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Situational Training and the Communication Skill Gap

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It happens. At some point, all of us have sent a technician on a service call that requires more training than they have. Perhaps it’s because they weren’t technically advanced enough to handle the issue and not communications-savvy enough to save the job. Regardless, the ball lands in our court when we discover that any of our techs have skill gaps. The question is, what do we do about it?   

First, let’s look at the role of a tech as they step foot into your client’s home or business. 

The tech’s job is to figure out how to resolve the issue. One skill gap may be that they don’t have the technical knowledge, which decreases their ability to fix the “why” they were called to the home or business in the first place. If the tech possesses effective communication skills, they can convey this to your client without causing concern, even arranging for one of your more advanced techs to resolve it, thus saving you the job. If they lack the “people skills” to finesse the situation, they may lose the job (or worse, a customer). 

Another scenario may be more familiar to what we often find in our industry: technicians who are super confident on the technical side but aren’t strong in their “people” skills. When the service call goes well, this skill gap is not as obvious. But remember that means they’ll most likely leave a successful call without a five-star review, a recommendation to a neighbor, or a future maintenance call in the books.  At that point, we realize that communication skills become nearly as valuable to your business as technical expertise. 

The good news is that training can be leveraged to close this skill gap. 

Of course, getting your technically gifted technicians to embrace communication training may not be easy. One way is to remind them to showcase to clients how technically competent they are, and they must first cross the bridge of being competent in their communication. Another motivating factor is that good communication skills often result in upselling, which increases the numbers for your technician and your company. 

But first, you must sell the idea to yourself. You must fully understand how important it is to send a communications-savvy tech into a customer’s home or business. Oftentimes, we assume that if the technician can tell the client what needs to be done, they should be able to make the sale. However, that’s not necessarily the case. That’s where situational training comes in. 

So, what is the best way to implement situational training? Once you’ve gathered your techs in the training room, you’ll want them to discuss different scenarios. That is the essence of situational training. You can do this exercise as a whole group, small group, or individually. I recommend that you sprinkle in a little bit of each. 

Situational training allows you to get into the technician’s mind to see what they are writing up to propose to the customer and any other aspect that has to do with why they were called out. 

Here at The Blue Collar Success Group®, we believe in writing up options that allow clients to choose the repair they need. This is something that I practiced as a former owner/manager of a multi-location electrical company. I would conduct situational training this way; l asked them to write up three solution-based options, allowing me to see what they recommend technically. I then asked them to position it and offer it to me as if I were the client. Remember that these options are three solution-based ways to address why the client called us as more of a good, better, best scenario. 

Why do we do this? It’s super important to extract all the value out of situational training so that you can close the skill gap and drive revenue. This is why we get them to explain the why. Having this allows you to train them beyond the technical and allow them to become a more well-rounded team member.  

The Blue Collar Success Group® offers various trainings for technicians, each of which is based on The 12 Steps to the Ultimate Client Experience™. This increases their skill set, both technically and in communication, and creates higher confidence. And we know that higher confidence creates higher revenue and happier team members. If you want a copy of this free tool, we’ll happily send it to you at no obligation – click here. 

In conclusion, situational training is where we workshop the profile of a service call and review the options provided by the technician. We can work with them to close those skill gaps after getting a glimpse into their mindset and capabilities. 

And the best part? As you’re doing this, you’ll see the eyes light up inside of your other technicians as they learn from you and their fellow team members. And that, my friend, will help you close the skill gap, drive revenue through situational training, and get on the road to bigger ticket service calls.  


Chris Crew

Posted In: ACCA Now, Training

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