Is maintaining a quality service experience sucking the life out of your company? Is your service department a slave to calls from clients at midnight, holidays, and times that pull you away from family and friends? How about from time spent working on your business instead of in it? This scenario had become all too common for the team at Mills Technologies, in Skokie, IL.
“We didn’t have a good plan for handling after-hours calls from clients,” admits company president and sales manager Bryan Mills. “So our entire team was on call 24/7. Whoever happened to answer their phone first handled the problem or, if they were busy, passed it on to someone else. It was a huge source of stress and was affecting every aspect of our lives, both in and out of the workplace. Despite the fact that we were growing profitably, we would sometimes question the future of the company if we couldn’t solve this problem.”
Unwrapping “Service in a Box”
“We felt like we couldn’t deliver a profitable service solution that met our clients’ expectations for quick and personal service without sacrificing our own sanity,” Mills says. Everyone recognized the problem, but didn’t really know what to do about it until Mills discovered OneVision Resources. “They had a complete, turnkey solution, like an entire ‘service department in a box’,” Mills explains. “It would have taken us years to implement a service structure like the one OneVision proposed.” So, instead, Mills joined the OneVision platform, and had the framework up and running and serving clients within a few short months.
More than Dollars and Cents
Having used the OneVision platform for close to three years now, Mills has noticed a steady increase in service revenue. OneVision’s 24/7 support team responds and remediates basic issues for clients quickly, reliably, and remotely. For issues that require a visit to a client’s home, the Terms of Services that OneVision implemented ensures Mills Technologies can bill for every hour of their time at an appropriate hourly rate. With 100 percent of clients agreeing to the new terms and over 100 of them subscribing to a premium service experience, Mills Technologies was able to turn service into a profit center instead of an emotional and financial sinkhole for the Mills Technologies team.
“However, the biggest benefit we’ve derived from the program has nothing to do with dollars and cents,” Mills reflects. “It’s been the ability to conduct our business in a more professional manner, develop a better, more efficient workflow, and create a healthy corporate culture for the well-being of our employees.”
Persona of Professionalism
Mills is a firm believer that giving away service is a huge detriment not only to integration businesses, but the entire home systems industry. It may have been daunting to convert his long-standing clients over to the new service process, but it completely changed their mindsets — and for the better. “We are finally able to clearly demonstrate to our clients that our time is valuable and worth paying for,” Mills explains. The change of perception stems not only from the company’s billing structure — how the customer service team interacts with clients has also made a difference. “If there is one aspect of the OneVision solution that’s been the most transformative to our level of professionalism, it’s been its software and processes,” Mills says.
“Five years ago, we were still relying on lots of handwritten documentation — definitely not the most professional manner of keeping tabs on client communications,” he says. Utilizing the OneVision software and processes, the Mills Technologies team is able to maintain a detailed and accurate service history, which improves their engagement with clients. “With a repeatable process and all of the relevant information at our fingertips, we are able to respond in a more professional manner,” Mills says. “And it gives our clients the confidence that we’re on top of things.”
From Punishment to Privilege
Naturally, the OneVision onboarding process required training of the Mills Technology staff on the new service platform. While some companies resist changing their mode of operations by implementing a completely new system, the Mills Technology crew embraced the chance to “get their lives back.” It also afforded Mills the opportunity to restructure the roles of his employees. “Through the training exercise with OneVision, we found we wanted to revise our customer experience. We were largely structured to handle projects, which is not optimal for customer support. With OneVision, we identified critical service roles, and which team members were best suited for those.”
Most of all, though, the OneVision platform has boosted employee morale and created a better work environment. Instead of everyone being on-call, each service tech rotates through shifts and is compensated with an extra week of vacation and other benefits. “Being on-call is now thought of as a privilege rather than a punishment, and honestly, OneVision has been able to solve or deescalate most of the after-hours issues remotely, giving weekends, holidays, and family time back to our hard-working service department.”