About a month ago, I had a little trouble with my washing machine — it stopped draining. Thankfully, it was still under warranty and a service technician came out to take a look. Turns out we needed a new draining hose, which he ordered before departing. The part took more than a week to arrive, but I’m not here to talk about that. I want to talk about when two technicians came back for the installation.

Everything was going well up until the point where they decided to run a test load through the machine to ensure the new draining hose was operating properly. While they waited in my dining room for the washing machine to finish its cycle, they began talking amongst themselves about a customer who questioned their work. The conversation went something like this:

“This guy goes: ‘I’ve been washing clothes for 40 years,’ so, I asked him, ‘Has it always been in your parents’ basement?’ Then I said: ‘I’ve been repairing them for 40 years.’”

Now I don’t know for a fact if that technician truly said that to his customer or if he was just shooting the breeze with his colleague, but the entire exchange left a bad taste in my mouth. When any kind of service technician, HVAC included, visits a customer’s home, they should act in a professional manner throughout the entire visit. Call me crazy, but bad-mouthing previous customers in front of new customers is not at all professional — it’s disrespectful. True, the technician was not talking to me personally, but he was talking in my home and showing no signs that he cared whether or not he was overheard.

They say you only get one chance at a first impression. That first service call with a new customer should be exceptional in every way. It’s an opportunity to gain a repeat customer, possibly for life. If you do a great job, that customer may even recommend your company to friends and family. After my recent experience, I can tell you, I won’t be recommending that company to anyone.