What a great topic, right? But I bet you don’t need me to tell you what a technician should do on a service call, much less every service call. How about we give the “water cooler” version of five things a tech should do on every service call?

Imagine a group of high-dollar, smart-aleck, arrogant executives standing around the water cooler, expounding their infinite wisdom about everything in life. Then, one of them tells the following story.

Last week, my husband invited me for a romantic getaway. You know, just the two of us. And he said I should bring that new swimming suit I bought for the beach. Well, of course I began to imagine me in a nice evening gown and him in his best Hawaiian shirt, enjoying specialty drinks at a beautiful resort. Through the open veranda you could hear the ocean surf and drums of the Tiki dancers as they lit the torches around the pools. You know, the ones with the waterfalls splashing right into the pools. I could almost taste the coconut shrimp and the mahi-mahi on my tongue as I began to dream about the rest of the evening. I could feel the sand between my toes as my hips started to sway to the music in my head.

“Oh honey,” I said as I threw my arms around him. “I’ll start packing right away, I’m so excited. You are just the best man in the world!”

It seemed then that my husband had a confused look on his face as he said, “What do you mean you will start packing? We aren’t going anywhere.”

When he said that, I could feel the sand sifting away from my toes.

“Aren’t we going to the islands, to dance and sway and feel the ocean breeze while drinking sweet drinks with little umbrellas in them?” I asked.

“Heck no,” he said. “I just wanted you to know that I put clean water in the hot tub, and it should be nice and warm Saturday night. And here’s the good news, I bought us a case of beer for the evening.”

Well, I thought it was quite funny when he couldn’t get the hot tub to work later and he had to call a service technician. I was hoping it couldn’t be fixed because I was not looking forward to drinking suds in a tank of suds.

The technician came out and did five things that really made my day.

First, he said he really wanted us to have the hot tub ready when we needed it and asked if we needed it right away. He explained that, once repaired, it would take about six hours to heat it up to a nice, warm temperature. He hoped he would not have to drain it because that might mean we couldn’t use it until tomorrow.

He then asked if it would be OK for him to get some tools and find out what was wrong so he could better tell me what it would cost and how long it would take. He said he really liked to keep the surprises out of the picture.

I thought, “No surprise would be worse than a case of beer and a fat man in swimming trunks!” So I said, “Sure, go ahead.”

The third thing he did that impressed me was to lay down what looked like a piece of carpet with his company name on it right in front of the hot tub to lay his tools on. I thought it made him look like a doctor about to check out an appendix. He seemed to be very confident and to know what he was doing.

When he found the problem, I like what he did next. He said he was very familiar with our brand of hot tub and that he liked how well they were built. He said a repair on this spa would easily last for years due to the quality of the hot tub and the parts he would be using.

He then showed me a menu of options from the most complete service you could imagine down to just getting it up and running. He gave me the option to choose what I wanted him to do.

It was so easy, and I liked that he made no attempt to convince me to buy or not to buy, just showed me the options. I quickly chose one in the middle, and he told me that would be a great choice. 

It was so pleasant, not at all what I thought it would be like. So I figured, what the heck, and I jumped in the suds with the old man after all.

I hope you like my story. Even though this story was about a hot tub, not a furnace, there’s a lesson to be learned. Here are the five things the technician did that make service calls easy and productive.

  1. He showed empathy and let the customers know he wanted to get them back up and running as fast as they needed him to.
  2. He then explained how the call would proceed, starting with a proper diagnosis.
  3. By laying out his tools and testers neatly on a quality piece of carpet or drop cloth, he showcased his professionalism.
  4. He complimented the equipment. When you tell people they have good equipment, it makes them feel good about a previous purchase. This gives them confidence to go ahead with your repair. Of course, this is only used when they have good equipment, but most equipment, including hot tubs, start out as a fine piece of equipment.
  5. The last thing is to present a menu of options that will still solve their problem — from the very best you can do at the top, to the minimum at the bottom.

I used the hot tub illustration because I love hot tubs. But hot tub or not, these are techniques you can apply to your HVAC business today to improve your customer satisfaction and maybe even your average ticket price.

Have a great day, and remember to smile a lot.

Publication date: 3/18/2019

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