1. Moonlighting is not only theft of customers, revenue, equipment and vehicle wear and tear, and the illegal use of the company’s license, it is a disservice to the customer. Sooner or later a moonlit job will go bad or an accident will occur, leaving the customer high and dry, unprotected by insurance or the financial resources of a company that can make the customer whole.
2. There is a good reason for the company to ask the technician to do silly things, like wear shoe covers or plastic gloves. Even when they are not really necessary, they serve a purpose. They demonstrate an attitude of care and respect for the customer’s home and cause the technician and company to stand out.
3. Windshield time presents an excellent learning opportunity. If a technician listens to educational or motivational CDs or podcasts just one hour a day while driving between calls, the tech will benefit from the equivalent of more than six full, 40-hour weeks of learning each year. CDs are available at most libraries, bookstores, and online. Podcasts can be found through iTunes, Podcast Alley, and other websites.
4. The customer’s circumstances are not the same as the technician’s. What seems expensive to the technician may not be expensive to the customer.
5. Customers do not understand tech-speak. They are not familiar with even the simplest, most commonly used industry jargon. Thus, good technicians are good communicators who seek ways to expand their vocabulary to explain things in terms the layman will understand.
6. The grass really isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. Though other companies may *seem* like much better places to work, the truth is that they have their dark sides too, even if they are not visible.
7. Customers are judgmental. If a technician looks sloppy or the truck looks sloppy, customers assume the work will be sloppy.
8. It is wrong to withhold an option to fix broken equipment from the customer if it can be repaired. It is also wrong to withhold an option to replace broken equipment, especially if it is old or the repair is expensive.
9. Good hygiene is a basic courtesy for the customer. This includes showering before work, good grooming, breath spray, and also washing hands when the repair is complete.
10. It costs a lot of money to run a service business. The owner doesn’t keep the difference between the amount the customer pays and the amount paid to the technician. The owner must use the difference to pay all of the bills of the company. If the company is fortunate and well managed, ten to fifteen cents of every dollar will be left over. The owner usually cannot keep even this. It’s used to fund growth and keep as a reserve to cover expenses during lean times when the company is not generating enough business to pay all of the bills.
11. Customers do not want to pay for service. Who does? But, as Charlie Greer says, “all the money in the world won’t help open a stopped drain or fire up a dead furnace. To get that done, you need knowledge and the willingness to do the work.” Customers do not want to pay for HVAC repairs any more than they want to pay for auto repairs, but they will because they want the problem solved. This is why they called in the first place.
12. Company owners are not perfect. While most technicians realize this, many seem to expect the owner to be omnipotent and perfect. They should not. Like the technician, the owner is struggling to do a good job, but with the added problems of the financial and time pressures of running a small business. If the owner screws up now and then, forgiveness is necessary. After all, no one attends “owner school.”
13. Technicians should be teachers. It is the technician’s job to educate homeowners about problems, potential problems, care and maintenance, and the range of solutions to problems. Armed with this knowledge, customers will be able to make good decisions reflecting their personal circumstances and preferences.
14. Fail to clean up the work area, which customers can see, and they will question the quality of the work in the areas they cannot see.
15. It is the job of every employee to promote the company. This means referring the company to family, friends, and acquaintances whenever the opportunity arises.
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]).