The summer season is upon us, and your customer service staff and technicians will soon be working long days and nights to keep your customers happy and their HVAC systems running smoothly. Being busy is a great thing, since it means that your business is having a successful and profitable year. However, when your staff gets overwhelmed, they can sometimes forget to follow basic customer service and safety guidelines that are important to the success of your business. Before your crew gets too busy, make sure to hold some training sessions to reinforce company policies around customer service and business operations. Following are some tips to share with your team:
Tips for Your HVAC Technicians
- Wear your gloves – To prevent refrigerant burns, cuts and potential electric shock, make sure you are wearing your gloves. Make wearing them a habit and you can minimize the possibility of cuts, burns or other issues that could seriously damage your hands.
- Safety glasses – They may not be attractive, but safety glasses are very important and can save you from flying debris, spewing refrigerant, oil or steam. Putting on your safety glasses before you do any work on an HVAC or refrigeration system is critical to preventing damage to your eyes.
- Proper placement of ladders – Your extension ladder is an important part of your job. However, if it is improperly placed, it can be a real health hazard. Don’t be in a hurry to set up the ladder. Make sure it extends at least one foot for every three feet of height. This will prevent you from falling backwards. Also, make sure that the ladder extends at least three feet above the floor.
- Gas cylinders in trucks – In the summer, your company truck can reach temperatures of 100 degrees and above. Combine that heat with a cylinder of R410A and you end up with a pressure of 366 psig. A large cylinder may be 1500 square inches, bringing the total pressure inside the cylinder to 549,000 psig. In these hot temperatures, if it falls and is damaged, the cylinder can take off like a rocket.
- Summer attire – If you wear cotton undershirts, you should try sweat-resistant athletic undershirts for the summer. They absorb the moisture in your skin and allow your pores to breathe.
- Hydrate to beat the heat– The best way to keep yourself alert and stay safe this summer is to drink water or other electrolyte-rich drinks constantly throughout the day. You should avoid sugary, high caffeine drinks, as they will give you a temporary energy boost, but don’t provide the necessary electrolytes your body needs when working in the heat.
Tips for Your Customer Service Staff
The customer service person answering calls is the customer’s first impression of your company. Here are some tips to ensure that your customer service staff is ready for the busy season:
- Proper staffing – Make sure you have assessed the call volume and have a staffing plan that will ensure you have a live person answering the telephone. When customers are dealing with a hot home or business and need their AC repaired, they want to speak to someone to make sure they will be getting their service call handled quickly.
- Always answer with a smile – The way you answer the phone forms the first indication of how you conduct your business. When it’s hectic and the phones are ringing off the hook and you’re dispatching lots of calls, it’s easy to carry that “negative tone” over to the next call. Make sure to stop for a few seconds and smile before answering the phone. The customer will feel the warmth and will become more relaxed too.
- Stay on script – When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget the training and cut corners on how to deal with customers. But, it’s more important than ever to keep the company procedures and policies nearby, so you can answer a customer’s questions quickly, efficiently and with confidence.
- Remain calm – but keep a sense of urgency – It is critical that you remember that your customer’s home or business is very uncomfortable in the heat and they have a need for immediate relief. Even though that may not be a reality, you have to show the customer empathy about the situation and share their sense of urgency to respond to your customer’s needs.
- Prepare the customer for the service call – Make sure the customer understands what to expect at the service call so that they have realistic expectations. If the customer is describing a situation where there could be a complete replacement, explain to them what that could entail. Rely on the marketing materials and company procedures for diagnosing a problem to assure the customer that their service call will be done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Use your authority to handle issues – Always look at ways to provide customer satisfaction without “bending the rules,” but also try to avoid having to escalate issues if you can. If you feel that you don’t have the proper authority to satisfy a customer’s needs, make sure that your manager is aware of the issue so that new policies can be established to ensure that customers are given the best answer, as quickly as possible.
For more helpful hints on how to prepare your business for the busy season and stock up on all the parts and supplies your technicians will need to service your customers, please visit www.source1HVACsupply.com.