No matter what you call them - callbacks, warranties, or disruptions - these calls from a potentially upset homeowner are always an opportunity.
That's a shift from the thinking of most contractors, and a shift from my own previous mindset.
In the past, a warranty call was met with a response along the lines of, "Now, I have to take care of this, and what's it going to cost?"
Needless to say, most companies don't put warranty calls at the top of their "to do" list. On the rare occasion that a company does put a warranty call at the top of the list - as they should - it's with a whole lot of resentment. Typically we rush out, take care of the problem as quickly as possible, and down the road we go, giving the customer very little if any attention. This can build even more resentment from the customer, who can end up feeling as though we really don't care.
Over the years, I've been guilty of that. I've resented warranty calls for being at the top of our list because my mindset was that all they took up was time and money. In the past, a warranty call meant pulling someone from our team off of a profitable job to send the person to the client's home. Typically they'd get to the home and find a leak due to some maintenance issue like a chimney that wasn't water sealed, caulking that had worn out, or a tree limb that had fallen and caused some damage. My philosophy was always to fix it, make them smile, hope they refer us, and move on because every warranty call we went on cost approximately $100 in direct cost. That's money that was just bleeding out of our company with really nothing to show for it. In the past, warranty calls were just an opportunity to lose money.
That is, until I changed our philosophy.
In the past few months, I've enhanced a few areas of my business that have dramatically improved my bottom line. My attitude towards warranty calls is one of those areas, and it's had an immediate impact.
A Different MindsetToday, we have a system in place. We no longer take our crews off of other jobs to handle these calls, and we're going out to the customer's home with a different philosophy in mind.
Now, warranty calls are opportunities for profit. When a warranty call comes in, we go to the client's home, discover the problem, and look at it as an opportunity. We're utilizing our entire selling system with some incredible results.
With a different mindset and the system in place, a warranty call might turn into a job installing a water sealant on a chimney or gutter covers. We take photos of everything on the client's roof that we see is in need of maintenance and make note of situations where the homeowner would benefit from a product we sell. This alerts them to any problems that might arise down the road. As a result of this process, we're now generating anywhere from $500 to $800 in revenue on our warranty calls - the same calls that used to cost us $100.
Of course, a portion of every warranty call is handling the problem at hand, but we're also showing our clients how routine maintenance can keep other problems from occurring, saving them future headaches. Plus, now that our management team is handling the warranty calls, we're seeing the quality of our crew's installs and finding that 90 percent of the time it's not our roof that was the cause of the problem. On the rare occasion that the problem did result from our work, we're able to see it firsthand and train our installers so it doesn't happen again. However, it's normally a maintenance issue that we can alert the homeowner to, as well as providing them with further services to protect their home. In every case, the customer is thanking us and is happily paying for the service we are providing.
With that change in philosophy, we took an area of our company out of the bleeding red and into the black.
Don't resent the warranty calls that come into your company. Look at them for what they are: an opportunity. Your customers will thank you, and your bottom line will improve. It should be a win-win for everyone.