Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

You can easily give your service techs credibility and put the customer’s mind at ease within the first two minutes of a service call – and then you are the hero!

by Charlie Greer | Contractor   http://contractormag.com/columns/greer/best_service_calls_709

Here are the top 10 ways service techs can gain credibility: 1. Put the customer’s mind at ease regarding her immediate problems within the first two minutes. Address the situation or need that prompted the service call first. Then you’re the hero and her mind will be relaxed and open to whatever else you have to say. Develop this calming, comforting and reassuring tone of voice when explaining the

Here are the top 10 ways service techs can gain credibility:

  1. Put the customer’s mind at ease regarding her immediate problems within the first two minutes. Address the situation or need that prompted the service call first. Then you’re the hero and her mind will be relaxed and open to whatever else you have to say.

Develop this calming, comforting and reassuring tone of voice when explaining the problem, how quickly it can be repaired and the price to do so.

Don’t walk in the door and start selling service agreements or bringing up additional products or services until you’ve put her mind at ease regarding her original complaint.

  1. Once you’ve put her mind at ease, do a “courtesy inspection.” Check everything over. The more stuff you look at, the more broken things you’ll find. You’ll quote more work on every call. The more you quote, the more you’ll sell. The more you sell on every call, the more profitable you’ll become.
  2. Be an “active listener.” Customers want to be listened to and won’t know you are listening unless you acknowledge what they’ve said, and demonstrate that you’ve heard them and understand their concerns. You do this by:

Standing and listening, without doing anything else, while they’re talking; Repeating back to them what they’ve just said to you (even if it was erroneous or insane).

  1. Make eye contact. People respond positively to eye contact and associate it with honesty. Plus, it shows confidence, which is extremely important. They want you to be confident. If you’re uncomfortable with eye contact, practice by staring yourself in the eye in the mirror, pupil-to-pupil for about five minutes per day for awhile.
  2. Make a positive visual impression. Your first impression is crucial, and it’s usually visual.

Ideally, service techs should base their personal appearance decisions on what will appeal to the widest variety of people possible. This includes the proper footwear, headgear, belt buckle and undershirt. This also includes your tools. If you’re selling “quality,” you better not be using cheap tools. That sends a conflicting message.

  1. Be organized. This pertains to everything from your presentation, to your appearance, to the way you use you tools, to your truck.

From the moment you greet the customer, it must be obvious that you are:

  • A professional;
  • Successful at what you do;
  • Have done this before and have a standard procedure that you follow in this type of situation; and
  • Competent enough to be trusted to take this job and get it done without being watched.

Customers want you to be able to reach behind you into your tool pouch and, without looking, pull out the right tool and replace it when you’re done.

They don’t want to see things thrown about randomly in your truck.

Don’t spread things around in a haphazard fashion, talk to yourself, or make grunting or “struggling” noises while working on the equipment.

Carry a small mat with you and lay your tools and parts on it while you work.

Leave the work area as clean as you found it.

  1. Get the customer involved. It’s OK for the customer to leave you alone while you’re doing your diagnostic procedure. In fact, it’s often desirable.

When it comes time to present your finding and recommendations, it’s best to talk about the problem in front of the problem.

  1. Speak in simple terms. Don’t try to impress your customers with your intelligence by using a lot of big words. A confused mind always says “no.” Keep your explanations short, simple and to the point.
  2. Do the whole job on the first visit. Unfortunately, for many techs, the focus is on running the maximum number of calls per day. This means often deliberately ignoring repairs or procedures that would benefit the customer but are non-essential.

This type of “tunnel vision” approach can cause callbacks, and one callback can suck the profits out of an entire day’s work.

The concern should not be the number of calls run per day but an intelligent compromise between the number of calls run per day and gross income.

Doing everything that needs to be done while you’re there reduces (or even eliminates) callbacks and cuts down on travel time, which actually frees you up to see more customers and run more billable calls.

  1. Do neat paperwork. Most service calls are run with only one spouse present — sometimes none. Neat, legible paperwork spelling out the work you did goes a long way toward eliminating those annoying after-the-fact phone calls to the office from absent spouses, friends and family members.

Additionally, doing neat and complete paperwork, including pressing hard enough to make the bottom copy readable, goes a long way toward getting the office personnel to favor you.

For more information

http://contractormag.com/columns/greer/best_service_calls_709

Does your company have a written accident investigation plan – one that has been clearly shared with your employees?  If not, please don’t wait until after you need it to establish a policy.

The policy should outline:

  • Purpose
  • Scope
  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

Perhaps the most important part of this plan is to determine why the accident happened.  Also, don’t forget to include investigation of those “near misses.”  These latter investi-gations could lead to the very best preventative measures.

Or go to:  https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/products/topics/incidentinvestigation/index.html 

Is 911 your confined space rescue plan?  Permit-required confined spaces can present conditions that are immediately dangerous to workers’ lives or health if not properly identified, evaluated, tested and controlled.  OSHA has developed a standard plan for any space that meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is large enough for a worker to enter;
  • Has limited means of entry or exit, and
  • Is not designed for continuous occupancy

One provision of the standard requires employers to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue or emergency services in permit-required confined spaces. An employer who relies on local emergency services for assistance is required to meet the requirements of §1926.1211 — Rescue and emergency services.

OSHA recognizes that not all rescue services or emergency responders are trained and equipped to conduct confined space rescues. When employers identify an off-site rescue service, it is critical that the rescuers can protect their employees. The emergency services should be familiar with the exact site location, types of permit-required confined spaces and the necessary rescue equipment.

For Employers 

Calling emergency responders to provide rescue services can be a suitable way of providing for rescues in a permit-required confined space. Pre‑planning will ensure that the emergency service is capable, available and prepared.

Prior to the start of the rescue work operation, employers must evaluate prospective emergency responders and select one that has:

  • Adequate equipment for rescues, such as: atmospheric monitors, fall protection, extraction equipment, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for the particular permit-required confined spaces.
  • The ability to respond and conduct a rescue in a timely manner based on the site conditions and is capable of conducting a rescue if faced with potential hazards specific to the space. Such hazards may include:Atmospheric hazards (e.g., flammable vapors, low oxygen)
    • Electrocution (e.g., unprotected, energized wires)
    • Flooding or engulfment potential
    • Poor lighting
    • Fall hazards
    • Chemical hazards
    • Agreed to notify the employer in the event that the rescue team becomes unavailable.

Employers must also:

  • Inform the emergency responders of potential hazards when they are called to perform a rescue at the worksite; and
  • Emergency service workers perform a practice rescue inside a manhole.

Provide emergency responders with access to all permit-required confined spaces. Such access may include:Information on access routes, gates or landmarks

  • A project site plan if necessary
  • GPS coordinates if in a remote location

Additionally, employers should ensure that:

  • The most efficient means to contact emergency responders is available;
  • Any changes to the project site conditions are communicated to the rescue service; and
  • Emergency responders are willing to visit the site and conduct a joint training exercise with the employer.

For Emergency Service Providers

Permit-required confined space emergencies can threaten workers’ safety and health. Talking with the employer about the hazards they might encounter will assist in preparing for the situation. The following are some questions responders should be able to answer when an employer requests their services:

  • Are you able to respond and conduct a rescue in a timely manner based on the site conditions?
  • Do you have the appropriate equipment for response and rescue, such as: atmospheric monitors, fall protection, extraction equipment, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for the particular permit-required confined spaces?

Are you prepared for the hazards the employer has identified?Atmospheric hazards (e.g., flammable vapors, low oxygen)

  • Electrocution (e.g., unprotected, energized wires)
  • Flooding or engulfment potential
  • Poor lighting
  • Fall hazards
  • Chemical hazards
  • Are you trained for the hazards identified by the employer?Hazard Communication training (HAZCOM)
  • Respiratory Protection training
  • Hazardous Material training
  • HAZWOPER training
  • Hazard recognition
  • Can you cope with other hazards the company may have identified on the site?
  • Do you need to develop a new procedure for these hazards/conditions?

Has the employer provided you with the exact location of the work site?Information on access routes, gates or landmarks

  • A project site plan if necessary
  • GPS coordinates if in a remote location
  • Can you visit the site and hold a practice rescue?
  • Does the company know the best way to contact you?
  • How would the company communicate any changes to site conditions throughout the project?
  • Could other emergencies or group training preclude you from responding and how will that be communicated?

OSHA encourages all emergency service providers to work closely with employers who request their services for permit-required confined space rescues. Pre-rescue planning, communication, and effective coordination of rescue activities are critical in the event that a life-threatening incident should occur.

Private sector commercial emergency service providers are covered by Federal OSHA and must comply with the provisions of §1926.1211. Similarly, state and local government emergency service providers in a state with an OSHA approved state plan must comply with these requirements. See www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp for information on state-plan requirements.

For more information on confined spaces in construction, visit OSHA’s website at: www. osha.gov/confinedspaces.

Go to:  https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html

Determination of who an employer is covering under the workers’ compensation statutes has always been somewhat confusing, and the more complicated an organization becomes, the more the law may seem complicated.

A somewhat simplified explanation of the statue is that every person working on a project conducted by a general contractor is considered an employee of that general contractor, unless the person is an employee of a subcontractor which has covered the person for workers’ compensation.

However, many problems may occur with small subcontractors operating as sole proprietorships, partnerships or limited liability companies.  First, the partners or members of the limited liability company all can decide by written election whether to be covered by a workers’ compensation policy or not.  Next, if those one-person operations do not elect to buy workers’ compensation, then the subcontractor proprietor or partners are statutory employees of the general contractor.

General contractors should actively review certificates of insurance as to the check boxes for sole proprietors, partners and members of limited liability companies.  General contractors who do not practice this procedure may get a rude awakening at the time of audit.

For the complete article on this subject written by Lewis Melahn, former Director of the Missouri Department of Insurance

Everyone should have a plan for long-term care.  And with Americans living longer than ever, this could mean needing some extra help with everyday activities as you age.

Long-term care may benefit:

  • Families who want to help protect their loved ones, lifestyle and assets.
  • Retirees & Pre-retirees wanting to preserve the money they have worked so hard to save.
  • Individuals who may not have someone to care for them or significant assets to pay for these costs.

 Research shows 70% of adults incorrectly believe Medicare and Medicaid will cover the cost.  Surprisingly, they may only pay for some of these services and have many restrictions.

  • Medicare: May cover a maximum of 100 days of services after a hospital stay.  Coverage is designed to assist people during a short-term recovery and doesn’t include personal care of supervision services.
  • Medicaid: If you have limited assets and income and are relying on Medicaid, the state may make key care decisions on your behalf, including where you receive the care you need.

How much does long-term care cost?  It’s impossible to predict your chances of needing long-term care, or how long you may need it.  And since cost of care can be expensive, it’s important to understand the financial impact a few years of long-term care can have.

  • Nursing Home Care: The average cost of a year’s care in a private Medicare-certified long-term nursing home room is $95,707.
  • Home Care: The average in-home care costs $45,468 a year for 40 hours of help per week.
  • Assisted Living Care: A year in an assisted living care facility averages $49,668 per year.

Contact a qualified representative at NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY for a no-obligation consultation as well as coverage and costs reviews.

Bandana's

Whether you are using a traditional grill or experimenting with a smoker, there are several tricks of the trade that will help ensure a delicious outcome when preparing bar-b-q.

  1. Control Your Heat – Make sure your grill is pre-heated before cooking and maintain control of your heat throughout the cooking process. Keeping a clean grill or smoker will help to prevent out of control heat and flare ups. Keep a constant eye on your temperature reading but refrain from opening your grill or smoker too much. Just remember “if you’re lookin, you’re not cookin”.
  2. Low and Slow – When it comes to smoked meats especially, the key to a moist, flavorful product is a low temperature and a long cook time. Try to use tongs only when turning your meats, instead of piercing with a fork which can cause your meat to dry out. When you think you are finished, use a thermometer to take an internal temperature of your meats. With beef especially, this will let you know how well done your product is.
  3. Experiment With Flavors – Don’t be afraid to try different seasoning, sauce or marinade flavors and tastes. Bandana’s alone has six different BBQ sauce flavors and two different seasonings. With the growing popularity of barbecuing, grocery stores are carrying a wider variety of flavors to choose from. It might take some trial and error, but you’ll be sure to find a combination or two that will WOW your guests.
  4. Don’t Let Sauce Be Your Loss – One common mistake that can spoil a backyard bar-b-q is saucing meat too early. Even though a quality piece of smoked or grilled meat does not necessarily require sauce to make it flavorful, it is important to apply the sauce after the meat is at least halfway cooked. Saucing later in the cooking stages will ensure a nicely glazed delicious product.
  5. Never Admit Defeat– Let’s say you’re hosting a backyard get together and you, the “grill master” accidently burn your Q. No Problem. Just call Bandana’s and we will make you look like a champion and give you the credit too. Here’s how you do it… Give us a call, pick up your BBQ or have us deliver, put the BBQ on the grill just before your guests arrive, throw away our packaging, and just like that you become the BBQ Master!

 

Austin Craddock
Franchise Owner
Bandana’s Bar-B-Q
Osage Beach/Jefferson City/Sedalia
www.bandanasbbq.com

Over the past century, deficiencies of essential nutrients have dramatically decreased in the U.S., many infectious diseases have been conquered, and the majority of the U.S. population can now anticipate a long and productive life.  At the same time, rates of chronic diseases – many of which are related to poor quality diet and physical inactivity – have increased.  About half of all American adults have one or more preventable, diet-related chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and overweight and obesity.

However, a large body of evidence now shows that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout all stages of the lifespan.

The 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines translate into succinct, food-based guidance that can be relied upon to help Americans choose foods that provide a healthy and enjoyable diet.  Its recommendations are ultimately intended to help individuals improve and maintain overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease – its focus is disease prevention.  The Dietary Guidelines is not intended to be used to treat disease.  Regardless of an individual’s current health status, almost all people in the U.S. could benefit from shifting choices to better support healthy eating patterns.

A healthy eating pattern includes:

  1. A variety of vegetables from all the subgroups – dark green, red and orange, legumes, starchy and other
  2. Fruits – especially whole fruits
  3. Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  4. Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese and/or fortified soy beverages
  5. A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  1. Consume less than 10% of calories from added sugars
  2. Consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fats
  3. Consume less than 2,300 mg per day of sodium

In tandem with the recommendation above, Americans of all ages (children, adolescents, adults and older adults) should meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  We should also aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.  The relationship between diet and physical activity contributes to calorie balance and managing body weight.

For all details see, www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015.

Vacation time is fast approaching!  Tons of details must be nailed down before you leave.  Let us give you some “food for thought” to help with the decision of whether or not to purchase insurance from the rental car company.

In most cases, if you carry comprehensive and collision coverage on at least one car on your auto policy, you will also have physical damage coverage on your rental car….within the U.S., its territories or possessions, and Canada.

If, however, the rental car contract makes you responsible for the reduction in market value of the rental car after being repaired, you may not have this coverage under your personal auto policy.

Another place to check for coverage could be the credit card you use to pay the charges for your rental car.  Many companies offer some coverage as part of your credit card agreement.

The best plan is always to communicate with your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY representative prior to vacation time.  They can tell you what coverage you have under your personal auto policy – allowing you to make your decision based on all available information.

Enjoy your vacation with peace of mind about insurance coverage for your rental car!!

There are a variety of billing choices for almost all your personal lines insurance policies.  It is up to you to choose the one(s) that works best for you.  Most policies allow these options:

  • Full pay
  • Semi-Annual
  • Quarterly
  • Monthly

You may also choose the method of making your premium payment.  Electronic funds transfer (EFT) is easy to manage and removes the possibility of late pays.  Most companies also allow the insured to pay premiums on their website – either by credit card or a transfer from your bank account.

Typically, companies make no service charges for either semi-annual or full pay options.  There will frequently be small service charges added for quarterly or monthly options.  In addition, some companies offer very nice discounts for the “paid in full” option.

It is up to each insured to simply evaluate all the options – including payment frequency, method of payment as well as service charges – to arrive at the best plan for you.

We encourage you to communicate with your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY representative.  One of the services we offer every client is assistance in evaluating decisions of this nature.

Statistics show that tornados begin their assault in April in the Gulf Coast area and then lift north and west into the summer.  Late May to mid-June is the expected peak period for tornados in the U.S.

Planning for this potential disaster should be an absolute for every family and business in our area.  Here are some primary plans to consider:

  1. First, know the difference between a tornado watch (Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information) and a tornado warning (A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately)..
  2. Have a family or business communication plan – Identify shelter locations – An underground area is best but if it is unavailable, seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Avoid auditoriums, cafeterias and gyms that have flat, wide-span roofs.  If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a sturdy building.  If one is not within walking distance, drive, using a seat belt, to the nearest shelter.  Have a plan for accounting for all family members or employees.
  3. Unlock exterior doors and disconnect any automatic door openers so that doors can still be opened by anyone needing shelter.
  4. Create an emergency kit in the event rescuers cannot reach you immediately. Items to consider are:  medications required by family members or employees,  drinking water, easy to access food items, battery-operated radio, flashlight, first-aid kit.
  5. If backup power supplies are needed, do not use a generator indoors or inside a garage due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  6. Following a tornado, cover broken windows and damaged roof as quickly as possible.