As a technician, we often forget that there are important, non-technical skills that need to be developed in order to succeed in the industry. These skills, called soft skills, help you to become a reliable employee and earn customers’ trust. Even if you’re the best of the best when it comes to servicing and maintaining hvac equipment, it is your attitude that can put you above the competition.

How to Be a Better Employee

Here are some guidelines you can follow to improve relations with your employer and obtain some job security through a strong work ethic and positive attitude.

ATTENDANCE This may go without saying, but it is very important. Your presence in the workplace says that you want to work. This means showing up at work when you are scheduled, being on time, and giving proper notice when you need time off.

ACCEPT CRITICISM When your boss gives you feedback, it is meant to improve your work, not degrade you. Everyone has room for improvement. Even if you believe what your boss is saying is wrong, do not get offended. Instead, tell him or her why you did something a certain way and ask how to do it better in the future. Bottom line: Don’t blow up when you’re given feedback you don’t like. Your boss will feel you are not willing to listen and learn.

TAKE CHARGE It is very important to show your employer that you are willing to be a leader and do extra work if necessary. For example, if your boss needs someone to work overtime or fill in for an employee, try your best to accommodate. This shows a great deal of reliability. Also, your employer may need suggestions on how to do something or how to solve a problem. Make suggestions when necessary.

LEARN TEAMWORK This means treating your fellow workers with respect and dignity — and without bias. Work can be stressful enough; there is no reason to create more by having unfriendly ties to individuals in the workplace. Also, the worker you put down one day may be the person you need for a project the next day.

HAVE A VARIETY OF SKILLS In order to succeed at your job, you need to excel in a variety of areas. This means being able to communicate effectively, have some basic math skills, and adequate safety knowledge. For example, as a technician you’ll be required to do service reports and possibly conduct safety inspections.

How To Treat A Customer

BE A FRIENDThis may seem very cliché, but the truth is that many customers have a preconceived notion of service technicians. Try and crush those perceptions by being friendly and courteous. Proper manners and good communication skills can go very far when dealing with a customer. Remember the key words: thank you and please.

EXPLAIN YOUR SERVICES Some customers may be afraid of overpricing or scams, so tell them exactly what is wrong with the system and explain it in terms they can understand. If it helps, show the customer the faulty part of the system. Let your customer ask as many questions as necessary and let them know that you are available to answer questions even when your services are over.

LEARN TO HANDLE CUSTOMERS Is the customer always right? No, but you must still treat them with respect. If your client gets irate or makes false claims, you must be patient. If you too get upset, you will not solve the problem and could lose a customer. Stay calm and chances are you’ll be on your way to a more rational dialogue.

DO THE JOB RIGHT Try your best to do the job right the first time. This kind of customer satisfaction can lead to great recommendations and more jobs in the future.

Sidebar: Test Your Soft Skills

1.In the following sentence, which of the choices below would best simplify and still express the meaning of the underlined words?In my opinion, the new thermostat design isa change for the better.

  • a. An improvement
  • b. A step in the right direction
  • c. A help
  • d. A badly needed modification
  • 2. If you bought six cases of duct tape for $64.14, what was the price of each case?

  • a. $10.59
  • b. $10.96
  • c. $10.60
  • d. $10.69
  • 3. Which of the following jobs most requires safety glasses or goggles?

  • a.
  • Cutting cap tube
  • b. Changing the oil in a vacuum pump
  • c. Demonstrating programming on a thermostat
  • d. Brazing copper tubing
  • 4. Your boss has just arrived on the job and is upset that the work is not completed. He states that a team of three men should have been able to complete the work in two days. He wants to know why it has taken three days. The foreman explains that one of the technicians decided that he would just do the functions that he was best at and then did not fully participate in the rest of the work. What workplace behavior did the boss expect?

  • a. Tolerance
  • b. Teamwork
  • c. Loyalty
  • d. Cultural difference
  • 5. A homeowner meets the technician at the door and says, “How can you be so stupid? This is the third repair of the equipment in the last week. I keep calling different companies to have this repaired. Can’t any of you fix this a/c?” “I’m sorry sir,” says the technician. “I’m not sure what the other companies did or did not do. Please explain the problems and the remedies the other companies took. Then I should be able to determine what course of action is necessary for the repair without duplicating the work of others. ”What type of personal relationship is the technician showing?

  • a. Understanding time management
  • b. Understanding verbal agreements
  • c. Understanding complaint evaluation
  • d. Understanding customer education
  • 6. The technician in the above question is showing more than one of his many soft skills. Which one of the following traits is he also exhibiting?

  • a. Honesty
  • b. Dependability
  • c. Patience
  • d. Positive Work Ethic
  • All questions provided by Patrick Murphy and NATE.

    See bottom of the page for answers

    Answers: 1. A 2. D 3. D 4. B 5. C 6. C

    Publication date: 02/19/2001