Are you glad you went into service? by Charlie Greer

Are your employees satisfied with their lot in life?

Most of the techs I've ridden with enjoy the technical aspects of the job as well as the challenge and variety it offers.

Unfortunately, many of them complain bitterly of poor job satisfaction, primarily due resentment arising from a feeling of being over-worked, unappreciated and under paid.

I see a lot of this stemming from a perception of having lost control over their lives, their work activities and their careers.

Charlie Greer

I have found that, no matter what I'm doing, it's not what is happening around me that is important and it's not what is happening to me that is important. It's what is happening in me that is important.

If you were just given a gift certificate from "The Supermarket of Life" and could have any job you want, what job would you choose?

Can you believe that most people I've asked that question haven't got a clue?

Most people did not deliberately choose their career and feel "stuck" doing what they’re doing.

I used to believe that I wanted to be an eye doctor. I even went so far as to become a Licensed Optician in the hopes of working my way up in the field. I wasn't fully aware of this at the time, but now I know that when I said I wanted to be a doctor, what I really meant was that I wanted a title, status, two luxury cars and a mansion. I didn't want any of the practical aspects of the medical profession, like dealing with complaining patients I couldn't help, horrendous hours, skyrocketing overhead, legislation like you wouldn't believe and liabilities and lawyers hounding you at every corner.

I got out of the eye business and took a job as a trainee in a heating and air conditioning firm to tide me over until I could figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

I began analyzing the impact my choice of careers would have on my life and I realized that between getting ready for work, commuting to and from work, working, talking about work and worrying about work, work will consume about two-thirds of my life. I asked myself, "What qualities do I want my work to contribute to my life?

I want:

  • To be treated with respect 
  • To like who I work with 
  •  Variety
  • To help people 
  •  To do something interesting 
  •  To be able to take pride in my work 
  •  To be able to take responsibility for my own actions 
  •  Security 
  •  A feeling of accomplishment 
  •  To be able to pay my bills.

Having defined that, the following questions arose:

If I am enjoying all these qualities in my work, does it make any difference what I actually do for a living? Since these are the qualities I want in my job, have I been actively seeking these qualities? Can I enjoy these qualities in my current job if I set that as my goal? Would I would be smart to write down what I want out of my job and look at it every day? This introspection helped me to begin working more consciously; to become aware of the choices I make in my life and how they affect my work.

This thought process let to a little experiment I tried on myself. I said to myself, "For just this next call, I’m not going to worry about fixing it right the first time. I’m not going to think about the paperwork, trying to sell them something or even being a good representative for the company. On this next call, I’m going to try to be treated with respect, like who I work with, do something I can take pride in, help people, is interesting, provides me with variety, that I can feel responsible for, will give me some security and a feeling of accomplishment, as well as a financial reward. How about that?"

Obviously fixing it right the first time, doing neat and complete paperwork, being a good representative of the company and cooperating with the boss will enhance my career. The difference is, now I’m doing it for my own benefit as opposed to doing it because I feel "forced" to.

Most of us do not need any additional training to do our job better. Most of us already know how to do our job better than we are doing it, it's just a matter of motivation.

People don't like to be controlled or talked down to, and that's exactly how I find most service departments are managed.

Take away your service techs' freedom of choice and you take their professional pride with it.

What to do about all of this? Ask your service techs the very same questions I've listed above. You can do it individually or you can do it in a meeting. Give them the freedom to live consciously and work consciously. Let them know they have freedom of choice. Take the bold step that a lot of highly profitable companies in many industries are taking and tell your service techs than no one is required to enforce a company policy that they do not personally believe in. From there, the motivation must come from within.

Will this work for every single service tech? Some will rise to the occasion and others will not. Some will surprise you. I have worked with techs who were accustomed to showing up for work late, unshaven, wearing torn jeans and an earring, who cleaned up their act after a couple days of working under this type of management. Sometimes loosening up on the leash will keep them from pulling against it.

When employees don't respect you as a person; if you're not, in their estimation, someone they can take pride in representing, they'll do a lousy job of it. Liking you and respecting you doesn't mean you have to pal around with them or give them everything they want. You don't need to be perfect or a technical wiz to earn their respect, either. Your service techs will return as much courtesy and respect to you as you give them.

People tend to reflect back to you what you project to them. If you think poorly of them, it will show, and they will think poorly of you. Most of the contractors I've met who have a low opinion of service techs have got service tech problems.

"How is it that some companies get all the worst service techs in town?" The answer is, they don't get all the worst techs in town. They take average employees, some of whom possess the capacity for greatness, and make them the worst techs in town.

Are you really interested in motivating your techs?

Do you want your techs to have a higher average service call?

Do you want your techs to start selling a service agreement on nearly every call?

NEWS FLASH: It's not going to happen by itself!

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