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Ode to the Service Tech

Dec. 4, 2013

Thanksgiving morning; 8:45 am; a knock on the door announced the anticipated arrival of Ryan Snow, Maintenance Supervisor at Gateway Canyons Resort. Four of our grandchildren had spent the night in a cool casita with a furnace that needed a new capacitor.

Ryan had driven an hour out from town to save the day. He was cheerful, super knowledgeable and most effective at his job. He had the part on his truck and in a few minutes warm air filled the casita.

I wondered how many times this scene, featuring a selfless, cheerful, top-notch service tech, had repeated itself across the country that morning. A thousand times? Three thousand?  Maybe five thousand times? I also wondered how many of their customers appreciated that someone had left their families, climbed into their truck, and drove off into the sunrise to provide warmth and comfort just for them. This Thanksgiving morning, we were thankful for Ryan Snow, service tech extraordinaire.

My grandkids asked about Ryan throughout the day and gave me the chance to explain that there are people in the world who care about people enough to give up their own comfort and convenience to help others. They got the message.

As we ate our Thanksgiving feast it was apparent that this culture of happily serving others permeated the resort. Because of Ryan's example, my grandkids noticed how kind and pleasant the managers, servers and chefs were and thanked them for working on Thanksgiving Day.

Yes, We Serve People

Think about it for a minute, when your customers have a comfort issue, they usually have no idea what’s wrong. Perhaps for years their system has plugged along day after day as they gave little thought about it. All at once, what their system provides is absent from their lives and immediately what they take for granted is gone. Since few people have the ability to fix their systems themselves, your customers become entirely dependent on you to regain the comfort they so desperately miss.

Suddenly, the call comes for you to move to action, drive to the job site, test, diagnose, propose the solution, and restore their comfort. This is the profession you have chosen, and at the core of it is serving others. This is why you take such pride and satisfaction in what you do. This is why you return home at night confident you’ve done a good job, fully prepared to do it again the next day. Few furnaces have ever appreciated what you have done for it; it’s the human element of serving your fellow man that keeps you doing what you do.

Technical Know How

Without a doubt, if you are void of the technical ability to restore a system to good working order, you are lacking an essential element required for success in this profession. Perhaps you’re new to the industry and feel somewhat inadequate; good for you—your growth and advancement will actually be more rapid than the 20-year veterans. Keep learning and always be eager to receive instruction for those more experienced.

For those of you that consider yourself a master, always keep learning and continue to be eager to receive instruction. With today's rapid advancements in technology and endless opportunities to obtain more knowledge, thinking yourself all-knowing would be a sorry self-incriminating conviction. Continued learning is the only real solution for boredom and a lack of progress in your life and career.

People Skills

If you are nearing the top of the field in technical skills, consider your need to advance your people skills. Few service techs have successfully mastered both of the skill sets required to effectively serve their customers well. The two sides of the brain require separate study and practice and good sources of information serving both skills. Such literature rarely resides in the same place or is taught at the same time.

If you are being requested by name by your customers, odds are you are proficient in your use of people skills. Technical ability is assumed; people skills are felt, wanted and appreciated by nearly everyone.

Sales Ability

Few professions require the development of technical skills, people skills and sales skills in a single individual. However, if you’re a service technician, you know your day-to-day job taps into all three skills continuously.

Unfortunately, there still are service techs that perceive the “sales” word in our industry as dirty word. These poor souls fail to understand their customers look to them for wisdom and council when it comes to their buying decisions.

Pay increases are most often based on your sales ability in today’s world. You may love to study the technical material and find sales tips and instruction boring, but which one will pay off the best come payday? Sales skills are developed similar to technical skills –study and practice will pay off in both areas of your career.

Rate Yourself

Success in your life and career are essential for continued happiness and prosperity. In all reality, advancement in your career is up to you and nobody else. Perhaps it’s time to take a close look at your performance and evaluate your job satisfaction and position in your company.

Consider rating yourself in each of these skillsets. Then decide which of these three skills you should focus on next to assure your advancement in this industry where we delight in serving others.

Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute an HVAC based training company and membership organization. If you're an HVAC contractor or technician interested in a basic NCI HVAC System Renovation Procedure, contact Doc at [email protected] or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at nationalcomfortinstitute.com for free information, articles and downloads.

About the Author

Rob 'Doc' Falke | President

Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute an HVAC-based training company and membership organization. If you're an HVAC contractor or technician  interested in a building pressure measurement procedure, contact Doc at [email protected]  or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at NationalComfortInstitute.com for free information, articles and downloads.