This is how I felt after digging my first hole.

At midnight on Thanksgiving morning 1992 (18 days after dad died and I became manager by default of our family’s Roto-Rooter franchise), my brother Mark called me to tell me that there were still two jobs on the board. . . both promised for earlier in the afternoon. He wanted me to call the customers to tell them we couldn’t make it. Mark hated to tell customers “no.” None of the techs wanted to take any more jobs.

After yelling at my brother, I called the customers hoping that they had called someone else. Neither had. They were not happy. Both had company the next day, their toilets didn’t flush and YES, they still wanted us to come out. I called the tech who I figured would complain the least and talked him into doing the jobs if I would be the 2nd man. I had never actually been on a job before and he probably thought it was worth it to give me a little “training.” The first was a vent job. The roof was steep, but the job was uneventful. The second job was 30 miles West of town and we found the problem to be a broken off soil pipe at the house. It was windy and the temperature was in the single digits. Carl didn’t have the part he needed, so I told him that I would dig the hole (yes, with a shovel) if he would make the 60 mile round trip to get the part. There was little protection from the wind and I was pretty cold by the time he got back. I think the customer was afraid of me and wouldn’t let me in the house to warm up.

I am preaching to myself on this one. Customers have things to do other than wait all day for a plumber and deserve to be contacted. In my example above, automating a response wouldn’t have helped, but in most cases, giving the customer a courtesy text or email goes a long ways. The way we may want to communicate with our customers can change due to many circumstances, including how the job is dispatched, whether you have enough technicians to do the job with the right skill sets, and whether it is “do over” job, estimate, emergency, commercial customer, contract job, etc. So, as with most things in JaRay, you have a choice.

  1. Texting a note: You can set up automatic text messages that sends to the customer at the time you schedule a job or when you dispatch it. Set up the text messages in 6ADS. If you have texting, you are already ready to go and there is no extra charge.
  2. Send texts with Links to websites or website pages. Automatically email or text a message with a link when the Job is scheduled, dispatched or finished. The URLs can be created by our website developers or yours. If you create a page using the Famhost Website Developer (or any other software) and just insert the links at 6NQB. If you have JaRay email, you are already ready to go and there is no extra charge.
  3. DispatchETA This is a new Famhost option which enables you to upload your employee photos and send them to your customers when you dispatch. It 

    calculates the distance from the driver to the customer using GPS. The driver can also be shown on the dispatch map. The customer sees a timeline of when the diver will arrive. You can also provide buttons to your customer for your social media like Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. so your customers don’t have to download anything or remember their passwords. Oh, and you can even give them links to websites, coupons, and even videos! Go to 6AC and check the “Use Dispatch ETA” box. There is a $15 one-time setup charge per tech. You can also purchase photo id name badgesbadge_front using the same photo you upload for $10 per tech. There is no monthly or additional charge.

  4. Reputation.com helps location-based businesses improve their star ratings and online reputation by connecting Google, Facebook, and dozens of specialty review sites into JaRay. When a job is finished, the customer information is automatically sent to Reputation.com. There is no additional charge from us, but you do need to subscribe to Reputation.com. Go to 6AC and check the “Use Reputation.com” box.
  5. JaRay also integrates with Podium.com which also helps collect more online reviews and increase your rankings in local search engines. There is no additional cost from us, but you do need to subscribe to Podium.com. Go to 6AC and check the “Use Podium.com” box.

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