implemented, it's important to follow up afterwards.


Send out a meeting summary highlighting key decisions and action items. This helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and provides a record of what was discussed.


Check in with team members who were assigned tasks to ensure they have what they need to move forward. Offer your support and guidance as needed.


Regularly review progress on action items in subsequent meetings or status updates. This helps maintain accountability and momentum.



Effective team meetings are an essential tool for service managers to communicate with and lead their teams. By being selective about when to hold meetings, planning them carefully, facilitating engaging discussions, and following up afterwards, you can ensure that your meetings are a valuable use of everyone's time. Remember, the goal isn't just to have meetings, but to leverage meetings to drive results and continuously improve your team's performance.


Chapter 14: Understanding Your Customers' Expectations



Truly understanding your customers is the foundation of providing exceptional service. As a service manager, it's critical to recognize not only what your customers want, but also what they realistically expect. By aligning your team's efforts with these expectations, you can consistently deliver satisfying experiences that foster long-term loyalty. In this chapter, we'll explore key customer expectations and strategies for meeting and exceeding them.


Section 1: What Customers Want vs. What They Expect

Customers often have lofty wants when it comes to service, such as:

- Equipment that works perfectly 100% of the time

- Immediate technician response to any issue

- Technicians who carry every possible part

- All service provided for free


However, what customers expect is usually more realistic:

- Equipment that is reliable overall

- Prompt technician arrival within a reasonable timeframe

- Technicians who can resolve most issues on the first visit

- Fair pricing for quality service


It's important to manage customer expectations from the start by clearly communicating your service level agreements (SLAs) and policies. Be transparent about response times, maintenance schedules, and billing practices to avoid misunderstandings later.


Section 2: Key Customer Expectations to Address


  1. Equipment reliability: Customers expect their equipment to have minimal downtime. Focus on proactive maintenance, quality parts, and user training to maximize uptime.


  1. Prompt response: Establish clear SLAs for response times based on issue severity. Aim to under-promise and over-deliver. If you promise a 4-hour response time, strive to arrive sooner when possible.


  1. First-time fix: Customers expect their issue to be resolved on the first technician visit. Invest in technician training, effective troubleshooting processes, and optimized car stock to improve first-time fix rates.


  1. Part availability: While customers understand techs may not have every single part, they expect most common parts to be readily available. Analyze usage data to determine optimal car stock levels.


  1. Delivering on commitments: Above all, customers expect you to do what you say you'll do. Build trust by consistently following through on promises and proactively communicating if there are any delays or changes.


Section 3: Strategies for Exceeding Expectations


  1. Proactive communication: Keep customers informed at every step, from the initial service call to the completed repair. Utilize text messages, emails, or phone calls to provide updates and ETAs.


  1. Remote troubleshooting: Train dispatchers or dedicate a technician to attempt remote resolution before rolling a truck. Resolving simple issues over the phone saves time for both customers and techs.


  1. Anticipating needs: Encourage techs to proactively address potential issues during service calls. Replacing wear parts before failure or performing PMs while on-site for a repair can prevent future downtime.


  1. Empowering techs: Give technicians the authority to make situational decisions to deliver excellent service. Empower them to go the extra mile, whether it's hand-delivering a critical part or helping a customer print a needed document.


  1. Capturing feedback: Regularly survey customers to understand their perceptions and identify areas for improvement. Seek both positive and constructive feedback to guide your service strategy.



Delivering service that meets and exceeds customer expectations is an ongoing journey. By actively listening to your customers, setting clear expectations, equipping your team for success, and continuously improving, you can build a reputation for service excellence. Remember, satisfied customers are your best advocates and the key to long-term business success.

Okay, I understand that you would like me to act as an editor for a publishing company to help convert transcripts from classes you taught into a chapter for a book on service management. The content you provided will be used to create Chapter 15. Here is my suggested edit of the material into a coherent chapter:


Chapter 15: Building Customer Satisfaction



Building customer satisfaction is a critical component of running a successful service department. It involves not only meeting customers' expectations, but consistently exceeding them. In this chapter, we will explore key areas to focus on to build strong customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Reliability and Consistency

Reliability of equipment is paramount. Customers expect their machines to work properly and consistently. As a service manager, it is your responsibility to ensure your technicians are properly trained to troubleshoot and fix issues right the first time to minimize downtime.


Fast response times are also crucial. Set clear expectations with customers on when a technician will arrive and do everything possible to meet or exceed that timeframe. Always have common parts on hand to avoid delays. If a mistake is made, acknowledge it, apologize sincerely, and make it right. Treat every customer with respect.


The key to reliability and consistency is having documented processes and procedures, just like McDonald's does to ensure a Big Mac tastes the same at every location. Create a written training plan, like a 100-day plan, for onboarding new technicians so they are trained consistently. Have a standardized "total call procedure" that techs follow on every service visit, including things like checking in with the receptionist and key operator upon arrival, interviewing users to understand the issue, only cleaning the machine at the very end, and restocking supplies as a value-add before leaving.


Constantly refine your procedures by analyzing tech recalls - if an issue happens more than once, there is a problem with the process that needs to be fixed. Have technicians follow a detailed preventive maintenance checklist to ensure nothing gets missed. Conduct random inspections and ride-alongs to ensure adherence.


Going Above and Beyond

Look for small ways to differentiate your service and provide more value to the customer than your competition does. Have techs wear logo uniform shirts and name badges to look more professional. Handle basic operator tasks like emptying waste toner and refilling paper as an extra courtesy. Expand your hours and offer loaner equipment to minimize downtime during repairs. Offer delivery, pickup and hot swap printers. Think outside the box on how you could customize your offerings to uniquely serve each customer's needs better than anyone else.


Survey for Constant Improvement

Regularly survey your customers, but ask specific questions to uncover areas for improvement, not just get a pat on the back. If you get anything less than a perfect score, follow up with the customer to understand why and how you could do better next time. Bring groups of customers together periodically and simply ask them what they don't like about doing business with you - then make changes accordingly. This constant drive for improvement is what will make you the best in your market.


Also be sure to survey customers who leave to go to a competitor - frame it not as trying to win back their business, but simply wanting to understand where you failed them so you can improve. There are valuable lessons to be gained.



Building outstanding customer satisfaction requires a multi-pronged approach of providing reliable equipment, responsive service, value-added offerings, and constant process improvement based on customer feedback. Putting in this hard work to build consistency and go above and beyond is what will set you apart from the competition. Strive to make your customers so happy that when they learn you sold the business, they ask "Why did you sell? We loved working with you!" That is the ultimate gauge of success.

Here is my suggested edit of the provided transcripts into a coherent Chapter 16 on dealing with unhappy and unreasonable customers:


Chapter 16: Unhappy vs. Unreasonable Customers



While building customer satisfaction as discussed in the previous chapter should minimize problems, there will still be times when you have to deal with unhappy or even unreasonable customers. In this chapter, we will explore strategies for handling these challenging situations effectively to retain customers whenever possible.


Actively Listen and Let Them Vent

When upset customers call, the most important thing you can do initially is simply listen. Let them vent and blow off steam, like releasing pressure from a pressure cooker. Use active listening techniques:


  • Look at the person if you can see them, and watch their body language
  • Don't mentally prepare your rebuttal while they are speaking
  • Provide feedback by paraphrasing what they said to show you understand
  • Take notes and tell them you are doing so
  • Ask probing questions to get the whole story
  • Defer judgment and avoid interrupting


The key is to let the customer finish expressing their frustration completely before you respond. Resist the urge to jump in with explanations or defenses.


Apologize and Ask How to Make It Right

After listening, your first response should include an apology, even if the problem wasn't entirely your fault. "I'm sorry" are powerful words. Let them know you are sincerely sorry they are upset and experiencing a challenge.


Next, ask the magic question: "What can I do to make this right?" This will give you insight into whether their expectations are reasonable. It also communicates that you care and want to find a solution.


Get Them to Let You Fix the Issue

If their request is something you can't accommodate, like immediately replacing a machine, try to get them to allow you to attempt to fix the current equipment as an interim step while you consider longer-term solutions. Frame it in terms of how this will let them get caught up on work quickly. Offer a loaner machine if the repair will take a while. Often by the time you resolve the immediate issue, the customer will calm down and back off from their initial demands.


Go the Extra Mile

Look for opportunities to do more than the customer expects to turn the situation around. Could you:


  • Make some copies for them on another machine to help them catch up?
  • Provide a credit for the copies or paper lost due to the issue?
  • Hand-deliver a critical job they need to complete?


Empower your technicians to take these sorts of steps without always needing approval. Small gestures can make a huge difference.


Assess if a Customer is Just Unhappy or Truly Unreasonable

If a customer remains dissatisfied after you've fixed the issue and offered additional remedies, they may be crossing over into unreasonable territory. A good diagnostic is whether their demands are completely out of proportion with the situation, like still insisting on a new machine after you've bent over backwards to resolve the issue.


If they are being unreasonable, consider:


  • Could you affordably give them what they are demanding, perhaps by providing a loaner or swap with a used machine? Weigh the cost against the lifetime value and potential of the account.
  • Is this a historically profitable customer that is worth going out of your way to retain?
  • Could you get them to accept a smaller concession, like an upgrade credit towards a new device?


If the customer is both unprofitable and unreasonable, it may be time to diplomatically invite them to seek out another vendor.



Unhappy customers are inevitable, but with the right techniques, you should be able to successfully de-escalate most situations. The key is to listen fully before you react, put yourself in the customer's shoes, sincerely apologize, and then get creative with ways to make things right. Customers may not always be reasonable, but if their business is valuable, it is often worth making a heroic effort to retain them as long as their demands are within your means. On the flip side, there can come a point where you need to know when to draw the line with chronically dissatisfied and unprofitable customers. The strategies in this chapter should help you navigate this tricky balance effectively.

Here is my suggested edit of the provided transcripts into a coherent Chapter 17 on treating other departments like customers:


Chapter 17: Internal Customer Service - Treating Other Departments as Customers



Do your service technicians joke that the sales team is just a source of pain in their jobs? Does your sales staff think the techs are dumb "screwdriver jocks"? These negative stereotypes and adversarial relationships between departments are all too common - but they are also very counterproductive for your company as a whole. In this chapter, we will explore how applying the principles of excellent customer service internally to other departments can transform these dynamics and take your company to the next level.


Fix Your Own Attitude First

Changing entrenched interdepartmental attitudes starts with you as the service manager. What tone do you set when discussing other teams with your staff? If you display frustration or disdain, your techs will pick up on and amplify that. Instead, make a conscious choice to speak positively and collaboratively about your colleagues. How they perceive you will impact your own reputation and advancement potential.


View Other Departments as Internal Customers

Just like with external customers, your goal with other departments should be to provide excellent service and value. There is a reciprocal flow of benefits between teams:


  • Sales provides you with new customers and equipment to service; you help keep that equipment running optimally to enable future sales.
  • Dispatch relays valuable information from customers and handles triage; you give them call closure data and parts usage to complete tickets.
  • The parts department maintains your car stock; you provide them with accurate parts requests and counts.


In each case, if you give other departments what they need to succeed, they will be better positioned to support you in return. It's a virtuous cycle.


Go Above and Beyond

Look for opportunities to do more than the minimum. Train your dispatchers on how to resolve certain issues over the phone so they can handle more calls themselves. Proactively reach out to parts with notices of model changes so they can adjust stock levels. Notify sales of competitive equipment you see in the field. Extend service hours so dispatch can offer more appointment windows. Small gestures can have an outsized impact.


Actively Solicit Feedback

Don't just assume you know what other departments need from you - ask them directly. Set up regular interdepartmental lunches and invite open, honest discussion of pain points and ideas for better collaboration. Implement reasonable suggestions and communicate the changes you've made. This continuous improvement mindset, applied internally, will gradually break down silos.


Promote Understanding Through Cross-Training

Have technicians ride along with sales reps for a day, and vice versa. Let a tech try their hand at dispatch, and have a dispatcher shadow a tech in the field. There is nothing like hands-on experience to build empathy for the challenges of another role. Seeing the pressures sales is under to close deals or the stress dispatchers are under when the phones are ringing off the hook will change perspectives for the better.


Say Thank You

When someone in another department goes out of their way to help you, acknowledge it. Send a message to them and copy their manager. Better yet, copy the head of the company too. Small expressions of appreciation will generate more positive behaviors. Gestures like bringing in coffee or treats for dispatch, or treating sales to lunch after a major deal, can have an outsized impact on goodwill.


Bring Solutions, Not Just Problems

When issues arise that require the attention of company leadership, come prepared with proposed solutions, not just complaints. Document the costs and impacts of the issue, and detail your suggestion, including required resources and projected benefits, in a concise summary. Demonstrating this level of initiative and business acumen will get you noticed as a leader.



Building a truly customer-centric company culture requires more than just delivering great external customer service. It also demands treating fellow departments with that same spirit of attentive service, proactive communication, and continuous improvement. While it takes commitment to overcome longstanding departmental divides, the results are worth it. Organizations that break down internal barriers and align around a consuming focus on the customer will have a powerful competitive advantage in the marketplace. And service managers who model and lead this type of positive transformation become indispensable.

Here is my suggested edit of the provided transcripts into a coherent Chapter 18 on leveraging social media:


Chapter 18: Leveraging Social Media to Improve Your Service Department's Reputation



In today's digital age, a company's online reputation is just as important as its offline one - perhaps even more so. For service departments in particular, what customers and even prospective employees are saying about you on social media can have a huge impact on your success. In this chapter, we will explore key social media platforms to monitor, strategies for encouraging positive reviews and mitigating negative ones, and creative ways to leverage channels like YouTube to elevate your department's standing and effectiveness.


Key Platforms to Monitor

There are a number of key sites where your company's reputation may be shaped that you need to keep an eye on:


  • Glassdoor - This site compiles employee reviews and salaries. Negative comments here can detract job seekers. Encourage your satisfied employees to post reviews to balance the narrative.


  • Yelp - While known for restaurant reviews, companies in many industries including office equipment dealers appear here. Claim your business's page and respond to any critical posts.


  • Google - Both organic search results and Google Maps listings are crucial. Make sure you appear on relevant maps and in the top results for key search terms like "copier dealer" + your city. Reviews left on your Google profile are important too.


  • Facebook - Keep tabs on your company's reviews and comments on your Facebook page beyond just the posts you make. Interacting with customers here shows you're listening.


  • LinkedIn - Connect with customers and others in the industry. Share content to demonstrate your expertise and comment on others' posts to build goodwill.


Encouraging Positive Reviews

Don't just wait and hope customers post glowing reviews - ask them to! When you receive a compliment via email or letter, reply with a request for them to share that feedback on one of your key review sites. Make it as easy as possible by providing direct links.


To incentivize more participation, hold a monthly drawing for a nice prize like a restaurant gift card for all customers who post a review that month. Include a blurb in your newsletter congratulating last month's winner. Seeing real people win will motivate more entries next time.


Leveraging YouTube

YouTube is a powerful and underutilized tool for service departments. It's free, content is easy to create with just a smartphone, and videos tend to rank highly in Google searches. Some ideas for YouTube content:


  • Customer testimonials - Record a quick Zoom interview with a happy customer about their great service experience and post the video.


  • Training videos - Show customers how to resolve common issues themselves, like clearing certain jams or adjusting print settings. Dispatch can then email these links to customers to get them back up and running faster while avoiding a service call.


  • Case studies - Interview customers about how your company helped solve a tricky problem for them. Prospects facing similar challenges will find this compelling.


Not only will this content impress customers and prospects who find it, you can proactively share it in sales conversations, on social media, in your newsletter and more to attract eyeballs.


Damage Control for Negative Reviews

As hard as you may try to satisfy every customer, you're bound to get an occasional less-than-stellar review. The key is to respond quickly, professionally and constructively:


  • Thank them for the feedback
  • Acknowledge their frustration
  • Commit to investigating and resolving the issue
  • Take the conversation offline by providing direct contact information to discuss further


If a review is from a disgruntled ex-employee, you may simply note that the poster is a former employee without getting into a back-and-forth. The goal is for prospects to see you're not ignoring complaints.


Dealing with truly irate, unreasonable customers is a related challenge. Check chapter 16 on strategies for when to try to make things right versus when to simply "fire" the customer.



In an age when prospects have often largely made up their mind before even talking to a salesperson, online reputation management is a critical function. Prospects will be looking at review sites, social media pages and more to assess your service department's credibility and responsiveness. By strategically encouraging positive reviews, creating valuable content like instructional YouTube videos, and quickly addressing negative comments, you can shape a sterling online reputation that positions your service team as the go-to experts to trust - making it far easier to both attract and retain customers. Don't wait for some mythical "better time" to get started on this - make concrete plans to start implementing these practices each week and watch your department's stature steadily rise.


Great! I'd be happy to help you convert the transcripts from your Service Management classes into a polished chapter for your book. Here is a suggested edited version of Chapter 20 based on the provided transcripts:


Chapter 20: Optimizing Parts Management and Technician Productivity


One of the most important responsibilities of a service manager is optimizing the use of parts and technician time to maximize profitability. This requires having a solid understanding of which metrics truly matter and aligning incentives to drive the right behaviors.


Calls Per Day: A Misleading Metric

Many consultants in the industry tout "calls per day" as a key metric that service managers should focus on. However, managing to a specific calls per day target can actually be detrimental. Consider this scenario:


You have two technicians managing the exact same number of machines, clicks, revenue and customers. One averages 2 calls per day, the other averages 5 calls per day. Who would you want to let go if you had to fire someone?


Logically, you'd want to keep the tech doing 2 calls per day, because he is likely fixing the equipment properly on the first visit. You could probably give him the 5-call tech's territory and he'd still only need to make 3-4 calls per day to keep the equipment running well.


The real metrics that matter are copies between visits and first-call effectiveness. Maximizing these requires techs to slow down, do complete PM calls, and proactively maintain the equipment. Rushing through calls to hit an arbitrary calls per day target leads to repeat visits and unhappy customers.


While you shouldn't manage to calls per day, the metric is useful for one key purpose - projecting staffing needs. By plugging in your total click volume, copies between visits, average call time, etc. into a spreadsheet model, you can estimate how many techs you'll need as the business grows. This allows you to plan hiring 1-3 years out since it takes time to fully train a new technician.


Managing Parts Costs Effectively

Parts costs are a significant component of overall service costs. However, common parts management practices can actually drive up expenses if not implemented thoughtfully.


For example, measuring "parts cost per call" seems reasonable on the surface. But it can lead to bad incentives, like techs not changing parts when they should to stay under a target cost per call. What if they get an outlier call that requires expensive parts? They'll avoid doing what's right for the customer.


Similarly, giving techs a monthly parts budget is problematic. What happens when they reach their budget? They stop putting parts in machines to avoid going over.


The key principle is that parts costs should always be measured on a per click basis, not per call. You're selling clicks (copies), so judge parts costs relative to your volume. Tracking this for each machine model against the manufacturer's average helps identify issues. But don't manage to it - just use it to diagnose problems.


Some have suggested comparing parts costs to revenue, but that has a major flaw. If sales gives away service contracts at a discount, your parts costs as a percent of revenue will look worse even if parts usage hasn't changed! Judge parts relative to usage (clicks), not revenue.


With this in mind, here are some tips for controlling parts costs the right way:


- Don't focus heavily on inexpensive routine parts like feed tires. Proactively replace them to avoid callbacks.


- Train techs to compare the remaining life/value of a part to the cost of a return visit. It's better to replace a part a little early than risk a callback.


- The biggest parts-related expense is often techs troubleshooting by randomly swapping expensive parts like boards. Teach rigorous troubleshooting to avoid this.


- Establish a structured process to reclaim good parts from old machines coming off lease. This provides a free parts inventory for techs.


- Triage returned machines - send them back to the leasing company, refurbish for resale/rental, or strip for parts. Don't just accumulate a chaotic boneyard.


- Use old machines for hands-on training before stripping them. Rookies learn by taking apart and rebuilding without risk.


In summary, a service manager can drive profitability by ignoring simplistic targets like calls per day or parts cost per call that sound good but create perverse incentives. Instead, relentlessly focus on optimizing copies between visits and first call effectiveness through rigorous training, parts reclamation, and proactive maintenance. The results will follow.

Chapter 22: Deciphering the Cost of Labor in Service Management

Introduction Understanding the true cost of labor in service management extends well beyond the hourly wages paid to staff. It necessitates a comprehensive grasp of the 'burden rate'—a metric that encapsulates the entirety of costs associated with maintaining a workforce. This chapter explores the components of the burden rate and underscores its critical importance in developing financially robust strategies for service operations.

Understanding the Burden Rate The burden rate reveals the actual cost of labor, including additional financial obligations the business incurs due to employment, such as health insurance, taxes, benefits, and various overhead expenses. A thorough comprehension of the burden rate offers service managers deep insights into the financial intricacies of labor costs.

For example, a technician earning a base pay of $20 per hour might have an actual burden rate of $93.90 per hour once all the additional costs are factored in. This underscores the importance of accurately calculating and applying the burden rate when making critical business decisions.

Components of the Burden Rate

  1. Direct Compensation: Forms the basis of the burden rate, covering hourly wages or salaries.
  2. Paid Time Off: Includes vacation days, holidays, sick leave, personal time off, jury duty, and other paid non-working hours.
  3. Overtime Pay: Compensation for hours worked beyond the standard workweek, typically at 1.5 times the regular rate.
  4. Benefits and Insurance: Encompasses health, dental, and vision insurance, life insurance, and disability coverage, thereby enriching the compensation package's value.
  5. Taxes and Social Security Contributions: Employers' responsibilities include social security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes on behalf of their employees.
  6. Retirement Plans: Contributions toward employees' retirement plans, such as 401(k)s or pensions, are crucial.
  7. Training and Development: Costs for training sessions and professional development initiatives to enhance employees' skill sets.
  8. Administrative and Support Costs: Include operational expenses essential for maintaining the business environment, such as facility costs, utilities, and office supplies.

The Significance of Overhead in Understanding Labor Costs Service managers, though not in direct control of overhead costs, need to understand their influence on the burden rate. These indirect costs essential for operations highlight why an employee's hourly wage is merely a portion of the total cost of labor. Overhead expenses can include:

  • Rent and utilities for facilities
  • Non-revenue generating support staff (HR, accounting, management, etc.)
  • Business insurance
  • Office supplies and equipment
  • Company vehicles

By grasping the role of overhead in the burden rate, managers can more accurately budget, price services, and underscore the importance of efficiency for profitability. Allocating overhead costs appropriately to the service department is a key part of calculating the true labor cost.

Communicating the Reality of Service Pricing Understanding the factors contributing to the burden rate is pivotal for service managers to accurately communicate why the difference between an employee's hourly wage and the customer billing rate is not pure profit. This knowledge equips managers to explain the comprehensive nature of service pricing, fostering transparency and realistic expectations among staff regarding the company's financial practices.

For instance, if a company charges $180 per hour for service, but the technician's base pay is $30 per hour, the manager can clarify that the difference covers critical costs like benefits, overhead, training, and more - it is not simply excess profit. This understanding can help technicians recognize the need for efficient practices.

Practical Application: Mastering Labor Costs To calculate your burden rate:

  1. Start with total hours paid to employees, including overtime
  2. Subtract out paid time off hours
  3. Add up additional compensation costs like benefits, taxes, 401k match
  4. Determine the service department's fair share of overhead expenses
  5. Combine wages, additional compensation, and allocated overhead
  6. Divide by the actual productive hours worked

For example:

  • 2080 regular hours + 120 OT hours = 2200 total hours paid
  • Subtract 80 vacation, 40 sick, 40 holiday = 2040 hours
  • $20/hour base pay = $40,800
  • Additional compensation of $15,000
  • Department overhead allocation of $35,000
  • Total cost $90,800 / 2040 work hours = $44.51 per productive hour

Managers can use their calculated burden rate for:

  • Establishing profitable time & materials billing rates
  • Determining if overtime or adding staff is more cost effective
  • Projecting the cost to provide "free" services
  • Educating teams on the real costs of running the business

Regular review of burden rates, especially as costs and compensation packages change, allows for proactive planning and adjustment of labor strategies.

Conclusion The burden rate is a vital indicator of the genuine cost of labor, integrating a broad range of financial commitments beyond simple wages. For service managers, understanding this metric is indispensable for informed decision-making regarding pricing, budgeting, and financial management, ensuring the service department's success in an evolving industry landscape. By dedicating focus to calculating and applying accurate burden rates, service leaders position their teams to drive profitability and thrive in a competitive market.

Appendix: Calculating the Burden Rate—Tools and Resources

  • Burden Rate Calculator Spreadsheet
  • Guide to Categorizing Labor Expenses
  • Formula Quick Reference Card
  • Industry Benchmarking Data on Burden Rates

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