Here are a few more comments from contractors on this subject. I think these comments really sum up what the original post, MORE BASICS, was all about.
We need to be able to admit that we CANNOT all know everything about every manufacturer out there and do justice to the customer. We also have to realize that whatever brand product we choose to sell, we need to make sure we are thoroughly trained on that product so we can take care of our customer.
I think this comment was very well put:
If the homeowner wants to look over my shoulder, that’s fine. I talk out the problem, out loud, ask them to pass me tools, hold the light or go make the coffee. I find most of them happy to participate and at the same time, gain an appreciation of the complexity the Tech has to deal with. Or, they become bewildered and realize they are paying for slowing you down and then leave you alone. I’m good either way. If I am stumped, I tell the customer that I have a backlog of work to do (true), will get back to him shortly, (same day) and will consult with a colleague regarding his particular problem. That way it doesn’t cost him while I scratch my head and consult. I can also get to the long wait list of jobs. By admitting that you don’t know everything, you may lose an occasional customer but most appreciate the honesty.
Great business philosophy — Taking care of “business”:
I feel the need to comment on this one… I own a small family HVAC company, I have repeatedly said (for over 30 yrs) that I will gladly service everything I sell. I usually stock more parts for those furnaces than some of the supply houses.
I have also stated many times that I prefer not to work on other companies equipment, mainly because I have neither the training or the parts and I really dislike learning when someone is really wanting a working unit.
I really is a simple philosophy……Master what I can and don’t fake it if I don’t know it. Customers will appreciate the honesty and remember it when the time comes for something else.
And one more from the manufacturer tech support side:
I have been a tech for 30 years and only on the distribution side for the last 4. Nowhere has it become more apparent than here, on the distribution side, of a tech changing parts or blaming the equipment first, followed by a more thorough diagnostic second. Regardless of the technician’s skill level in the field, a homeowner looks at the tech as an expert and the tech is under pressure to respond in kind, whether he understands what he is working on or not.
I always fall back to the old adage, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
I hope we all can add a few more mental tools to our toolbox in 2015!
All I can do is encourage everyone to get as much training as possible or you will be “left behind” because the technology in our industry is changing very rapidly. We are no longer “cave men dragging dinosaur dung to our cave and waiting for lightning to start a fire.” We need to have the tools and the training to use those tools as we go into 2015 and beyond. I ENCOURAGE ALL OF YOU TO SEEK OUT TRAINING, either from manufacturers, organizations like R.S.E.S., community colleges or your local union hall.
We also need to keep the customer in mind and, when we encounter a product that we know we have “no clue how it works or how to fix it” that we are able to tell them them, up front, and recommend they call the original installer or go the the manufacturer’s web site to find a contractor who can help them. Yes — it may mean lost business, but in the long run, it will come back because honesty always pays off!
Wishing you all an EDUCATED and PRODUCTIVE 2015!