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After A Long Hot Summer, It’s National Customer Service Week

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The summer heat usually means fun and vacation time for families and lots of work for air conditioning professionals. Yes, the unsung heroes of a long, hot summer are the technicians, dispatchers, and installers.

While most everyone seeks the indoor comfort of air conditioning on hot summer days, many HVAC professionals usually find themselves on a roof working to install or repair an air conditioning unit. Working outdoors in the excessive heat of 90 degree-plus weather is not for the faint-hearted, and for this, we should acknowledge the HVAC professionals during National Customer Service Week.

What Is National Customer Service Week?
National Customer Service Week is celebrated each year during the first full week of October and this year it runs from October 6 – 10, 2014.

Established in 1988 by the International Customer Service Association (ICSA), it has become a national event by proclamation of the U.S. Congress. According to the ICSA, the purpose of National Customer Service Week is to “create a positive message that lasts all year long and to provide a productive opportunity to generate an even stronger commitment to customer service excellence.”

The Biggest Challenge
The biggest challenge to an HVAC company service representative is keeping a cool demeanor when they encounter an irate customer experiencing both hot weather and equipment failure. While these unpleasant occurrences might be a challenge for some, an astute HVAC company will view every customer event as an opportunity. A first-rate HVAC service provider is one who is prepared when an emergency arises to act immediately and with a sense of urgency.

A fine example of just such an event arose this summer when one of my clients received an urgent telephone call from a customer.

“One morning, I received a critical phone call from the head of maintenance at a nursing home. Their second and third floor air conditioning units had stopped working properly,” says my client. The nursing home administrators temporarily transferred some patients to other areas of the facility, as my client’s team promptly jumped into action.

A quick diagnosis revealed that the rooftop units needed to be replaced. My client worked closely with the nursing home head of maintenance conveying his plan for an immediate resolution. “I dispatched technicians to charge the defective unit’s Freon® and we also installed a new condenser fan. These temporary measures gave the nursing home some relief while I expedited new equipment, which was delivered the next day.”

My client’s team worked on the roof and endured the oppressive heat, as ominous thunderclouds loomed overhead while they installed the new second and third floor air conditioning units. The new units were providing indoor comfort to the affected floors for patients and staff within 48 hours of the original service call.

Three Lessons
This example includes three important lesson required of excellent service organizations.

The first is the importance of an immediate response. This conveys to a customer that the problem is understood and that the service professional is responding with a sense of urgency. Nothing appeases a concerned customer like prompt action.

The second lesson involves expertise and creativity. Being knowledgeable and resourceful about a specific matter enables a service professional to build rapport with the customer, which, in turn, helps to contain the problem. A creative solution to a complex situation is crucial to building customer relationships.

Finally, a service professional must have the authority and resources to resolve actual customer problems. In the above illustration, my client’s team possessed the authority to expedite the delivery of critical materials and meet all of the logistical requirements in order to satisfy the customer.

Indoor comfort is something many of us take for granted during hot weather. As we celebrate National Customer Service Week, let us all take a moment to consider the HVAC professional who make indoor comfort possible.

Steve Coscia, CSP

Posted In: ACCA Now, Customer Service

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