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A day in the life of a service manager


et’s embrace the Service Manager (SM) position. Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” The “end” or the goal of the SM is to have the

people who report to you — the service techs and the dispatcher — performing at or above minimum standards of performance. Your job as SM is to help people grow and succeed under your care. It’s an awesome responsibility, and it can be a super satisfying career. First, let’s break through a few management myths. Then

let’s visualize an ideal day in the life of a service manager. The problem with the word manager. Have you ever

noticed this: Someone gets promoted to manager because they are a fireball of energy and productivity? Then he or she becomes a chair-bound bossypants who never seems to actually do anything. My theory is that this is the “Mr. Slate Syndrome”; you know, the kids’ TV cartoon program, The Flintstones. Mr. Slate is Fred Flintstone’s boss. By age five, this image of a manager was chiseled into my psyche: You strike fear into people by yelling, demanding and having smoke pour out of your ears: That’s how you get what you want. Based on what I have experienced, there are a lot of

other managers who learned their craft from Mr. Slate on Saturday mornings. To be fair, a stereotype is what you fall back on unless you have another mentor or management model. So, let’s shed these myths: •Management is a desk job. •Managing others depends on wielding your superior

status on the organizational chart. •Managing others involves raising your voice. •Managers have a different set of rules than others. Let’s adopt a new management model: Management is

about helping people — in the field and in the office — be successful. It is about leading by example and holding to high personal and professional standards. It is about helping a person with basic capacity and willingness meet and exceed expectations and measurable objectives. Management is about the relationships that you develop with people who are aligned with common goals. Now, let’s envision the ideal day in the life of a SM. It

may go something like this… Start the day. Greet everyone you see with a “Good

Morning” handshake. Look in their eyes and smile. Check your email and update your calendar. Review yesterday. Celebrate what you got done. Move forward (delegate?) what you didn’t. Respond to emails that need a response. Listen to or read something inspirational. Check in with the dispatcher, installation manager and

service techs. Any late-breaking news? Weather issues? Anyone not coming in today? Update the dispatch schedule and assign people-power. TIP: Keep the drama to a minimum by “timing out” the story. Just the facts, ma’am. Invoice by invoice. Visit with the techs as they finish

yesterday’s paperwork and update their scorecards. Don’t neglect to notice someone’s very good day or rockin’ invoice. Brag on them in front of the team. Ask them to relive or replay a positive interaction with a customer.

Notice when a new kid has a breakthrough in their technical skills. Catch people doing the right things. Notice when someone had a rough day the day before and privately encourage them to “catch the next one.” Invoice by invoice, job by job, note what is happening with your team. The sales and service meeting. Once a week, hold a

meeting that celebrates sales and good customer service. Update the scoreboards. Announce bonus achievers and contest winners. Develop product knowledge of a new item. Incorporate the marketing messages your marketing department is sending out. Role play the whole sales process and incorporate the technical training. Have some fun together. Individual scorecard check. Visit individually and

privately with each service tech once a week. Take five minutes and acknowledge winning performance. If the tech is struggling, schedule a ride-along. You can’t figure out what is going wrong from behind a desk. Customer challenges and employee issues. Yes, you are

the “buck stops here” person for customer complaints. Decide that you are going to enjoy the opportunity to turn around a frustrating situation. It’s a wonderful skill to develop. Model good communication skills and involve the appropriate team members. It’s your job to notice “willingness violations.” If

someone is breaking the rules, take them through the disciplinary process. Save the drama. Be succinct and be fair. Intend to help them get back on track. If you have to fire someone, know that that may be just what they need to go win somewhere else. Jump into the training center to check or correct a

tech’s technical understanding. Crack out the operations manual and go through the paces. The ride-along. Could you spend at least a half day

every week on ride-alongs? Sure you can. Project time, meeting time. Schedule time to work on

things above and beyond the day-to-day duties. If you don’t plan your time, someone else will, or it will slip through your fingers. Be conscious of the control you have over your own life and plan it. Work on projects (like your operations manual.) Participate in meaningful meetings. Meetings are a good way to communicate. Make sure you are operating with an agenda and that only the required people attend. Start and stop on time. Update notes and due dates for milestones on your calendar. You win some; you lose some. You are just not going to

get everything done every day. And other stuff will come up. You have to choose. What are you going to do and what are you going to neglect? You have to live with the fallout. You win some; you lose some. Aim for more wins than loses. Every day. Plan, execute, debrief and adjust; and say

goodbye to Mr. Slate. l Comments? Questions? A different view? Reach me at

417/753-1111 or You can also join the Bare Bones Biz community at free problem-solving Webinars and money making tools.

phc december 2011

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