Charlie Greer is presenting a year-long series describing his procedure on running service calls. This is his 11th installment. FIND THE OTHER 10 AT: contractingbusiness.com/author/charlie-greer.
There are times when customers buy, but aren’t overly happy about the price, the amount of work required, or life in general; and you can tell they’re kind of mad you. That’s not the ideal situation, but it’s good enough for the time being. The manner in which you work can win over unhappy, even irate customers … and anyone can do it.
Once they’ve agreed to go ahead with the work and signed on for it, at your earliest convenience, call dispatch and tell them how long you’ll be. Don’t forget to take into account the amount of time it takes to clean up, store your tools, dispose of trash, do your paperwork, and consult with the customer at the end of the job. That can take a half-hour or so.
Pace yourself. Don’t do rush work. Always double-check your work. Measure twice and cut once.
Your Tools, and How You Care for Them
Your tools, and your care of them, speak volumes about you. Your tolls must be of high quality. It’s hypocritical to tell your customers that they should buy “quality” when you’re not buying quality yourself. Customers notice when you use high-end tools, and they will comment on them.
Set Your Work Area Up Neatly
Lay out clean mats or drop cloths, and lay your tools on a small mat, and set it up like a dental tray. Line them up parallel with each other and group tools of the same type together.
Lay Your Parts Out on Another Small Mat
Line the parts up in such a manner that the part that gets installed first is closest, what goes on second is next, and so on.
Keep a small trash receptacle nearby.
Lay out everything you’ll need to do your brazing right in front of you, in a very neat line, and have a small fire extinguisher nearby.
Speak as little as possible. Every word that comes out of your mouth is nothing more than an opportunity to complicate the issue and delay you.
Spray some WD-40 on a shop cloth, then, just about every time you use a tool, run through the cloth before setting it down. Handle all your parts and tools with this “quiet reverence.” Store your tools in a high quality tool box, and keep them nearly arranged. Customers love it when they see a nice organized truck and think poorly of you when they don’t. Your truck and your tools are your life’s work and your livelihood. You should take good care of them and treat them with respect.
How much extra time does it take to work neatly like this? None! It does not take extra time to work neatly. Working neatly, and having everything organized and within an arm’s reach, saves you time.
When you keep your truck and your tools neat, you take pride in them and feel good about what you’re doing.
Don’t be one of these techs who can’t work without an audience. You don’t need to keep the customer involved while you’re working. Don’t keep a running monologue going while you’re working and you don’t explain everything you’re doing. A lot of talk wears people out, and invites unnecessary questions and wastes time. Speak as little as possible. Every word that comes out of your mouth is nothing more than an opportunity to complicate the issue and delay you.
Don’t talk to the equipment, your tools, or yourself
Don’t run or even walk very quickly. Don’t make any quick hand movements. They make customers nervous. If you need to go out to your truck and get something, don’t knock on the door or ring the doorbell unless you are accidentally locked out.
Quality of Workmanship
Pace yourself. Don’t do rush work. Always double-check your work. Measure twice and cut once. Don’t leave tool marks on parts. Don’t leave drip marks or make burn marks on anything when you braze. When something is supposed to be level, use a level.
When something is supposed to be plumb, use a plumb line. Make everything as perfect as you possibly can. If you ever catch yourself saying, “Good enough,” it’s not good enough.
Sign every part you install with your felt-tip pen. Customers are very impressed when they learn you sign your work. It demonstrates you take great pride in what you’ve done. Completely remove all stickers from parts. Put company stickers wherever appropriate.
Working in this manner can convert a customer who was very critical of you into a huge fan, and will definitely get you compliments, which really adds to your overall job satisfaction.