Limiting Those Dreaded Callbacks

A dirty word in our industry is “callback.” This means a system that a technician just repaired is not working again and the tech must go back to determine why and repair the problem again. All technicians strive to eliminate callbacks, but the fact is that all service technicians will have callbacks in their careers. The key for successful contractors and technicians is to limit the number of callbacks.

Many times a callback is the result of a service technician misdiagnosing a system problem or repairing it incorrectly. Technicians can avoid these types of callbacks by continuing their education through various industry seminars and educational programs. All technicians need continuing education. With the vast amount of technology a service technician will encounter, it is difficult to be proficient in all areas of the industry.

Callback Causes

There are times when a callback is not the result of a mistake by a service technician. Everything may have been done right, but a different problem develops. Or maybe the additional work suggested by the technician at the time of initial repair was refused by the customer, and the equipment has once again failed. The customer may believe the technician made a mistake, when in fact that was not the case.

A common customer problem with a refrigeration system is that it is simply not cooling. There are many system problems that can cause a system to cool improperly. Unfortunately, the customer only knows the system is not cooling and assumes it is the same problem again. These are the most difficult callbacks to handle. Since additional work may need to be done, the customer needs to pay for it.

However, the customer — not understanding the mechanics of the system — may not understand why he or she is being charged again. Some companies will choose not to charge the customer if it is a minor problem, or choose to work with the customer at a reduced price for a larger problem. In either case, this needs to be handled wisely to ensure that both the service contractor and customer are treated fairly.

Using good customer service skills is important in order to avoid upsetting the customer, as well as to retain trust in the technician and the contracting company.

For most customers, if they realize that the technician has made a good faith effort to repair the system, a callback will not cause the contractor a problem. However, the customer does need to feel confident that when the service technician leaves again, the problem will not return.

It is important to speak with the customer and fully explain the problem and what needs to be done to correct it. If a mistake was made by the service technician, then the contractor should admit it, repair the problem, and go on to the next job. Do not try to make excuses for the mistake. Many customers will read through the excuses and lose confidence in the service technician and the contractor.

Marchese is owner of Coldtronics, Pittsburgh, PA. He can be reached at 412-734-443,, or

Publication date: 01/13/2003

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