Helping Employees Achieve Work-Life Balance

It’s possible to always provide for customers in their time of need while still ensuring your employees maintain a healthy balance between work and their personal lives

Helping Employees Achieve Work-Life Balance

Frasier's Plumbing

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In this industry, it’s hard not to provide customers 24/7 service. When marketing your company, it’s an easy way to catch people’s attention. And if you successfully handle someone’s after-hours emergency call, there’s a good chance you have a customer for life.

The downside, of course, is that you and/or your employees actually have to be available 24/7. Work-life balance is as important as providing customers optimal service. Here are a couple of examples of approaches that companies take to achieve that.

At Frasier’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, the company puts great emphasis on providing technicians a consistent work schedule. The company still considers itself a 24/7, emergency services firm, but a lot of discretion is used to determine which calls are truly emergencies that require after-hours service.

“We’re realizing it’s important for our guys to have time at home, so we try to have their last call finish around 4 or 4:30 p.m.,” says Phil Frasier, co-owner. “It used to be that we’d have everybody available for any call that came in before 5 p.m. We’d have them just keep going, and they’d sometimes not get home until 8 p.m. We’re trying to change that and focus on our employees and their quality of life.”

Frasier’s Plumbing codes all calls on a 1 to 5 scale to determine how critical they are to take care of immediately, and employees are trained on how to communicate with customers in order to delay service if something is not an emergency. 

“We’re still a 24/7 operation. I think we need to be. We’re just doing it a little bit differently,” Frasier says. “If somebody calls and says, ‘My shower is dripping. Can someone come out? I’m willing to pay the extra after-hours fee,’ we’re not going to go. We’ll talk them through it and give them an incentive to wait until the next day. Now, if they have no water at all, we’re going to go. We keep one person on call for plumbing and one person on call for heating, and we’ll get everybody else home. Those on-call people know they might have an emergency or two to turn. That’s how we’ve been doing it instead of running every single call that comes in.”

Lutz Plumbing
Lutz Plumbing

At Lutz Plumbing in Shawnee, Kansas, the company knows that part of good customer service is helping technicians strike a solid work-life balance because it keeps them invigorated about their work. For example, the company currently is developing a system where some technicians would work second and third shifts that would then allow the company to provide 24-hour service without having any technicians on call.

“Our guys have lives, too,” says Amber Lutz-Sewell, co-owner. “Dad (Jim Lutz, co-owner) taught me to always do whatever you can for customers while also keeping in mind our internal customers — our employees. Finding that balance is so important.

“Having technicians available during different shifts also would benefit customers because they wouldn’t have to pay an extra charge for after-hours calls. This goes back to customer service and making ourselves available for people in their time of need.”


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