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Using Checklists to Reduce the Number of Callbacks

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Callbacks can impact your profit margin and result in customers who are unhappy and will go elsewhere next time. J.R. Davis of Davis Heating and Cooling said, “Callbacks cost money. Technicians’ time is spent going back to a house already serviced instead of to a new job.” He goes on to point out that missing small details is often the reason for the callback and a checklist helps keep him from sending a truck back to the previous call.

Fortunately, a checklist goes a long way toward making sure customers are completely satisfied and that technicians remember those small details that are so easy to forget.

Making Up Your Checklist
While there are some things all HVAC technicians do, only you know the reasons for most of your callbacks. Take the time to look through customer service records and sort by callbacks. What are the most common reasons for your callbacks?

Consider creating more than one checklist, too. You should have different checklists for different types of jobs. For example:

  • Maintenance of system
  • New install
  • Repair

Each type of job requires different steps, so a different checklist is vital. However, if you only have time to implement one checklist, make sure you focus on the finer details and the overall customer experience. “When we created a checklist, I added to thank the customer and ask if they were satisfied with their service call that day. Customers are number one,” said Davis.

Basic Checklist Items
Below are some basic checklist items you should consider adding to your own technician checklist:

  • Did I visually verify the issues myself?
  • Is the unit running the way it should?
  • Can I make any additional improvements?
  • Did I solve the issue the customer called about?
  • Did I check belts and filters to make sure they’re in working order/good shape?
  • Are the coils clear of dust or fragments?
  • Did I calibrate the settings?
  • Does the customer need to clean his duct work? Did I remind him of regular maintenance?
  • Did I inspect and empty, if needed, the condensate drain?
  • Did I inspect the air filter?
  • Did I check the system the refrigerant level was properly charged?

If your technicians are calling on a commercial unit, the EPA has a long form checklist you might find helpful that covers everything from outside items that might obstruct the unit to checking for leaks.

Other Tips to Reduce Callbacks
Although a checklist will go a long way to reducing callbacks, people are human and technicians do miss things from time to time. Training can add another level of customer service awareness that will allow technicians to reduce callbacks.

While you likely already offer some type of technical training, add a customer service component to this each year. Give technicians the opportunity to slowly walk through the process from start to finish and tell them to imagine they are at their own home and want everything perfect because the President is coming for dinner. What steps will they take to mak sure the unit is running perfectly and everything is put back in its proper order?

You can also take a bit of stress off your technicians by lowering the number of calls they need to make in a day. Yes, productivity will suffer a tiny bit, but your technicians will be less stressed (employee retention) and they won’t feel as rushed, which will allow them to do a better job for all your customers.

The bottom line is that it is important to reduce the number of callbacks, both from a customer service and reputation standpoint and to help with unwanted expenses from callbacks. Taking time for training and slowing the pace down slightly can help with your overall numbers, saving your company money and time.

Lori Soard

Posted In: Customer Service, Management, Money

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