I recently had the opportunity of catching up with a long-standing industry friend, Steve Coscia (www.coscia.com). Over the years, I have touted Steve as the finest soft skills expert in our industry. Nothing has changed my opinion.

Indeed, a recent episode has heightened my respect for Steve’s work.

Some background: In addition, to being a top-flight speaker, Steve is also an instructor and an author of the “HVAC Customer Service Handbook.”  More than 150 colleges in the United States use his textbook as the standard curriculum for teaching customer service and soft skills.

The quality of his scholarship became apparent recently when Pat Enochs, the Tulsa Tech HVAC department chair, and Jimmy Hawley, an HVACR instructor at the school, incorporated Steve’s textbook into their curriculum. One of their students, Deshia Peters, won Oklahoma State’s SkillsUSA Customer Service Competition.

For those of you unfamiliar with SkillsUSA, it’s a national organization that prepares teachers and high school and colleges students for a career in the trades. They have annual state competitions in various categories where students compete in various trade skills. As state champion, Deshia won a slot in the national competition, finishing third among the best trade school competitors in the country.

Both Enochs and Hawley praise Coscia’s book and its impact on Deshia’s skill level.

Deshia’s story has an added happy footnote.  He’s found a well-paying job with Airco Service in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

If you believe that customer service and soft skills matter in your business and need someone to help you raise the level of your staff, then allow me a simple suggestion: Give Steve Coscia a long, hard look. You won’t regret it.