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Thirteen (13) Things NOT to Do on a Service Call — Part 2

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HVAC technician knocking on customer's front door while holding tool box

Last issue, we covered the first four of 13 things NOT to do on a service call. You will remember these were not theoretical situations, they really happened on a recent service call performed by my local plumber. 

The previous article covered where not to park the service vehicle, entering a home utilizing the door that the customer prefers to be used for the call, the proper use of drop cloths, (and how not to use them), and finally the use of shoe covers. We will now proceed to the three areas of concern during my service call. 

  • Wear a mask – Nearly every customer has a different perspective on COVID-19. Some believe masks are totally unnecessary, while others are fearful to even leave their home without one. The key word here is “their home.” Just like how using drop cloths and shoe covers show respect for the customer’s home, so does the use of a face mask. My tech did well in this area for a while. When he arrived, he had a face mask on, and I felt very comfortable. However, sometime during the repair of the first of three toilets, he made the personal decision that a face mask was either unnecessary or too irritating to work with. Before long, I noticed his mask was gone and did not return during the remainder of the time he was in our home. Personally, I did not have a problem with that, so I did not mention it. However, that may not be the case for the next customer on his list. 

Hint #5: It does not matter what the trade company and/or technician thinks in terms of the value of wearing a face mask in the current working environment. The tech  is working in the customer’s environment, and their home and personal space needs to  be respected. During this unique time in history, wearing, and continuing to wear, a face  mask while performing a repair is absolutely required. Should the customer choose to  tell the technician that they don’t mind if their mask is removed, then it is okay. However,  this decision should be initiated by the customer, not the tech. 

  • Listen and follow the customers’ requests – When the tech first arrived, I politely requested he begin with the main floor bathroom. I did not feel it was necessary to explain that my wife was gone but would likely return home soon. When she did return, she would probably want to use the main bathroom. Completing the first-floor toilet before the others would provide her with free access if she needed to use it. I left his side for a few minutes, and when I returned, he was gone! After a minor search I found him. Where?  Bingo, right where you would now expect him to be, in the upstairs bathroom. My wife did return, and as predicted, she needed to use the bathroom, but it had not been repaired yet. This wasn’t a major issue, but that is not the point. The point is that the tech did not listen to my request, he simply continued with his preconceived agenda. 

Hint #6: Listen, yes actually listen, to any requests the customer may make. If it was important enough for the customer to mention it, it should instantly become a priority for the tech to honor their request. 

  • Do you have a trash bag!?! – Let’s think through the service request for a moment. I called and requested the entire insides of our three toilets be replaced. It does not require an advanced degree from Harvard Business School to surmise that after removing parts from the three toilets, they will need to be disposed of in some form or fashion. Apparently, my tech was playing hooky the day that subject was covered, since he failed to bring his own bags to dispose of the parts.  However, he had a Plan B. “Do you have a trash bag I could put these old parts in?”

Hint #7: Think through what will be needed on a job before you leave the shop. This guy is a plumber, right? What is the likelihood that he will have parts, pieces and/or scraps of materials that will have to be removed from the homes that he visits  throughout the day? The answer is highly likely. ALWAYS carry a box of heavy-duty  trash bags on the truck. Also, make sure you put the filled-up trash bags in your truck  and dispose of them in the company dumpster back at the office, not in the customers  trash can or dumpster. As a matter of fact, don’t even ask the customer if you can place  the bags in their dumpster, just haul them away. 

Stay tuned for the next issue, where we will cover more of the 13 things NOT to do on a service call! 

Tom Grandy

Posted In: ACCA Now, Customer Service

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