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Selling Shouldn’t Be a Bad Word

Our team of plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians love to help people — that is why we hired each and every one of them. That is also why we love this business. Our team loves showing up to a job and saving the day. But, a lot of our technicians see their role as fixing and not selling or advising. We are trying to change that mindset because our company is committed to providing exceptional service. Exceptional service means we have to exceed expectations. This means we have to anticipate needs and issues, not just address what is right in front of us.

Long-Term Customer Relationships

I’m sure you all have similar stories — a customer calls and has an issue they’d like someone to fix. Their hot water isn’t hot, a drain is clogged, their furnace isn’t heating the home, or their air conditioner isn’t blowing cold air. Your technician thinks of each visit as a short-term transaction. So, they fix the issue and move on to the next job. However, the customer has the same issue or another one pop up days or weeks later. The new issue may not even be related to your original visit, but it was missed by your technician nonetheless. Not only is that a frustrating experience for your customer, but your likely lost their trust and future long-term business.

We think technicians are your most important tool in earning and keeping your customers’ trust. There is no one better to sell a homeowner on a service than an experienced, knowledgeable technician. We try to teach our technicians that every job is a small touchpoint in a long game. An issue a customer called about could be a small symptom of a larger underlying problem. Let the customer know the age of their equipment or system. Advise them on the typical lifespan of their system. Should they continue to service this problem or should they replace the system because it will likely be more affordable in the long run? Some may call this approach “selling,” but we believe every employee in the office or in the field is in the business of helping, whether that is selling, servicing, advising, or fixing — we think it is all the same.

Selling Isn’t a Bad Word

When done in a valuable, helpful way, no customer is going to feel uncomfortable or that they are being pressured. After all, they called you because you are the expert. If they had your technician’s experience and skill, they would’ve diagnosed and fixed the problem themselves. Fixing the immediate problem is what any and every company will do. If you want to be exceptional, we think you have to anticipate issues–communicate to them what they need before they ask you for it. Have your technicians put themselves in the customer’s shoes. If this was their house, what would they want to know?

The key to making technicians feel more comfortable communicating with customers in this way is training and role playing. Work with your technicians in 5-10 role play exercises. Tape them and then replay the video to critique the conversation. What did they leave out? Where could they have been more concise? Did they use any terminology that was confusing? Did they provide clear, concise next steps/options? Overall, did they make the customer feel confident and at ease?

To properly provide exceptional service, it takes everyone in the company working tirelessly to serve your customers. However, your technicians are the tip of the spear. They are the key to earning and keeping your customers’ trust. The best way to earn that trust is to go above and beyond to anticipate your customers needs. This means doing more than fixing an issue and moving on to the next job. While this usually doesn’t come naturally for everyone, it can be taught with practice, reinforcement, and time. But, the key is to understanding that customers want more than a short term fix, they want a long-term, trustworthy, and helpful expert they can always turn to. You’ll know you are on the track when a customer calls in and specifically requests one of your technicians by name.

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