The repair of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration equipment is a major aspect of our industry. There has been — and will continue to be — much information available on the technical aspects of repairing this equipment.

However, there is much more to the overall repair procedure than simply the technical knowledge needed to repair this equipment. How a service technician interacts with the customer is as important as knowing how to technically repair the problem.

How the technician communicates with the customer, how s/he presents the company image, and the technician’s personal attitude are all important in the repair procedure.

Many times a customer is left feeling uneasy about a service technician and the company, even if the technician was able to technically repair the problem. Such customers will most likely not call this service company back for future work because of the way they felt the technician treated them.

Communication is the key to understanding your customer, the customer’s problem, and having them feel good about you and your company.

Talk It Over First

The technician should always spend time asking pertinent questions before even looking at the equipment. This will not only help build a trusting relationship with the customer, but also aids in discovering the problem.

After looking at the equipment, the technician should always tell the customer what s/he found to be the problem, what it would take to repair it, and the costs involved.

If the technician has any doubt in his diagnosis, that too should be explained to the customer. This will avoid any future disagreements if more work is needed after the initial service work was performed.

Once the work is completed, the technician should again explain what was done and make any recommendations for future work or maintenance.

When the technician completes the service ticket, it should be written neatly with a detailed description of the work preformed. This helps verify that the technician has successfully communicated the problem and service work to the customer.

Also, a telephone call from the technician the following day will go a long way in building a solid relationship with that customer. Just ask whether the repair still seems to be working; if so, fine. If not, you could head off a steamed customer and bad referrals.

Looking Good

How a service technician presents himself to a customer is equally important. The technician should always project a professional image. S/he should have a neat appearance and wear work clothing that is appropriate for the work that he will be performing.

The technician should be careful not to track dirt into the home or business, and always clean up the work area upon completion of the repair. This would include removing any old parts and materials from the work area.

Try to keep the area orderly during the repair and leave the work area in the same condition it was in upon arrival. If items had to be moved to allow access to the equipment, return them to their original position before leaving.

The technician’s attitude is also extremely important in dealing with customers. Be pleasant and understanding and treat the customer in the same manner you would want to be treated.

Many times, an anxious or upset customer greets a technician. The failed equipment has either disrupted their normal schedule, or its proper operation is vital to the business or home. The technician should not take offense at the customer’s attitude and become defensive. Instead, try to understand the customer’s problem, be sensitive to concerns, and try to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

There are many areas in which a technician can cause a customer to become dissatisfied with the service. It is extremely important to avoid this from happening.

This can easily be accomplished by keeping the lines of communication open, projecting a professional image, and having the right attitude.

Marchese is a service technician with Arctic-Air Refrigeration, Pittsburgh, PA.