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Troubleshooting protocols

As the old saying goes, if I had a nickel for every time I got a call to tell me that something is not working at the shop, I could have retired long ago.

More often than not these calls end up being unnecessary. And they invariably come at the most awkward moment, right in the middle of trying to close a sale, for example, or just when you are trying to merge onto a busy freeway. So I have established a basic protocol for troubleshooting that circumvents 90 percent of these calls.

When an employee flips the switch on a machine and nothing happens, he should make the following checks before calling me:

Is it plugged in? No? OK, plug it in.

Is it turned on? No? OK, turn it on.

Is it working now? No? OK, now you can call me.

I can promise that if you adopt this protocol, you will find that the aggregate number of phone calls you get from your shop will be dramatically reduced. Of course, this protocol only applies to tools that are plugged in. For cordless tools, the protocol is a bit different.

Is there a battery in it? No? OK, put a battery in it.

Is the battery charged? No? OK, try a charged battery.

Is it working now? No? OK, now you can call me.


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We all have protocols. Whether it’s a construction method or payment schedule, for example, these protocols are communicated to our customers in the hope that we will have a smooth, trouble free relationship through the course of a project.