This is a topic that any successful contractor knows well. To be a success, you have to be professional and so too do your employees. There are many benefits to properly training your employees, but let’s sum them up.
• Peace of mind knowing your customers are taken care of.
• Employee satisfaction and pride amongst your staff.
• A technician who is properly educated will bring in more revenue.
Importance of Being Certified
Certification is essential not only to have proof your technicians know what they talking about, but your customers look for this as well. To handle refrigerants, EPA Section 608 certification is mandatory. But HVAC is much more than that. Many customers will not take your technician seriously without North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification as well. Even though it isn’t something that is required, the NATE patch on your technicians’ sleeve says a lot to your clients. And those who are familiar with the certification know that it requires a certain amount of training and school every year to be able to wear it. So your customer can rest assured that your techs know the latest technologies and equipment available.
HVAC: The Trade of All Trades
All of your technicians need to have a basic knowledge of multiple trades for this industry. When attending classes we were all labeled as “The Brainiacs.” Mainly because the carpenters took classes on carpentry, the electricians took classes on electricity, mechanics took automotive classes, and so on, but the HVAC guys had to learn a little bit of everything. HVAC technicians need to at least have general knowledge of electricity, refrigerant, plumbing, carpentry, and more.
Addressing Weaknesses in an Employee
Everyone knows your staff is only as strong as the weakest link, but there are plenty of ways of addressing this.
• “Ride-alongs” are a great way of sharpening anyone’s skills.
All companies are going to have their superstars, so why not have your less successful technicians spend a day with your most successful. It gives the employee a glimpse of how successful they can be while allowing them to get as many pointers and tips as they can along the way. This is also good for office staff such as customer service reps, dispatchers, and more. How many companies out there can say members of their office staff spent a day in the field to get a better idea of what their technician does? It gives them an opportunity to think of ways they can contribute in a better way.
• School, school, and more school.
Education is important for anyone and most contractors have a pretty easy way of giving this to their employee. Most distributors will hold periodic classes on new technology as well as existing equipment. After all your distributor doesn’t want you to fail, they need you to buy their product.
• Showing appreciation for your employees.
No one wants to fail; however, in many cases of an underachieving employee you only have yourself to blame. By showing your appreciation for your employees they want to do right by you and exceed expectations. It doesn’t have to be anything to break the bank. You’ll be surprised how much having a contest on certain tasks with a small prize can improve your employees’ performance and boost company morale.
Keeping a happy customer is somehow easier said than done and we all know that not everyone is going to like us. As long as your technician knows what they are talking about and can effectively address your customer’s issues, your satisfaction rating should be pretty good, but it doesn’t stop there. Your customer starts judging your company as soon as you pick up the phone to answer their call, so make sure your greeting is a good one. Customers typically judge their service provider by key points and as long as these are met well, there will usually be a good outcome.
• Eagerness for the call
• Appearance of employee
• Problem solved in a timely manner
• Justification for price
Your technicians are everything to you. While they are in a customer’s house, they are the company, and you want them to be your customer’s every answer when it comes to their HVAC needs. The technician needs to not only take care of what’s wrong, he needs to answer why it went wrong as well as address any issues that are about to go wrong. Your customer doesn’t want to pay for a diagnosis twice, you don’t want to send your employee out to fix a problem that should have been taken care of the first time, and no one wants a call back with a bad review. Your technician needs to identify every problem your customer has even if the only thing stopping their system was a bad capacitor. Training is the answer and the key — professional employees equal a professional company. Your customer will thank you, your employee will thank you, and you will thank yourself when you see your company thriving.