When you go through your HVAC training and school you are going to learn a great deal about the technical side of becoming a service technician. You are going to learn how to troubleshoot and repair many types of HVAC equipment. But if you are in either the residential or commercial side of the HVAC field (which 99% of us are), then you are going to have to show some customer service skills. You have to be likeable.
If you are a likeable HVAC service technician, then the customer is probably going to be happy with your service. If they are happy with your service, then they are going to recommend you to all of their colleagues and friends. Then it becomes like an avalanche of recommendations and before you know it you have yourself a good amount of clients.
This is just from my personal experience, and my opinion, on how to be a likeable HVAC technician.
Keep Your Appearance Sharp
This is the first impression that you are giving the customer. Before you even exchange words in person, that customer may be judging you right off the bat. If you have scruff all over your face, a wrinkled and untucked shirt, what kind of impression are you making? Do you think that looks professional? Would you want some scrub coming into your home, would you feel comfortable giving them your hard-earned money? Maybe. Some people don’t care they just want the problem fixed, but MOST people do care what your appearance is.
When I first started this trade as an apprentice, I didn’t know nothing. But customers loved me. They loved me because I shaved every day, kept my hair trimmed, my shirts didn’t have many wrinkles, and I put on shoe booties or took my shoes off before I entered their home. I looked them in the eyes when speaking to them. I smiled the whole time and laughed at their jokes even if they weren’t funny. I had no idea how to fix their air conditioner but dammit those customers liked me. It won’t win over all of them by professional looks alone, but if you look professional, and perform your work professional, you will get referrals.
Don’t Sell Them Something They Don’t Need
Those that work on commission are notorious for this. You may make the quick money by selling UV lights and other accessories that the homeowner really has no interest in buying. But no one likes to be pressured into buying crap they don’t need every time you go there for a preventative maintenance. If you are diagnosing equipment improperly, such as condemning a compressor when all it needed was a new capacitor, you are going to get busted sooner or later. When you do, the word is going to spread. You are going to get some very bad referrals.
Let the customer know when you are on your way and give them a reasonable time frame. If you think that you are 30 minutes away, tell them you will be there in 45 minutes instead, just in case. It’s better to overestimate than under estimate when it comes to time. They may be mad that you give them a long time arrival but when you show up earlier than you estimated, they will be happy.
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie
Ask them how they are doing and greet them nicely when you show up at their door. Let them know your name when you show up and introduce yourself as a professional. Get their name and REMEMBER THEIR NAME. Pet their dog or cat if they have one and remember their pets name. This will help when you come back in 6 months for a routine preventative maintenance or on a next service call.
Get a notepad app for your phone and document this stuff. You have no idea the effect this has on people when you remember their names, especially when you see them once every six months. Unless your maintenance is crappy, and you are going on service calls once a week to their home. This is not how you want to remember peoples names…
Getting in good with the customer builds trust, trust leads to a dedicated customer that’s going to refer you to all of their friends and family because you did a good job and you did what was right for the customer.