7 Tips for Handling Emergency Calls as a Professional Plumber

7 Tips for Handling Emergency Calls as a Professional Plumber

1. Prioritize Your Work Orders

Before you begin taking on jobs, come up with a way to prioritize your work orders. Create four or five categories that help you to determine which tasks to complete first. The most important work orders are emergency ones, which are putting your customers' health and safety at risk. The next category is "urgent." These tasks have to be completed as quickly as possible because they are disrupting a business or making a home difficult to live in.Medium and low-priority work orders should be handled efficiently, but not at the expense of the more important jobs. Classify each work order so you know which ones you can delay if an emergency call comes in. Make sure all your employees understand the different categories and which tasks fall into which one. That way, everyone in your business handles work orders in the same way, and there is no confusion.

2. Leave Space in Your Schedule

When you first start working for yourself, you might try to schedule as many jobs as possible each day. Every time you work with a customer, you get paid, so it makes sense to maximize your time. However, you'll soon realize that this approach causes a lot of issues when something doesn't go according to plan. Because you don't have any space in your schedule, your entire day is disrupted if there is an emergency, a task takes longer, or traffic is bad.Create a buffer between each appointment, so you have time to handle calls, take a quick break, and deal with delays. If an emergency call comes in, you can use this extra time to squeeze in one more customer without having to cancel any of your other appointments. This increases your level of customer service and reduces your stress levels.

3. Use Plumbing Software to Schedule Appointments

Keeping track of all your appointments can be challenging, especially if you have several employees working for you. The best way to stay organized is to use high-quality home service software. With a program like ServiceBox, you can easily access and edit everyone's schedule on one convenient page. That way, you can see which of your employees has some spare time for an extra appointment when an emergency call comes in.Always label everyone's tasks according to the urgency categories you've created. This makes it easier for you to decide how to rearrange the schedule if one of your customers has an emergency. You can also classify and group your tasks according to your customers' location, so you and your employees don't have to waste too much time driving around town.

4. Display Empathy when Talking to Customers

The way you respond to an emergency call impacts your customer's opinion of your business. Train all your employees to display empathy when talking to distressed customers. Always remain friendly, even if the other person is angry or upset. Repeat what they are saying to make sure you've understood the problem. Then, use key phrases like "I understand where you are coming from" to show your customer that you care about their issue.Be patient, and let the person vent if they need to. Then, offer them a practical solution. If their issue is urgent, let them know that you will resolve it on the same day. If not, talk them through a temporary solution that allows them to use the plumbing system until you can get there.

5. Set "After-Hours" Service Rates

As a self-employed plumber, you can't simply shut off your phone at 5 pm and go home. Plumbing emergencies can happen at any time, and you have to make yourself available for your customers out of hours. This can be very disruptive and make it hard for you to enjoy a good work-life balance. For this reason, you have to discourage your customers from using your emergency services unless there is a true emergency.Charge more than your normal rate for out-of-hours appointments. This incentivizes your customers to just turn off the water if possible and call during normal working hours. And if they do have to call you after hours, you can make a good profit that makes the disruption worth it.

6. Use Automated Voicemail Software or a 24/7 Answering Service

You don't have to always pick up phone calls out of hours. However, you need a reliable way to access new voicemails when you're out of the office because distressed customers are likely to leave you a message. With automated voicemail software, you can direct your voice messages to different phones, so you don't miss important calls.If your business has grown rapidly and you have many customers, consider getting a 24/7 answering service. While this is an additional expense, it can be worth it, especially if you charge more for out-of-hours appointments or work with large businesses that run around the clock.

7. Make Your Terms and Conditions Clear on the Website

Communication is key when handling difficult situations. Make sure your information is consistent and easily understandable on all your platforms. Dedicate a page or section of your website to emergencies. Explain when you're available, how quickly customers can expect an answer, how much an emergency appointment costs, and what kinds of situations constitute an emergency. That way, you set realistic expectations.Emergency calls are important because they boost your income and strengthen your reputation. However, you have to come up with a plan for how to handle them, so they don't disrupt your schedule and make your workload hard to manage. Send us a message at ServiceBox to find out more about our plumbing software. We can help you keep track of your schedule and communicate effectively with your customers.

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