By Dave Smith, Dave Smith Appliance Services
First impressions are just that and we only get one with our customers on each service call. What first impression does your service experience deliver? Technicians presenting themselves in clean, professional uniforms driving professionally labeled vehicles will by default deliver a better first impression than those wearing jeans, an old polo and sports ball cap and carrying a tool bag that has seen better days.
At United Servicers Association we seek to identify the most professional service company each year based on that all important first impression. In order to make it competitive we started a contest in 2014 to find the best of the best. Some have been critical of USA for holding this contest and one OEM has described it as a beauty contest but as you will see from my 2014 experience, it really motivated me to pick up my game and kick it up a notch in my company. Displaying your professionalism is essential to growing and maintaining your C.O.D. customer base and attracting those manufacturers and warranty companies that you wish to do business with. Those owners that care about image usually have the technical part down pat and deliver good service.
I decided to take the challenge and enter my company, Dave Smith Appliance Services, in my category for ASTI 2014. My thought process at the time was: “I think we do a pretty good job of showing a professional image, perhaps I can get some recognition and I might even win some cash!” After all, first place wins $500 and second place nets $250. I did not realize at the time that there were additional benefits…yes, even bigger benefits than I had anticipated.
The process of entering the contest itself was fairly easy and straightforward. It did, however, make me look at some things from a different viewpoint; from the perspective of industry leaders looking at what we do and how we appear to them. I had to clean up a few things. I felt sort of like you do when you have distant relatives or your mother-in-law coming over…you have to do a little housekeeping. Without a doubt, going through the process definitely improved my company.
Well…we did not “win” the contest. We made it to the semi-finals and my peers at the 2014 ASTI convention chose the other company, Guinco Service. They were so obviously the better company that I had some difficulty voting for myself. OK… so second place recognition was respectable. I did win some money that we spent celebrating that night, and the rest we spent on our employees at a dinner later. It was my team that deserved the recognition. I also credit the United Servicers Association and my peer group for guiding me to be the best. Looking up to and learning from the winners is what we do to become successful and they are good examples on how to do it right. All entries are winners in their own way, the process made them become better.
Another benefit is the marketing potential. As second place winner in the Most Professional Service Company I marketed the “heck” out of it. You should take advantage of any marketing opportunities that present themselves and this contest is a method for you to create your own marketing opportunities. Guinco has “Award Winning” in big words on their website home page, as they should. How many of your competitors are doing things like this? Not many I would guess. We all are looking for an advantage over our competitors, to set ourselves apart from the rest. This opportunity can be huge. Just do it, you won’t be sorry!
Contest open to domestic “Appliance” repair companies with service businesses operating in North America. Contestants do not have to be members of United Servicers Association or be present at the ASTI to win. Contest entries are judged by a panel of 5 independent industry stake holders that award points from 1-5 in the following 4 areas of their business: technician uniform, service vehicle, on-line presence and company logo. Semi-finalists will be displayed at the Appliance Service Training Institute in Miami, Florida February 14-18. (www.asti.us) ASTI attendees will vote for their most professional entry in each category. The entry with the most peer votes in each category at the ASTI will be crowned the best of United Servicers Association at the Awards Banquet on Friday February 18, 2016.
To Enter: Submit the following pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. A) technician in uniform, B) Service vehicle, C) image of website and on-line social media presence, D) company logo.
Contest entry deadline is January 15, 2016