Undercover Boss Analysis of Rick Arquilla: COO of Roto-Rooter
Name: Rick Arquilla
Title: COO and President of Roto-Rooter
Headquarters: Cincinnati, OH
Product or Service: plumbing and drain cleaning services
In this week’s episode of “Undercover Boss”, Rick Arquilla, COO and President of Roto-Rooter, tries his luck at residential plumbing, customer service, and metal working jobs.
Position 1: Residential Plumbing Service
Overview: “Hank” accompanies Darrell on a few house service calls, plumbing their little hearts out.
Result: Rick learns that Darrell has had some health problems, and recently spent time in the hospital. The cost was not covered by his health care.
How he made amends: Rick investigates his insurance claim, and discovers that it was filled out incorrectly. His company will now suddenly cover the expenses. Simply amazing.
He also threw in an entire home gym set for Darrell’s home. But wait – there’s more! He also provides him with all of his health food store groceries!
What he should have done: Once again we have a CEO with a decent concept, but with poor execution. He’s teaching the man how to fish instead of giving him fish. Well, technically he’s giving fish, too.
The issue here is that he could better maximize the benefit of purchasing gym equipment by instead providing a gym, or even just gym memberships, to all the employees, not just Darrell. Is he the only plump plumber at Roto-Rooter? I’m leaning towards “hell no.”
Boss Pro Tip: Healthy workers get sick less often, and cut down on health care costs.
Position 2: Call Center Dispatch Operator
Overview: Candace spends a few hours teaching “Hank” how to use the company software to answer calls, and schedule new jobs using a color-coded system.
Result: Rick, being color blind, has little success using the system (which he designed somehow). He also learns that Candace has a child with autism, and a large mortgage debt.
How he made amends: Rick decides to have the company pay to enroll her child in Chicago’s best autism program. He also provides her with $5,000 to use towards her mortgage.
What he should have done: Rick was so focused on Candace’s problems, and ends up missing another problem – his software system. They displayed a few screen shots during the clip, and I have to say, my TI-81 Graphing Calculator from high school is more advanced. Rick, ever heard of usability testing?
Position 3: Sewer Technician
Overview: Chris teaches “Hank” how to to stick his hose in the hole and spray. That’s what she said.
Result: Rick learns that Chris is battling with an alcohol addiction, much like his own father.
How he made amends: Rick is touched by Chris’ story, and asks him to travel to different Roto-Rooter sites spreading his story of alcohol addiction.
What he should have done: I understand Rick was emotionally tied to Chris’ story, but he certainly put Chris on the spot during the exit interview. He might as well have said “Chris, I’d like you to make the rest of the company painfully aware of the fact that you are just getting over a drug addiction. For no additional pay.”
Pop quiz: If your in Chris’ shoes, do you tell the COO of the company that you refuse? Or do you accept his “generous” offer? Either way, you’re wrong.
Position 4: Drain Technician
Overview: “Hank” is paired with Henry, and assists with running a tiny camera down a clogged pipe. Henry offers an elderly woman a deeply discounted rate.
Result: Rick notes that Henry not only provides support to the other drain technicians through his cell phone, but also supports his son’s basketball team by arranging for their transportation to the courts after work where he coaches them.
How he made amends: Rick starts by giving Henry a 15 person van to assist in the transportation of his basketball team. He tops it off with a promotion and raise.
What he should have done: At one point in this clip, Henry cuts a deal with the customer, charging under half of what they usually charge. That tell’s me two things:
- Henry is a super nice guy.
- Roto-Rooter’s prices are probably priced too high.
Rick accounted for number 1, but may want to consider investigating the proper price point for their services. It may need to be flushed out a bit more. Yep, that was a pun.
Position 5: Manufacturing Plant Welder
Overview: “Hank” spends the day in master welder Dan’s shoes, but winds up welding his foot on accident.
Result: Dan relays his concern over his job security to Rick, along with his love of old muscle cars.
How he made amends: Rick promises that Dan and the other manufacturing jobs at his plant are there to stay, and will not be outsourced. His also buys them a car garage to work on their rides.
What he should have done: Clearly the manufacturing employees are concerned about their future at Roto-Rooter. Rick’s promise is a start, but we all know promises can be broken.
How can the employees prove that they are worth keeping around? One option is to learn how to do more than just weld. Rick can assist with this one, by providing training and resources. Pay for them to take a night school course or two.
For the COO of one of the world’s biggest plumbing companies, Rick sure let a few opportunities slip down the drain. The job scheduling software, the gym, the outsourcing…
We’re not sure if he’s color blind, or just plain blind.
Don’t like our grade? Drop us a rebuttal, and leave a comment below.