1. Payroll is the starting cost of a technician to a company. Other direct costs include everything from payroll taxes, uniforms, trucks, vehicle insurance, and worker’s comp to benefits. When all is said and done, the non-payroll costs of employing a technician range from as little as 30% to as much as 100% of payroll.
2. Education is a professional’s lifetime proposition. Only the ignorant think they know it all.
3. Technicians must fix more than the problem. On every service call, there is broken equipment and a broken customer. Both must be fixed for a complete repair.
4. The technician is an ambassador for the company when in uniform or behind the wheel. A technician’s driving habits on the road and personal courtesy everywhere reflect on the company. Since no one knows when someone is watching, a technician should act as though someone is always watching, unlike the technician who was caught on camera by Dateline when he relieved himself in the customer’s bushes.
5. Every technician is a supplier. Technicians are suppliers to some poor soul in the office who depends on the legibility and completeness of the paperwork to do their jobs.
6. Customers are not the enemy. They are people. They are people in distress because they have a problem and need the technician’s help. The customer needs a technician who will treat them as a friend. Friends care. Friends understand. Friends tolerate. Friends help.
7. “Sell” is not a dirty word. Done right, the act of sales is the act of helping someone solve a problem or meet a desire. True salesmanship is another way of being of service to the customer.
8. Technicians are entrusted with tens of thousands of dollars of company assets in the form of a truck, tools, and stock. It is with these assets that the technician earns a living. If not for their value to the company, then for their ability to generate personal income, the technician should take care of and maintain company assets entrusted to him.
9. If a company is not profitable, it cannot afford to pay technicians. Similarly, if a company is not very profitable, it cannot afford to pay much. Since the company only makes money when the technician is doing work for the customer, the most basic way a technician can help the company become more profitable is to minimize the time spent away from the customer. This includes minimizing the time in the parts house, time spent on breaks, and all other activities.
10. *Most* people prefer to know how much a repair is going to cost before the work starts. They hate the uncertainty of paying by the hour when they have no idea how long a repair will take.
11. The secret to good customer service is often as simple as standing up straight, smiling, making eye contract, listening to the customer, and answering questions.
12. Technicians who start their own companies often take a pay cut and a hassle increase. There’s a lot of paperwork required to run a business, including scores of government forms and reports. Many business owners could make as much money working for someone else as they can make working for themselves. Plus, the hassles are fewer.
13. As long as a technician is getting a paycheck, the tech owes the company loyalty and support. Few people will ever agree with every company policy. Griping, whining, and complaining will only make an irritating policy seem worse. It’s always better to focus on what’s right than what’s wrong.
14. Not everyone wants to fix old stuff and face more repairs in the future. Some people would rather buy new stuff. This is why most people, if they can, sell their cars well before they hit 100,000 miles.
15. Taking a little more time to be thorough on a repair is faster than hurrying and missing something, which leads to a call back.
Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable, HVAC’s leading business alliance. For a FREE online tour of the Service Roundtable, contact Liz Patrick toll free at 877.262.3341 or by email ([email protected]). If you would like Matt to speak at your dealer or trade association meeting, contact him at 214.995.8889 (mobile) or by email ([email protected]).