Making a mistake on the job could result in costly call-backs and damage to your reputation. Bottom line: Everyone wants to a hire a good contractor – someone who takes pride in the job.
Simple things like being prepared to taking the extra time to clean up the jobsite when the work is done could help you to stand out in the crowd, enhance your reputation in the market and potentially result in more work down the road.
For their second Mission: HVAC challenge, we asked the students to talk with an HVAC pro – a business owner, technician, contractor, etc. – and ask them to share 5 things they do to deliver success on the job and enhance their reputation.
Derick: 5 Success Tips from Service Manager Tony Locker
For this mission Tony Locker, Service Manager for Peterman Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, was able to provide five tips on how to be successful on the job. As I’ve recently been promoted to a Maintenance Tech at Peterman, I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with him.
- Tip #1: Be on Time. Arriving promptly to service calls shows the customer that you value their time and uphold your responsibility of representing your company.
- Tip #2: Listen to the Customer. When you listen to the customer, you’re showing them you understand their needs and that gives you a better idea of how you can help them.
- Tip #3: Clean Up After Yourself. Everyone is responsible for a clean jobsite, even if you’re a service tech or an install tech. If you clean up your work area after you’re done with the job, it shows the customer you care about your work.
- Tip #4: Take Pride in What You Do. Even doing the smallest of things just to make the job that much nicer shows the customer you believe that you provide a quality service.
- Tip #5: Have a Good Attitude. Having a good attitude helps take your customer service to the next level. Having confidence in what you are doing while treating the customer with respect shows them that you not only appreciate your job, but that you also appreciate being the one chosen to provide them a service.
Jacob: Look for Service, Not Sales
For this mission, we were asked to interview an HVAC professional on “5 Ways to Deliver Success on the Job.” Upon graduation for my HVAC program I was employed by Canella Heating and Air Conditioning in Hickory, N.C. This is a growing family company that is currently employing its second generation in the business. I recently had the chance to sit down with founder Craig Canella, who has been working in the business for 26 years. Craig started out working in energy efficiency aspects of construction with the idea of giving customers more for their money long term. He got into the HVAC industry simply because in North Carolina you legally must have a license to do any significant work on a heating and cooling system. Here are a few pointers Craig provided, which can basically be broken down into two categories: communication and documentation.
Craig stressed that the first phone call or opportunity to speak with someone is really never-ending. You need to be prepared to follow-up with the customer in this ongoing conversation.
He also spoke about the need for courtesy, from initial conversations to being at the worksite. When a customer is calling a heating and air contractor, they are usually already having a problem of some sort and it is important to put your best foot forward at all times. In my very first conversation with Craig, one thing that stood out in my mind was his insistence that everyone be respectful of the client’s property. My first day on the job was a change out of an indoor unit. The first thing we did was to enter the house wearing booties over our shoes and put down drop cloths from the front door to the work area. I could not believe the amount of insulation and other trash we had tracked in and out by the end of the day! A learning experience for me, but I saw his point immediately. (And yes, we cleaned it all up.)
Craig also stressed to always do what you say and don’t over-promise. As a professional, you should meet your estimate, your installation expectations, and any and all service expectations. The individuals who work for Canella take this point seriously. Just throwing out a number without fully understanding the issues is a sure way to create an unhappy customer. If you work in the HVAC field, you know how the industry has changed from saying “How many square feet?” to finding out what the real requirements are. We all have to do our homework to make sure everything will work as expected.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to document what you are doing. This is not to point fingers, but to be used as a checklist to make sure everything gets done and nothing gets overlooked with each and every contact with a customer. All departments have a checklist – installation, maintenance, service…you get the picture. All of these people work in the same industry for the same company, but they all do something specific and different. Checklists help with follow-up and ensure everything is covered with every customer, every time.
Maintaining contact with the customer is also critical to success. Even after the work is complete, everything is operating as expected, the customer has paid and is happy with the system, they should still get either a call back or a visit. We have all had the experience of buying something, being initially pleased with it but after a while thinking “Well, maybe not this little thing, but it’s been so long, should I really make a deal out of this?” Craig thinks this should not be an issue with such a significant aspect of someone’s largest investment such as their home. He wants the customer to feel comfortable calling Canella anytime for any reason. He didn’t come right out and say it, but I got the feeling he wants everybody – from clients to employees – to look at this as a service company and not a retailer.