Editors Note: This excerpt is from the book “Invest Your Heartbeats Wisely” by Theo Etzel
By: Theo Etzel, Chairman Of The Board
I also understand that being cordial, interested, even committed to your staff’s personal accomplishments and professional contribution does not address the financial aspects of the big picture – we are in business to make a profit.
Let me share an example. In the HVACR industry, it’s very common for technicians to get paid a percentage of the repair ticket or commissions on parts that they use in a repair. There is a trust factor there when someone shows up at your house and suggests all sorts of expensive parts and repairs – they often receive a commission on those repairs. But how when someone is making a percentage of a repair ticket, can the trust factor remain uncompromised? It can’t.
That is why our technicians do not do that – they are there to fix your system. They are paid a very good hourly wage for their education and expertise. They are not burdened by sales quotas or commissions and there is no incentive to be in their favor for upselling the customer.
Make sure the carrot and the intention line up and that gets to the root of how to do business with customers who want to trust you and continue doing business with you. There is a “why” of those principles that must come from the leader of the company. There is a “how” of those principles.
As a leader I say, “This is how we will do business.” But then I equip my staff with the right tools and let them do their job. I don’t micromanage and I don’t like to be micromanaged. I want to set people up for success – to be doing business and living in that business world aligned with beliefs and personal philosophies that differentiate what is right and wrong.
In the “Business Ethics” section of this book, I delve into the absence of classes at business school years ago and how nowadays, business ethics is part of just about every business degree. I don’t know how to separate business ethics and life ethics
Out team does a great job but that does not come without a lot of focused efforts. Our true employers are outside this building – which means we must have a corporate culture that supports that.
Here is an example: it’s likely that my team knows I believe government creating jobs is garbage economics. They could help with that by not fighting business owners, but all of our employees understand that the customers are really their employees. Therefore, our #1 mission is to serve our employees out in the field. My staff needs our support to do that, and as a leader part of my job is to see that they have it in all areas.
So how do we reward our staff without compromising the trust our customers have placed in us?
We do so by catching people doing the right thing and holding that up in front of the right people in our company culture. We have several ways that that happens.
Our “Ata’ Bucks” system begins when a customer writes in to share a positive experience. In the service meeting or whatever department that person is in, the customer’s comments are read aloud in front of everyone. Everyone applauds.
The technician or whomever has received these accolades collects “Ata’ Bucks” which they can redeem for gift cards. We also award “Safety Bucks” every month to people who remain accident free. Personnel can nominate other staff members for going above and beyond as well.
This only scratches the surface of what you can do for your staff that keeps sacred that bind between you and your customers.