If you have never used any form of flat rate pricing, then a flat rate rollout meeting is essential to get your company off to a solid start with this new service business philosophy.
Since most field staff do not understand the cost of operating a profitable business, it is important in your rollout meeting to stress that flat rate is not just for profit, but it is also for customer satisfaction.
The biggest objection to flat rate pricing in any service company is rarely from the customers. In most cases, it is the employees who present the biggest obstacle to flat rate pricing. It is important that your employees support this program. There will be employees who will strongly resist a change. As a manager or owner, it is your responsibility to clearly explain to your employees that this change to flat rate pricing is permanent and non-negotiable, and they need to adapt to it and learn to use it in order to continue to stay employed. Sometimes the hardest part of implementing flat rate is simply sticking to it.
Step one in conducting a successful flat rate rollout meeting is to select the proper day for the rollout meeting. Studies have shown that employee meetings conducted on Mondays and Fridays are the least productive. Employees tend not to retain information presented at meetings on these days.
To prepare for the rollout meeting, make sure you have thoroughly reviewed this implementation handbook for complete and accurate integration into your business.
Have all of the materials, including sample work orders and service technician repair manuals, prepared and ready for distribution during the meeting.
If question arise during your rollout meeting you don’t know how to answer, be assured this is normal. The best way to handle this situation is to make a note of the question,
encourage input from the participants and then make a management decision that can later be distributed to your employees as company policy.
But there are several company policies will need to be considered and prepared in writing prior to the meeting. The following issues should be discussed among your owners, management team and lead technicians:
1. Traveling to acquire a special or not inventoried part
2. Dealing with repairs that cannot be found in the manuals
3. Dealing with equipment replacement pricing, sales leads and ancillary items sales such as high efficiency filters, UV lights, etc.
4. What constitutes searching for a leak or a short
5. And how to handle any other issues
This rollout meeting must be enjoyable, so you need to provide a quiet and uninterrupted environment for the duration of the rollout meeting. It may be best to collect your service staff offsite, like a distributor’s training room, so you can conduct your meeting without phone interruptions.
Make sure all of your office staff is present for this rollout meeting. Even though there will be people in your company that don’t daily use the flat rate system, it is important they understand the direction your business is moving and the benefits of this pricing system for your customers. Their presence will help them understand company policy and to better explain the questions they may field from customers. The best way to present flat rate pricing is in a lighthearted setting. You may want to provide coffee, donuts, bagels, fresh fruit or even breakfast for your employees before the rollout meeting. Make the meeting enjoyable and let the employees know refreshments will be served.
A certain amount of secrecy regarding the purpose of this meeting can be of benefit in generating excitement. This doesn't mean that rolling out flat rate needs to be a national secret but leaving the purpose of the meeting a bit of a mystery will create even more of a reason for employees to be there and hear the big announcement.
Some ways to generate excitement for the meeting:
Post signs throughout the building
Put a notice with their paychecks
Personally call the employees the day before
For your meeting, provide calculators, sample service invoices and note paper for your technicians to use. We also encourage you to provide small gifts, like gauges, simple multi-meters, inexpensive temperature guns and tape measures, to employees who actively participate during the rollout meeting. It may sound strange to provide gifts to your employees for doing something that they should do, but it increases morale. You want your employees to wholly endorse flat rate pricing and become excited to use it.
Determine ahead of time who will explain the various sections to the service technicians and allow a minimum of 2 hours for the complete rollout meeting.
OTHER PREPARATION ITEMS
Implementing flat rate affects others in addition to your service technicians. Your inside office staff must know how to process paperwork that is billed based on Flat Rate rather than Time & Material.
Before conducting rollout meetings, determine how you will handle the paper flow for your flat rate pricing invoices. There are also various service software programs that can help you track individual flat rate repairs and provide other business benefits like job costing, sales tax reports and inventory control.
Having your inside staff understand how the invoices will be processed will lead to less confusion and a smoother transition.