A technician I know went to a customer’s home. He knew beforehand that the customer was not going to be home and she left the key hidden outside.

He opened the front door and as he passed the bathroom on his way to check the thermostat, a young boy of six or seven ran out of the bathroom and out of the house. The child refused to come back in the house.

What would you do in this situation?

Path clearing

Here are some questions that your dispatchers must ask when setting up calls.

Residential calls:

  •  If the homeowner says that the key is hidden — “Will there be anyone home when the technician arrives?”

  •  If the homeowner says that children will be alone — “Do we have your permission to be in your home when there are children alone in the house? What telephone number can we reach you at (or a neighbor that the children will know) if there is a problem?”

  •  Also, “Can the children authorize work to be done if we find a problem with your system?”

  •  “Payment for our service call is due at the completion of the call. Will you be paying by check, credit card, or cash?”

    Commercial calls:

  •  “Who should the service technician check in with when he arrives at your job?”

  •  “Do you have a preferred place where the technician should park his truck?”

  •  “Who can authorize work to be done? Is a purchase order necessary?”

  •  “What is the billing procedure?”

For commercial calls, you may have this information on file if the customer is a repeat customer. However, in this era of consolidation and people changing jobs frequently, it never hurts to confirm the information you have on file.