I would like to start off wishing everyone a HAPPY 2015!!!!
In keeping with my latest series of posts, It’s All About the Basics, I want to take a look at how important training can be to customer relations and brand “reliability” attitudes.
Every year, consumer magazines come out and “rate” products. These ratings are based on polls to the consumers. The consumer may or may not know how reliable the product is but base their response on 2 things, (1) how often the service company has been to their home for service and (2) how many parts were changed during those visits. But there is also a “hidden” factor that caries a lot of weight with the consumer and that is what the Tech TELLS the customer.
Because high-end products today can provide so much more efficiency and comfort, it requires training to be able to properly work on the product. These units can have communicating controls, can be full modulating gas input, can have specific sequences of operation and so on. If a Tech has never been trained in this BRAND of product, and all of a sudden he arrives at a home and it has one of these high-end products, what do you think he is going to do?
In a lot of cases, the tech goes in , sees something he is not familiar with, and now, because the Tech doesn’t want to let the customer know he is not familiar with a specific product, as a result, does not make a proper diagnosis. Or, he starts to change parts hoping one of them will correct the problem. Even doing basic checks, if he does not know the sequence of operation, or how the product SHOULD work, he could be the best tech in the world but it is hard to figure out something he has never seen. In the worse case scenario, after the company has had a tech back 2 or 3 times, now to save face for the company, they tell the consumer, “yeah, we have a lot of problems with that brand of product which is why we don’t sell them!” Of course, now what does the consumer think?
You may think this sounds “far-fetched”, but I can tell you, after working 23+ years as a manufacturer’s tech support person, that this occurs more often than you think.
So what’s the solution? It is impossible to train every tech out there but, my personal opinion is that, manufacturer’s need to make training mandatory to anyone selling their high-end products and make sure the distribution channels follow this rule. Too often, in order to make sales numbers, the attitude is to sell to anyone and hope there are no problems.
They need to put in their literature that the consumer should only use trained personnel on these high-end products –– educate the consumer also! If the consumer knows that only a “certified tech” should work on their high-end products, they might inquire of the service company they are calling if they are familiar with their unit before having them come out.
Will we ever get service tech to admit they don’t know a product — some actually do and call the manufacturer tech support line for help. They may not know the product but are not afraid to tell the consumer this and then tell the consumer they are going to call for help. No Tech can know every manufacturer’s product but the good techs will try to get trained when training is available from a manufacturer. Distributors need to publish training schedule so tech can come to training. Manufacturers need to provide quality training for the techs but, more so, they need to educate the consumer that “this is not you fathers furnace anymore”. Technology has changed — we all need to keep up with it.
TRAINING IS A BASIC NECESSITY IN THE HVAC FIELD!
(Comments or suggestions on this post are more than welcomed — It’s a new year — let’s make the most of it and become the best we can be!)