3 Hidden Ways Warranty Work is Hurting Your Company
When there’s no time to do the job right the first time, but there’s always time to do it again.”
The True Cost of Warranty Work
Businesses work hard to earn and keep a quality reputation. They try their best to do the job right the first time, but sometimes the work doesn’t live up to quality standards and requires a second visit – free of charge. In the trades, this is what we call warranty work. Whether you’ve been in business for decades or you’re just starting out, you can see that warranty work is a waste of time, money, and resources.
But the truth is, the cost of warranty work extends far beyond those surface-level consequences. Let’s dive beneath the surface and examine 3 hidden ways warranty work is hurting your company.
#1: Customer (Dis)Satisfaction
When a customer schedules a repair, they expect quality workmanship, service, and efficiency. So, if you don’t do it right, you can come back later, warranty it, and they’ll be happy, right? Not exactly.
Let’s look at it from the homeowner’s perspective. Maybe they’ve taken time off work, have a party coming up, or have scheduled other contractors to do work in their home. Perhaps they are selling their house and need the work done on a tight schedule. Regardless of the circumstance, they expected a job done right the first time. By having to come back and warranty the job, you have broken that customers trust, wasted their time and potentially delayed their plans in the process.
In this messy process, your company reputation has also taken a hit. While some customers are quick to forgive and forget, others will hesitate to recommend you to their friends, leave a positive review, or consider your company for their next repair.
#2: It’s an Operational Nightmare
Returning to warranty a job can be an inconvenience to the customer, the business, and the employees. Management not only has to walk the customer through the warranty process, but also has to find room in the schedule to perform the warranty job.
Here’s the domino effect. Time and materials were wasted doing the initial job. Now another crew must be sent to fix it. Meanwhile, they could have spent their time on another job making money for the company. Instead, they are completing a job that will not produce a profit. You must invest twice the amount of time, money, and resources than was necessary. It will also damage the companies and the employee’s reputation. See where I’m going here?
#3: Loss of Company Morale
No matter how large your company is, from 5 employees to 95 employees, there is a sense of comradery between team members. They create friendships, help each other, and hold one another accountable for their actions. Warranty jobs can bring about negative feelings and could even weaken a company’s morale. Here’s how:
When a team member delivers poor workmanship, it affects not only that employee, but your company as a whole. First, management has to get involved. Then, another team member must go to a (potentially unhappy) customer’s home to fix the job. Lastly, the team member that didn’t do the job correctly could face a negative review from the customer.
All of this leads to a lack of trust within your company, and if warranty work is frequent, could eventually weaken the comradery between employees and damage company morale.
How Can I Stop This From Happening?
While there’s no way to avoid warranty work, there are a few things you can do to decrease the occurrence.
In order to understand how to avoid poor work and warranty jobs, you must understand why it happens in the first place. There are 3 main reasons why a job was not done to standard.
- Poor Training
- Poor Attitude
- Unclear Expectations
Poor Training. In this case, the employee doing the work wasn’t deliberately trying to do a bad job. Maybe they ran into a situation that they weren’t trained for or the trainer missed something in their initial training. Either way, they weren’t trained correctly and completely.
The Fix? Retraining. In fact, this is a good time for your company to examine their training process and make sure all employees are trained fully and up to date on current procedures. Using mistakes as learning opportunities not only boosts company morale, but decreases the likelihood of that same mistake being made again.
Poor Attitude. Sometimes, an employee knows what to do, but doesn’t do it. Maybe they’re in a rush to get to the next job or are simply having a bad day.
The Fix? Management must monitor employee performance. An occasional hiccup is to be expected. A conversation with the employee is often enough to understand the circumstances and take corrective actions. A continued pattern of substandard work cannot be allowed to continue.
Unclear Expectations. Unclear expectations can come from anyone. Maybe the customer wasn’t clear on what they wanted, or management wasn’t clear about the job scope. Maybe the employee didn’t fully read and understand the job description before beginning.
The Fix? In order to ensure a job well done, everyone must be on the same page. Make it a point to set clear expectations on job details, the employee’s duties, and quality standards.
Warranty work is multi-dimensional, affecting company finances, reputation, operations, customer experience, and employee morale. While warranty jobs cannot be avoided all together, knowing their true cost and adopting a proactive approach can help minimize their occurrence and keep your business running smoothly.
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