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Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Featured Client: ASTI 2014 Attendees

Usually for our Friday Featured Client article, we share with you a company who is growing with the help of W.L. May Company. This month we are changing things up slightly and sharing with you a few of the servicers taking advantage of a training opportunity that W.L. May is proud to sponsor in conjunction with the United Servicers Association. Without further ado, here are some of the folks Brad and Todd got to see in person at the ASTI 2014 (Appliance Service Technical Institute):

Justin and Stephanie Duby of T & N Appliance, Grants Pass, OR
Patty, Loren, and Cody Husk of Cody's Appliance, Boise, ID
Justin Duby changing a Samsung door boot
Alex, Scott, and Jason from Lake Appliance, Folsom, CA

Once again, we would like say thanks to those who could attend attend the ASTI this year and truly hope that the skills, ideas and concepts that were shared at the event can help to make your businesses even more successful and profitable than ever!

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Live Blogging the 2014 ASTI: Excitement Continues..Day 2..

Bradley Cantor sends us the following report from the 2014 ASTI (Appliance Service Technical Institute) in San Diego, CA:

After a great day of classes yesterday, from learning about portraying your "value", branding your business, and the importance of first call completes, it's time for manning our booth and meeting new friends. And of course, enjoying ones known for years..
 This year, they have added many new things including a contest to see who can replace a Samsung Door Boot the fastest..Our booth is right next to the action, and it provides lots of laughter watching contestants feverishly working away..
 What new exciting things await..

Paul MacDonald of USA competing in the boot changing contest

Manny Ortega from Albuquerque, NM and Daniel Beaule` from Montreal, Canada feverishly changing the boot.

Patty and Loren Husk of Cody's Appliance, Boise, ID enjoying ASTI festivities.
Bob Wennerstrom from Blue Streak Bayfield, CO talks to Todd at the W.L. May Co booth.
Thanks to Bradley for the report. We also thank everyone who made the trip to San Diego.
We hope everyone in attendance is having a good time and learning a lot.

Throwback Thursday: News Recap February 27, 2014

If you have been reading the W.L. May Blog but haven't checked us out on FacebookTwitter or Google+, you may not be getting the whole story. We use all of those social media outlets to share news stories that relate to our industry as well as appliance tips we have found from other sources. Here is a recap of some of the top stories we have seen lately. A lot has been happening so without further ado:

We start with some consumer friendly articles we feel would be great for sharing:
  • Consumer Reports explains why newer dishwashers need to have the filter cleaned periodically. LINK
  • There comes a time in every refrigerators life where a little TLC and cleaning can give it a whole new look. LINK
  • ABC13 gives us recipes for homemade laundry and dishwasher detergents. LINK
  • The Morning Call shares a few of the common maintenance issues on modern appliances. LINK
Next, we look at the manufacturers and how they have been in the news recently:
  • Using technology that has been around since the 1800's, GE is developing a refrigerator that cools by using magnetism for its heat transfer. LINK
We found several articles that might be of interest to those of you who love all thing appliances:
  • Peter Fabor offers his simplified washing machine control panel and hopes some manufacturer adopts his design. LINK
  • If you like rock and roll and beer then here is the refrigerator for you. LINK
  • The blog "And Everything Else Too" has some great pictures from a 1941 Frigidaire booklet. LINK
Sometimes, the links we post are related to technology, business or happenings on the internet:
  • This article talks about how a small family winery has had success doing social media on a shoestring budget. And as a fun bonus, the post has a clip with an unusual way of opening a bottle of wine. LINK
  • The Star featured one of the best uses for "Smart Appliance" technology we have seen yet. LINK
We close with a few fun stories:
  • After 66 years, a refrigerator can become practically part of the family. LINK
  • Juan Pablo from "The Bachelor" has some apparent ties to the appliance business. LINK
For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Live Blogging the 2014 ASTI: Let The Show Begin

Bradley Cantor sends us the following report from the 2014 ASTI (Appliance Service Technical Institute) in San Diego, CA:

After countless hours planning and anticipating, the 2014 ASTI program has begun. W.L. May Co is proud to once again sponsor this "business breakthrough" training. Having attended this event for over 10 years, I have seen membership in USA, as well as attendance at ASTI grow almost at an exponential burst. It is really exciting to see so many servicers here that care enough about themselves and their business to invest the time and money to insure their growth and development. Their investment will pay dividends larger than they can imagine. On top of the all the educational benefits, it's great to meet new friends, and "catch up" with old ones.

We've only begun, and already I can tell what a success this ASTI will be.
USA President Lance Kimball welcomes everyone to the 2014 ASTI 

Mo Bailey, a certified "coach-sultant", specializing in productivity strategies, gives the Keynote Speech

Tanner Andrews, Dean Landers, and Paul McDonald discussing how to effectively communicate your company's "value", as well as "branding" your business.
W.L. May Co's Todd Shepard, as well as Julie and Ken Oakes of Appliance Repair Plus, Shelton WA, are enjoying first day activities at the 2014 ASTI. (Left to Right)

Thanks to Bradley for the report. We also thank everyone who made the trip to San Diego.
We hope everyone in attendance is having a good time and learning a lot.

Taming the Beast: Organizing Your Inventory

Even if you don't have an inventory as large as this, organization can still save you time and money.
A lot of companies keep a lot of stock on hand. A lot of companies also don't know what they have. Naturally, it is pretty easy to match up non stocked parts as they arrive with the job they are intended for. How do you keep track of what you have in stock so that you can get it when you need it? This is an important question, because if you can't find the part, you might end up ordering a part that you already have. This costs you in a number of ways. There is time lost due to the ordering and receiving process. There is the expense of making a second, perhaps unnecessary trip to install the part you ordered (and actually already had). Of course, their is also the obvious unnecessary cash outlay from buying a part more than once. Those are just the more tangible factors. There is also the risk that your client will form an unfavorable opinion of you because you were unable to complete the job on the first visit. All the while you could potentially be missing out on opportunities to do other work because you are "too busy" to fit another call in your schedule.

What do you do to keep track of your inventory? Some shops use a simple system of shelving items alphabetically or by machine type. That is a good starting point, but what do you do when you can't see your shelves? This is where a computerized inventory comes in. There are lots of solutions available on the marketplace, but even an Excel spreadsheet can do the trick. I would recommend several things you want to able to keep track of. You want to know what parts you have, where they are at, how often you are using the item (so that you can make informed stocking decisions), invoices and purchase dates are also not a bad idea as is pricing info. Like most things involving computers, the set up will not come easy. Once it is set up, though, maintaining it should be fairly easy. If you are in the repair industry, you probably should be thinking about the long game. The time you invest now can show you time savings down the road when your system is up and rolling.

I'd like to share a little about how we do things here to manage our inventory. We have software that keeps track of those things I mentioned as well as sometimes other information about the part. Included in the software is a field for parts location. With how our warehouse layout is designed, even a large inventory like the one we stock can be tamed. We start with each aisle having a "100" number. So that means we have an 100 aisle, a 200 aisle, a 300 aisle, and so on. In each aisle we have a row of shelving units. Each shelving unit has its own number that follows after the "100" number in the location system. That means in the 100 aisle we might have a shelf 101, 102, 103, etc. By having two digits to work with we could theoretically have 99 shelving units in that aisle. That would be a long a aisle though, I think our longest aisle only goes to 50's.  Then to further zero in on the part, each shelving unit is given a letter: A on the top shelf, B on the second shelf down, and so on.  So if you have a part that is on the 3rd aisle, the 12th shelving unit and the fourth shelf down from the top what do you think that locations would be? If you guessed 312D, you are correct and I have managed to explain the system clearly.

W.L. May Company uses card board parts bins on each shelf to keep things further organized. Each bin is labeled on the front with the part number of the piece it holds.We stock several sizes of parts bins that you could use in your store or on your truck. Consult with your parts expert here for details.

We hope that explanation of how we organize our warehouse can provide you with some inspiration to get your inventory in order, if it isn't already. If you have already been keeping track of your inventory by computer, talk to your Parts Expert about our S.T.E.P. program. This program is already being used by some companies to fine tune their inventories and save them money. We would like to offer those same benefits to you. What techniques does your company use to keep track of your stock? Are you using any special software? Let us know about it in the comments section. Have a great day out there and happy servicing!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kelly's Korner - More Accessories and SuperHero Book Stuff

Hey, All,

Just a few things to add to your growin' list of stuff you can't do without.

Does your customer have a washer that drains into a sink?  Help them prevent overflows from the lint clogging up the sink drain with the Lint Snare (OM112).  This is two stainless steel mesh "socks" and a zip tie, that attaches to the drain hose of the washing machine and catches the lint that washes out with the drain water.  You can see how much lint is collect and it's easy empty.

Portable dishwasher with a worn out sink coupler?  This kit will fix most of them out there - 285170 -
this has a new spring, gasket, collar, dogs and "C" clip.

And to keep that washer from "walking" across the floor, get a set of Vibe Away anti-vibration pads - VA1 - just put these pads under the feet of your washer and it will stay put.

Give us a call here at W L May if you would like to find a certain accessory item and we will do our darndest to find it for you!

Have a great week!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fun Friday Appliance Trivia Challenge

So you think you know all about appliances? Here is a short set of trivia questions to test your knowledge.

1. What is a splutch?
2. How many washing machine are sold annually in the US?
3. What is the part number for a bullet piercing valve from Supco?
4. What major appliance doesn't have any valves?
5. How much would you pay for a 13 Cubic foot Westinghouse refrigerator in 1960?
6. W.L. May is now stocking a dishwasher installation kit. What is the part number?
7. During what decade did the number of homes with mechanical refrigerators rise from 44% to 80%?
8. The appliance maker Whirlpool started it life under a different name, what was the original name?

1. Whirlpool splineless clutch
2. According to Ask.com, 7.5 million
3. BPV31
4. Electric Dryer (You could have also answered Trash Compacter)
5. $229.95
6. DWK-6572DW
7. The 1940's
8. Upton Company

O-2 correct: You know a bit, but still have a lot to learn. Luckily you came to the right place.
2-4 correct: You know a fair amount about appliances. Keep visiting this blog to learn even more.
4-6 correct: You know a lot about appliances. Pass some of that knowledge on to someone.
6-8 correct You are an appliance star! Great job!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Power of Preparation

Things start with a few flurries
Recently we had a "snow event" here in Portland. Portland gets a relatively small amount of snow and this snowfall gave us the biggest snow accumulation we have seen in February in over 15 years. As you might imagine, this was a serious challenge for a lot of people and the city in general. We thank anyone impacted by the storms effects for their patience while the storm was happening. When Portland gets snow, we get a lot of ribbing for how we deal with the storm. We don't get nearly as much bad weather as a lot of the country, so I guess we deserve the teasing.

The storm reminded me of the importance of preparation in keeping things running smoothly. The people who had equipped their vehicles with snow tires or chains were a whole lot better off than the people trying to get around without those things. People who had a stocked pantry at home were prepared and could stay home and ride out the storm in comfort. Others with less preparations were out braving the weather to get supplies.

The City of Portland also showed an example of preparation. Due to budgetary considerations and the relatively small amount of icy winter weather we get, the Portland fleet of gravel trucks and plows is smaller than it probably is in other cities of our size that get winter-y weather. The smaller size of the fleet means that the major arterial roads get attention, but smaller neighborhood streets get left as is. The contrast between "prepared for" vs. "NOT- prepared for" highlights what a big difference preparation can make.

Before you know it you can get snowed in.
At this point you may be wondering "what does all this about winter weather have to do with appliance repair?" To be effective and profitable as an appliance service company, preparation is hugely important. Preparation means knowing about the product you are servicing. That comes from taking advantage of training opportunities such as the upcoming ASTI training in San Diego in a few weeks. Preparation is also what leads a call to your door in the first place. That means you have strategically advertised yourself and have stayed current with techniques of attracting new contacts such as social media, blogs, and good old fashioned community involvement. Preparation also means having your supplies and parts ready BEFORE you go on the call. That can mean pre-ordering a likely needed part or it could mean just having a well stocked service vehicle. As a business owner with over 40 years experience once told me, "You can't sell out of an empty wagon".

Like the City of Portland and their snow clearing equipment, circumstances may prevent you from always being as prepared as you would like to be. Like them, you may need to make some prioritized decisions. That does not mean you shouldn't prepare. What can you do TODAY to help you be more prepared TOMORROW? Figure that out,do it and then ask yourself again tomorrow. With steady effort and consistent planning you may find yourself a lot more ready the next time a little snow falls into your life.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday W.L.May Profile: Rob Marks

This is the part of the blog where we share a little about ourselves. Today we would like to introduce you to one of the people that help provide you with our famously fast and accurate customer service.

Rob Marks

Job Title?
Sales/Social Media and Blogkeeper

Where did you grow up?
Long Beach, CA

How long have you been with W.L. May?
21 Years

What did you do prior to joining W.L. May?
Burglar and Fire Alarm Dispatch in LA and then in Portland

What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
I enjoy watching the Philadelphia Flyers play hockey, reading travel books and collecting music. I also enjoy spending time online and have been building a music blog lately.

To what do you credit your success?
Pig headed discipline, a competitive nature and the help and trust of my customers and co-workers.

What do you like about working at WL May?
My customers and coworkers are great. Every day I learn something new and it feels good to know I am helping so many people achieve success with their businesses.

Can you share one piece of advice for others in our industry?
Never stop learning, the world is changing fast and no matter how much you know, there is always something new to discover.

Is there anything else you like to say?
Thanks to everyone who has helped me out along the way. I couldn't have made it without you.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kelly's Korner - Dishwasher Disaster

Hey, All,

So it's Valentine's Day and your lovely children decide they are going to "help" mom by loading and running the dishwasher - and they put dish soap in instead of dishwasher detergent and now you have suds ALL OVER the kitchen - what do you do?

Put the kids up for adoption?  Tempting, but you know that you'd miss them.  Call a repairman?  You could, but you can save yourself some hard earned $$ by cleaning it up yourself (get the kids to help!).

First - get dishes out.  Just rinse them under COLD water (cold water dissolves suds faster than warm or hot water) and stack on a towel until everything is cleaned up.

Next, get as much water and suds out of the dishwasher as possible.  You can dip/scoop it out and dump in the sink with the cold water running or, if you have a wet rated ShopVac, you can use that.

Once you have as much suds and water out as possible, wipe out the detergent dispenser and tub of any remaining soap, suds and water (be careful as the element may still be hot).  Then pour 1/2 cup of vinegar and a couple of handsful of salt.  Start the dishwasher and let run for a minute - if there are still lotso suds, add some more vinegar.  Repeat this process until all the suds are gone and the hoses are flushed out.  Then you can reload the dishwasher and show the kids the CORRECT detergent to use in the dishwasher.  Get them to wipe up all the water on the floor with some old towels - this can be kinda fun.  Bonus!  Now you don't have to mop the floor!

I have actually had this happen, and while you may think you are in an "I Love Lucy" rerun - don't panic!  It may take some time to clean up, but get the kids involved helping and make it fun and not a catastrophe.  After all, they were trying to help YOU!

Have a great week!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Presidents Day

Happy Presidents Day from W.L. May Company.

"A people... who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything."
-George Washington in a letter to Benjamin Harrison

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: News Recap February 13, 2014

If you have been reading the W.L. May Blog but haven't checked us out on FacebookTwitter or Google+, you may not be getting the whole story. We use all of those social media outlets to share news stories that relate to our industry as well as appliance tips we have found from other sources. Here is a recap of some of the top stories we have seen lately. A lot has been happening so without further ado:

We start with some consumer friendly articles we feel would be great for sharing:
  • Consumer Reports shared some mistakes to avoid when buying a refrigerator. LINK
  • The Consumerist talked a little bit about sweater "pills", why they appear and what to do about them.  LINK
  • Angie of Angies list checks into one of the great questions oF our time. To rinse or not to rinse, that is the question. LINK
Next, we look at the manufacturers and how they have been in the news recently:
  • Wall Street Journal reports that Whirlpool hopes to beat the competition...in court. LINK
  • In an attempt to speed up the design process, GE hosted a "hack-a-thon" that involved hackers, startup experts and GE engineers. LINK
We found several articles that might be of interest to those of you who love all thing appliances:
  • The blog "Through The Looking Glass" told us how the modern refrigerator developed. LINK
  • Shelly's World made the most far fetched argument against stainless steel refrigerators that I have ever seen, its not what you might suspect! LINK
  • This is for every one of you who has had to fix a coin op machine after some two-bit crooks got into it. Sometimes the good guys win. LINK
  • The Canadian Olympic Team has unlimited beer in their Olympic House thanks to Molsen and their passport operated beer refrigerator. LINK
Sometimes, the links we post are related to technology, business or happenings on the internet:
  • Microsoft announced a new CEO. LINK
  • Knoxville Biz did a feature on a man who is both a corporate headhunter and a laundromat owner. It talks a bit about his laundry business. LINK
We close with a few fun stories:
  • This columnist may know how to run HIS washing machine, but he isn't getting the dishwasher quite right. LINK
  • We really do have it good these days. This article talks about "wash day" way back when. LINK
  • A refrigerator is a wonderful appliance, but when spouses don't agree about how to use it, it can cause friction. LINK
For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Web Tools Wednesday: Frequent Part Research Frustrations

It isn't as easy as it looks
Researching an appliance part seems like it should be an easy thing. Somethings it can be surprisingly tricky. There are a number of reasons for that. Over the years literature has changed with times. Some of the older models research materials started out as paper booklets, then they were scanned to microfilm cards, then they were digitized for computer access, along the way mistakes can get made, engineering art can get blurry, and some formats that were used just don't translate well at all. Among the many things we do here to make your parts department supply chain easy and convenient, we also can help when the parts research gets tricky. A lot of folks like to do their own research. If you are one of those people, here are a few things that can slow you down, confuse you or maybe even get you the wrong part. It is our hope that this list helps you increase the accuracy of your do-it-yourself research.

O's or Zero's?

A lot of model numbers contain an O or a zero. It can be hard to know what you have.More often than not, if is the last digit of the model number it will be a zero. In fact, I would guess that most of the time even it is in the middle of the model number, it is probably a zero. A common occurrence is mistaking a D as a O. 6's and 8's can also be troublesome on some worn model number plates. Sometimes it can help to try one of those alternates if the model doesn't show up on your first attempt. To confuse matters, a lot of GE model number will include a zero in the middle of them. It assumed that you will know that that zero drops off when reviewing a list of models. An example of this would be found on model number JCSP38B0K3BB. GE assumes that you will know to remove the zero from the number so you end with: JCSP38BK3BB. Often the confusion can be eliminated by typing a partial model number into your research program. Most programs will give you a list of models that start with what you entered. From there it is often easy to pick the correct model to search.

I's or One's?

Another hard to decipher model number issue is when the number includes a one or an I. As was the case with zeroes, more often than not, when the choice is between an I or a one, you are usually dealing with a one. A notable exception involves Maytag refrigerators. They have a popular line who uses MFI as the prefix for the model number.

Z's and 2's, 5's and S

Just a few more examples of letters and numbers that can easily be confused for each other.

Sound Alike Letters

It never hurts to make sure you are hearing correctly
Many times the person doing the parts research is having a model number read to them over the phone. There are a lot of letters that sound very similar such as X, S, and F or  A,J, K, or M and N or B,C,D,E,G,P and V. To avoid confusion we strongly recommended that you review the letters phonetically. You can do this by using the military Alpha, Bravo, Charlie phonetic alphabet, or you can make up you own words. The important thing is verifying that you are hearing what you think you are.

Serial numbers, Manufacturing Numbers, BM and P Numbers

Another thing that hangs up a lot of people when they are trying to do their own research is how to deal with Maytag machines where the serial number affects the part needed. Before Whirlpool acquired Maytag, Maytag was unique in that they would make component changes to a machine and rather than issuing a new model number, like most manufacturers, they would make a note on the research material referring to series number. A lot of people have trouble wrapping their brain around what to use as a series number. The series number is simply the first two numbers of the serial number. Sometimes they will also identify the series number as a revision number. Often the number referenced on the part list doesn't match the series number on the machine. What to do then? You want to use the closest number on the parts list that is over the number on the machine. Sort of like the casino game of Blackjack, you want to get as close as you can without going over. As an example to sum up, suppose the serial number on the machine was 11658481JF. The parts list shows different control boards for series 10, 14, and 20. Which one do you use? If I am making sense and you have been following along you will know that the correct answer is the part from series 14.

Beware of the Word Search Feature

The search tool-Use it with caution!
I get it, we are all busy. Consumers want the answer ready before they have even asked the question. It is tempting to type what you are looking for into the search field of the research program and then quote the number that comes up. Our recommendation is to take things just one step further and actually pull up the picture to verify that you have the right part. Some descriptions can lead you astray. Also, in some instances the serial number can affect the part used, but for some reason the search option doesn't show all the series options until you pull up the illustrations parts list.

Missing Descriptions and Parts Lists

To add a few more wrinkles to the mix, some parts lists lack descriptions of the item pictured. GE is notorious for this. They will use "Unknown" as the description for every part on the list.. In those cases, you need to know what item in the picture to reference. Also, on some older models from Whirlpool there wont be a parts list in the usual place. On these models you will frequently find that the page after the illustration in the breakdown will be tiled "section" and it will have a scan of the paper books part list rather than the digital parts list most models show.

As you can tell, sometimes this research stuff can be clear as mud. Luckily for you, we have over 200 years worth of accumulated parts researching experience at your disposal. If you are having trouble tracking something down, or just want us to give you a hand, give us a call or send us a fax or email and we will do everything in our power to find that part for you. We want to see you be successful, and we want to help make that happen. Happy researching and happier servicing!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kelly's Korner - Best Laundry Accessory EVER!

Hey, All,

Did you know that the rings of Saturn are made up of lost socks?  Sure seems like that is where they get transported to when you SWEAR that you put them in the wash.  Well, I have a solution for this!

Whirlpool has a zippered mesh bag that is PERFECT for all those small items that disappear.  The part number is W10180464RP and retails for $9.95 at W L May.  Baby items, gloves, mittens, ladies unmentionables, hoisery of all kinds - these items can slip between the tub and basket of your washer and get pumped out with the drain water. This bag is 15.5" x 16.5" and will hold a variety of those small items securely through the washer and the dryer.

Going to a baby shower?  Include this bag with your gift - the mom-to-be will love it!  Got kids (especially girls) in college or living on their own?  Stick it in their Christmas stocking or include it in a care package.  And even if they are still at home, each person in the family can use these for socks and undies - sure beats having to sort them all out as to who's is who's!  Just mark each bag with each person's name and get rid of the odd sock bag!

Technicians - this is also a good item to have on your truck for add-on sales - especially when you've just handed over a bill for unclogging or replacing a pump because of a bib or bra underwire going through it.

This is one item that you HAVE to have - buy a bunch - you will be surprised at the time and aggravation it will save you!

Have a great week!

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Motivation

"If you want to succeed in the world you must make your own opportunities as you go on. The man who waits for some seventh wave to toss him on dry land will find that the seventh wave is a long time coming.” — John B. Gough

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fun Friday: Twitter Tweets

Looking through our Twitter feed, we found some appliance tweets to share with you.

We start off with an observation on security and what causes it.

One thing to try and handle is the sound coming from your refrigerator. Should it be making that noise? Luckily, the owners manual explains it all?

Then again, sometimes appliances can be confusing.

So you can't handle the repair without help. Apparently the mail is difficult to handle too.

With better roommates, you might not even need to handle a problem.

You could just enjoy some of the nicer things in life.

Sometimes though, we don't read the instructions.

And we don't listen to our mums advise.

To wrap up this Twitter roundup we found an actual useful tip...

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Are you a Gold Medal Servicer? Part 2

Being the best can be more than just a dream
In anticipation of this winters Olympic Games, yesterday we challenged you to prove to yourself that you are gold medal service company. If you haven't read that post, you might want to review it before reading today's post. In it, we discussed how the medallists answer a call, and how they show up to a clients home. Today we talk about the actual repair and follow through. Is your company "going for the gold" or are you more likely to experience "the agony of defeat"?

Performing The Repair:
 A tidy tool kit makes a good impression

Gold Medal:
The servicer sets up his work by opening up a briefcase filled with several appliance maintenance products attractively laid out. His tools are well organized and in order. Laying out a drop cloth to catch any spills, he gets to work. He recognizes the problem with the machine and has a factory OEM part to complete the job. He does his work quickly and thoroughly. When the client asks about the maintenance items in the briefcase he points out a few items that could be used on the clients appliances. The client is grateful to have those items readily available and purchases a few items from the briefcase, not all of which apply to the machine that caused the complaint in the first place.

Silver Medal:
The servicer lays down a drop cloth and opens his clean and organized tool box. He recognizes the problem with the appliance and does a quick thorough repair ising the OEM parts that he brought with him. He notices that the appliance he working on would benefit from some regular maintenance and he suggests a few maintenance items that he has in his service vehicle. The client is grateful for the suggestion and purchases the maintenance items mentioned.

Bronze Medal:
The servicer lays down a drop cloth. Opening his clean, but well worn, tool case. He looks at the problem. Recognizing that the part needed was not an inexpensive one he tells the customer that he will have to order the part and come back to finish the call in two days, after the part comes in from his order. He does arrive back as promised and completes the job. The client asks about cleaning products for his appliance and the servicer says he would be happy to order that for them. He does so and a few days later delivers the accessory to the client as promised.

The servicer opens his toolbox. it is a chaotic mess in there. After poking around in it he finds the tools he needs and gets to work. At first he is stumped by the problem but after making a few calls he seems to have figured it out. He then informs the client that the repair will be expensive, but he can order the parts in if the client really likes the machine and wants him to fix it. The client approves of the service work and the servicer says he will be out in a couple of days to finish the job. After about a week the client calls the servicer, who says that the part should be in tommorow and he will come out to put it in as soon as it comes in. After hanging up with the client, the servicer quickly calls in the part order he forgot to place last week. When the part comes in he quickly gets out to the clients home and completes the work. The client then asks about appliance cleaning products. The servicer suggests that the client can get most of those products from Home Depot or Walmart, if they really need them.

Didn't Make the Team:
The "servicer" opens his toolbox. It is a chaotic mess so he starts pulling out greasy tools and lays them on the clients counter top while he keeps digging until he finds what he is looking for in his toolbox. He opens up the appliance and bangs around inside for few minutes. Eventually he tells the client that he has figured out the problem and it would cost too much to do the repair IF he could even find the parts. He suggests the client just replace the appliance. When asked about accessory items, like cleaning products, he states that you could probably get those kinds of things from the big box stores. He also says that he doesn't use that stuff. He tells the client that he is a repairman and not a janitor. His closing shot is "those things are a rip off anyway". The client goes shopping for a new appliance. The used appliance store is happy because they got a machine that came in that looked great. Only thing wrong was needed a twenty dollar part replaced and then it was good as new.

Wrapping Up and Follow Through:
Payment by credit card offers convenience to your clients

Gold Medal:
After performing the repair the customer is presented with a printed out, orderly invoice that explains all the charges involved. The servicer gives the client a refrigerator magnet with his contact information on it. The servicer also takes the time answer the clients questions. The customer is given an option of payment types and pays by credit card. In a few days the client receives an email to follow up and make sure that the problem was resolved to the clients satisfaction.  He also welcomes the client to place a review of his service online. When that happens, the client is sent a thank you note for the positive review.

Silver Medal:
After completing the repair, the servicer explains the charges and presents the client with a readable hand written invoice on a printed invoice form. The servicer leaves behind a refrigerator magnet with contact information and encourages the client to call him if their are any problems with the repair. The client pays with a credit card. The servicer welcomes the client to rate his service work online.

Bronze Medal:
After completing the repair, the servicer presents his handwritten invoice on a printed invoice form. He hands the client his business card. When client asks to pay by credit card, the servicer relectuctantly does so after suggested to the customer that he generally prefers payment by check. No mention is made of a review.

After finally completing the repair. A hand written invoice on a blank sheet of paper is given to the client. When the client offers their credit card to pay they are informed that only checks or cash will be accepted. The client then posts an online review mentioning the slow service time. The servicer replies to the review with an attack on the customer and their "unrealistic expectations".

Didn't Make the Team:
After persuading the client to replace the appliance, the "servicer" collects for his "diagnosis". He will only accept cash and provides no receipt. The client replaces their appliance and goes online to write a review about how badly appliances are made these days and how expensive it is to have a repairman come out just to look at the machine and to suggest replacement. The client never hires a repair person again, having been convinced that all appliances being made "these days" are "junk that aren't worth repairing."

As you can see from our examples, it isn't easy to "go for the gold". The companies that do are the companies that grow, hire new workers, and leave a steady stream of satisfied customers in their wake. If your company is going for the gold, you can prove it. At the ASTI (Appliance Service Technical Institute) in San Diego at the end of the month, they will be holding "The Most Professional Servicer" contest. Register for the contest before February 15 and you could win One Thousand dollars. We know that you will be at the ASTI because you recognize the importance of preparation and training. We look forward to seeing you there. In the meantime, enjoy the games and keep on going for the gold!

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Are you a Gold Medal Servicer? Part 1

Are You Providing Gold Medal Service?
The Olympic games begin this Friday in Sochi, Russia. I am sure that is not news to anyone at this point. Personally, I can say that I have been looking forward to the games since the closing ceremonies of the last Olympics. It is so inspiring to see excellence from around the world in sports that are both familiar and not so much so. At every Olympiad it seems there are a few Cinderella stories of athletes who surpassed all expectations. There are also always athletes who don't live up to the hopes invested in them.

Every day in the appliance service industry is sort of like an Olympic event. Just like in the Olympics, there are some servicers who will perform at the highest level and will earn the gold by providing the clients with top notch service and quality work. There are also those that will suffer "the agony of defeat". The differences between the two servicers might be minimal.  As we see in the Olympics, very slight differences can have a huge impact. One thing that remains consistent is that nobody even gets to the games with out training and preparation. Training and preparation also have an effect your service calls.

In this first of two posts we look at two out of four aspects of an average service call, and see how the medalists do things.

Scheduling the call:

Make sure you start things off right.
Gold Medal:
The client calls the service company. The phone is answered within three rings by a pleasant person who finds out the problem, the model and serial numbers, and the clients contact information. They are able to schedule the call at a convenient time for the client. They email the client with confirmation of their service time and photo of the tech who will be doing the work. They are also able to make sure that the tech going out to the job is armed with all the info he needs as well as the parts needed to handle the most likely causes of the complaint.

Silver Medal:
The client calls the service company. The phone is answered by a pleasant person who finds out the problem, the model and serial numbers, and the clients contact information. They are able to schedule the call for service within a reasonable time frame. They are also make sure that the tech going out to the job is is aware of the nature of the complaint and driving a stocked service vehicle. No special adjustments are made to his truck stock in regards to of the symptoms of the complaint.

Bronze Medal:
The client calls the service company. Answering machine takes the clients call. The client receives a return call within an hour at most. They are able to schedule the call within a reasonable time frame and servicer dispatched has several  common parts with him, in case that is the cause of the problem. Again, no adjustments are made based on the complaint.

The client calls the service company. Answering machine takes the clients call. The client receives a return call that evening or the next day. Client schedules appointment for the next day at the servicers convenience . The client receives another call the next morning asking what the the problem with the machine is and asking how to get to the clients house.

Didn't make the team:
Client calls several times with no returned call. Finally someone answers the phone with,  "This is Joe (Or Hank or Mel-you get the picture, the names have been changed to protect the innocent)". After asking if they have reached the service company, "Joe" makes sure the client is aware of the fees to look at the problem. Advises the client that those repairs can be expensive so he will have to see what is wrong with the machine and then he will be able to quote the repair. The "servicer" stresses that even if he does no repair there will be a charge for the diagnosis-no exceptions!

Arriving At The Call:
It's the little things that can make a BIG difference

Gold Medal:
Prior to arriving at the clients home at the time that was scheduled, the servicer calls to let the client know he is on his way. This sets the client at ease that the stranger at the door is who he says he is. When the servicer arrives he is in a clean vehicle with attractive signage. He is dressed in a clean uniform, is clean and showered,  and he has even eaten a breath mint to make sure that his breath is sweet. He greets the client with a smile and reviews the complaint with the client to make sure nothing was lost in translation when the call was scheduled. Before entering the home, he puts on shoe covers with  no prompting from the client.

Silver Medal:
The servicer arrives in a clean vehicle with attractive signage. He has showered that day and is wearing a clean uniform. He greets the client with a smile, reviews the complaint and as he starts to enter the home, the client asks him if he would take off his shoes. He quickly offers to get a pair of shoe covers from his truck to protect the clients floor, which is all the client wanted.

Bronze Medal:
The servicer arrives in a clean vehicle and within a half hour of the scheduled time. He and his uniform are clean. He verifies what the compaint is and apologizes for being late. The clients asks if he could remove his shoes before entering the home to do the repairs and he does so.

The servicer arrives within an hour of the scheduled time. He offers no apologies or explanations. His uniform is clean except for a bit of an oil spot on his shirt. When the client asks to remove his shoes, he complies but tells the client "when you smell these feet you will want me to put the shoes back on" or "I don't usually take off my shoes for a service call, but if you insist..."

Didn't Make the Team:
Eventually the servicer shows up after the client has waited for most of the day. He parks his beat up truck in the customers driveway. The truck has a small leak that the client will notice later. The "servicer" is dressed in a pair of hole-y jeans and his t-shirt has seen better days. When the client asks if he would remove his shoes, he acts offended at the suggestion that he is not good enough  to walk on the clients floor and flatly refuses to accommodate the request.

That wraps up the first two events in our "go for the gold" service call, as you can see it isn't easy to get the gold! Tomorrow, we will look at the parts of the call that happen after the servicer enters the home. We will also tell you how you can prove to others in our industry that you are gold medal service company, and make some money in the process. Join us then!

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kelly's Korner - Michael Moore

Hey, All,

I just want to share with all of you about the son of one of our customers and how this young man has taken his childhood experience of growing up in the appliance repair business into education, training and beyond.

Michael Moore is the son of Kelly Moore of Salem Appliance Repair and Antiques in Salem, Oregon.  He has grown up helping his dad clean and repair appliances since he was a child.  He helped his father start Salem Appliance Repair and runs the business on summer and winter breaks while his dad goes on a well deserved vacation. 

Michael is now a senior mechanical engineering student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX and will be graduating in May.  His list of accomplishments is very high:

Member, chapter public relations officer then regional VP for the international honors society Phi Theta Kappa
Officer and webmaster of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)
Founding president of the Tech Gun Club
Team member of HVAC group design project and the senior mechanical engineering design project
One of ten selected nationally for ASME Petroleum Division's Collegiate Council
Co-founder and operator of Salem Appliance Repair

And the list goes on and on.

Michael is actively looking for employment that will utilize his education, appliance knowledge and organizational skills.  He has applied to several companies, one of which is Whirlpool's WERLD Program. (Whirlpool Engineering Rotational Leadership Development Program).  Check out this program Whirlpool offers - this is where the next generation of appliances is coming from.  Having come from an appliance repair background, Michael is aware of what works and doesn't on appliances, and what it's like to actually repair them and not just design them.

It is always a pleasant - and sometimes interesting - time when Michael is home working at the shop.  He comes up with questions that I have never heard in my 13 years of working here.  He definately keeps me and his father (yeah, we're both Kelly's lol!) on our toes!

Michael - good luck on your career endeavors and I am pleased and proud to know and work with you!

Have a great week!

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Motivation: Our Blogs First Birthday

Today is the first birthday of the W.L. May Blog. Thank you for your support.

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE