September 21, 2015

How Do You Check Up On Your Company?

By Paul Bieber

It’s tough to see something, anything, looking from the inside out. Getting a true overview requires a clear idea of what you are looking for, as well as a method to confirm your observations.

All sorts of thoughts here… what does this mean to a glass company today? If you sit at your desk or get up and wander through the shop, or go to job sites, you can never get a true picture of your company. People change their styles when the boss is around. (If you have watched the TV show “Undercover Boss,” you know what I mean.)

Next time you are out of the office, call in, put a handkerchief over the phone, and ask to speak to yourself. See how easy it is to get to your voicemail, or to leave an actual message with a live person. You want someone to say, “The boss is unavailable, can someone else help you?” As opposed to, “Hold on,” and then it goes to your voicemail.

Better yet, ask a friend to call, briefing him ahead of time about getting a quotation on something simple, like replacing a 34-by-76-inch fogged IG unit. Have your friend ask questions about pricing, different types of glass available, “what is low-E?” and how quickly this can be done. Ask about a warranty on the work, and can this replacement be done on a Saturday so he doesn’t have to take a day off from work?  If you don’t install on Saturday, and suddenly you get an answer that says this can be done, you know you have people moonlighting, probably taking the patio door unit from your own stock! 

Have your friend call twice, once during non-lunch hours, and the other time when a different person will be answering the phone. You may have a cracker-jack person on the phones, but at lunch time, the second team might not be as good.

What about the ethics of “spying” on your own people? You are not doing this to play a game with them. You are looking to improve their training and to check that your systems are working. If you have someone that you think is doing a poor job, then work with and improve him or her. If your receptionist is weak, then train them. Don’t mention that you had his work checked by your friend. Just start a training plan to improve things.

More on this in my next blog, including hiring professional companies to visit your shop and do secret shopper campaigns.