HUNTSVILLE, ON, Canada — Gordon Cooke has a few ideas to share about one of his favorite topics: total customer service. The owner of Air Solutions, an hvac business consulting company in Cambridge, ON, has information on how business owners and managers “can transform every service call into a sales opportunity.”

Cooke began his seminar by asking his audience why their service techs don’t like to sell. He concluded that service techs are wary of the “mood expectation” of their customers. Mood expectations of a customer during a sales call include distrust and risk, whereas their expectation during a service call is trust and appreciation for having a problem solved.

Cooke said it was logical to assume that techs don’t want to be put into a sales situation. “Service techs don’t want to compromise their position of trust,” said Cooke. “And being in sales takes away their valuable service time.”

Cooke believes there is an opportunity for sales during every service call because the customer is finally interested in heating and cooling for their home. “And the service tech is usually trusted by the customers,” he said.

Cooke listed descriptors for salespeople and service techs.

“If a service tech does not want to be perceived as a salesperson, they try to have the opposite attributes of a salesperson,” explained Cooke. “If you try to make a service tech into a salesperson, they will try to go the opposite way.”

The number-one reason salespeople don’t get the sale is because they don’t ask for the sale. The reason why service techs don’t get the sale is because of their mindset. “The service tech’s objective is to get in and out with a minimal amount of customer contact.”

All Is Not Lost

“In the ideal world, the level of excellence of service techs would include a bond of trust with the customer, a plan or objective, partnering with the customer, and long-term planning, a.k.a. planting the seed,” Cooke said.

“We need to have reasonable expectations for our techs. Be consistent and reinforce what their job requirements are. We need to change the customer’s expectations and clearly define what a technician’s responsibility is.”

Part of the responsibility includes making service techs accountable for the customer’s satisfaction. This can be achieved by allowing techs to have a deeper involvement with customers, sending the techs back to the same customers on a regular basis, and giving techs “ownership of the problem.

“You need more than just product training,” Cooke said. “You need more customer communication training and more sales training, but not the same sales training you give to salespeople.”

Publication date: 09/24/2001