• SkillCat Team

HVAC Techs' Guide to Successful Customer Interaction

Updated: Jul 12

Customer Interaction: Chapter 1


Greeting the Customer


In this module, we will learn to strengthen our interactions with customers through greetings. Skip to quiz!


Overview

Customer interaction is any communication between a customer and a company. As a technician, anytime we speak to a customer, we communicate on behalf of the company.

Good customer interaction helps the company make a bond with its customers. A bad customer interaction can make a customer think poorly of both the technician and the company. This is why, as HVAC technicians, we must do our best in every customer interaction.

How many times have we seen bad reviews about a company online? For example, “this company has bad service” or “ this company doesn’t care about its customers.” These reviews most likely are the result of only one bad customer interaction.


But, other customers reading these reviews might not see it that way. To them, the reviews show if a company is good or bad to its customers. This is why, as HVAC technicians, we must do our best in every customer interaction.


Looking presentable is one of the most critical aspects of good customer interaction.


Arrival

Before you go to any customer’s house, you need to make sure both you and your van look presentable.


No customer wants to see a dirty technician van pulling up to their house. It looks unprofessional. Similarly, we don’t want our clothes to be dirty.


Always assume the customer is watching you when you pull up to their house until you leave. After arriving at the customer's place, park your van at the correct location.

It would be best if you never parked in a customer’s driveway. By parking in the driveway, we are invading the customer’s space. It is safest to park our van on the street to avoid upsetting the customer.

After we park at the appropriate location, we can knock on the customer’s door. Recall, you should always assume the customer is watching. Don’t do anything unprofessional while walking up to the door, such as picking your nose.

When knocking on the door, do not bang on the door repeatedly. Same goes for a doorbell, don’t ring the bell repeatedly.


Greeting


When the customer opens the door, greet them with a smile. Then, introduce yourself to the customer and say why you are at their place.


When introducing ourselves, we need to state both our name and the company we work for. After introducing yourself, confirm the location with the customer.


For example, your name is Bill, and you’re an HVAC technician for SkillCat. You are at the Smith’s house for maintenance call. You will introduce yourself in the following way.


After the customer confirms the location, you need to explain why we are at their house. When explaining to the customer about the service, avoid using complicated language. Remember, not all of our customers might be knowledgeable about HVAC.


We also need to mention how long the job might take and any fees due after the service. This is important to mention, so the customer has an idea about the duration of the job.


Recall, you are at the customer’s house for a maintenance call. Using that as an example, this is how you should explain the service agenda.


After explaining the agenda, ask the customer if they have any questions. Answer any questions they might have.


Entering the Customer’s Home


Many jobs might not require us to go into customer’s homes, but some do. Anytime you need to enter a customer’s house, you first need to ask for their permission.


After permitted to enter, make sure to wear your shoe cover. As HVAC technicians, your shoe might be dirty from working. Wearing a shoe cover avoids getting the customer's house dirty.

It shows the customer that you value both them and their home.


When putting on the shoe cover, make sure to excuse yourself from the customer. Don't put the shoe cover on in the middle of the conversation or out of nowhere. That way, we are respectful to the customer if they feel uncomfortable if we suddenly bend down to put the shoe cover on.


Problem Situations

If you are late to a customer’s house, you have to call in advance to let them know. Sometimes the customer might ask to reschedule the appointment.


If the customer decides not to reschedule, you go to their house. When you arrive at the house, introduce yourself and the company you work for. Follow it up with an apology because being late makes it seem like we don’t value their time.


In this unit, we learned about the importance of customer interaction. We also learned how to greet a customer and explain to them the service agenda. Lately, we have learned what to do when running late to a customer’s house.


Gathering Information


In this topic, we will learn how to gather information about the HVAC unit before troubleshooting. Skip to quiz!


Finding Information


Before we arrive at the customer’s house, make sure to speak to the dispatcher about the problems the customer has mentioned. If you don’t know the problem, the customer will think you are unprepared for the job. After greeting the customer, confirm with them what the dispatcher shared with you.


After confirming the information, ask the customer for additional issues they came across since then.


Communication Skills


When the customer speaks to you about the problems, you need to show them that we thoroughly listen to them. Never interrupt the customer when they are speaking. Instead, give feedback phrases, such as, “I see, or I understand.”


After the customer is done speaking about their problem, you need to demonstrate that you understood it. You can do this by summarizing the problem back to the customer.


To summarize, repeat what the customer said in your own words. Putting it in your words lets the customer know that you understood the problem.


Problem Situation

Up until now, we have asked the customer multiple questions. This is a way to keep the customer involved with what you are doing. But, many times, the customer might be busy and might not want to talk too much.


When a customer is rushing you to do troubleshooting, you need to respect their decisions. But before starting the troubleshooting, ask the customer if there is anything you need to keep in mind while working. For example, the customer might not feel comfortable going into certain rooms.


In this unit, we learned how to understand the customer’s problem entirely before starting the troubleshooting. We also learned how to respond to a busy customer instead of not getting too involved throughout the job.



Troubleshooting


In this module, we will learn to strengthen our interactions with customers when troubleshooting. Skip to quiz!


Updating


When and how many times you should update the customer depends on the customer. For example, a customer is interested in what you are doing and is looking over your shoulders.

Then, give them frequent updates as you are doing the job.


But sometimes, when a customer is looking over your shoulder, they might be in your way. Then, politely ask them to give you some space.


But most of the time, the customer will let you do your job without checking up on you. Then, frequent updates aren’t needed. Give an update every 30 minutes or whenever you cross paths with the customer.


For example, you see a customer coming down the stairs, and you are about to go to your van to get some tools. Then this is how you inform them.


Work Environment


Anytime you are going back to the van, take the tools that you’re not using. This way, you maintain a clean and clutterless working environment.


Another way to keep the work environment clean is by gathering up the tools. Don’t let all the tools lay on the floor the whole time you are working. Instead, gather your tools in the toolbox as you are finished with them.


Sometimes when cleaning up or while checking the unit, you might damage the customer’s property. When that happens, inform the customer immediately.


In this unit, we learned how and when to update a customer. We also learned different ways to keep a clean working environment. Lastly, we learned how to confront the customer when their property was damaged while working.


Explaining the Problem


In this module, we will learn to strengthen our interactions with customers when explaining problems. Skip to quiz!


Identifying the Problem

When working, you might come across other problems with the component. Then, take pictures of the problem area to show to the customer.


Use the pictures to explain the problem to the customer. This way, they have something to when you are describing the problem.


The pictures are not enough for the customer to believe your words. You also need to show the customer proof of the problem. For example, if a filter has low air pressure, measure the air pressure and proof.


Lastly, when explaining the problem to the customer, use simple language. This makes it easier for the customer to understand the problems found.


An excellent way to simplify the description is by comparing the problem to something the customer will understand. For example, if the air pressure in the filters is low, compare that to having blood pressure.


After the problem has been explained, let the customer know the importance of solving the problem. Let's use the low air pressure to explain that it can affect people's health in the house if the pressure isn't fixed.


Presenting Options


After letting the customer know about the importance of repair, give them at least three repair options. The options should follow the best better and good ranking.


The best option is to replace the component or get it to work like a new one. By getting it to work like new, it will improve the customer’s quality of life. For example, if a filter does not have the best air quality, it will make the house sick. This is why changing the filter out will be the best repair option.


A better option is to get the component back to running as well as possible. For the air pressure problem, a better option will be to clean out the filters. And to inspect the ductwork for any blockage and leaks.


A good option is to get the problem fixed to make the component run for the time being. For example, instead of replacing the filter completely, you can recommend the customer to get it cleaned out. This will solve the air quality problem for the time being.


After explaining the repair options, make sure to let the costume know that it is up to them to choose what is best for them. That way, the customer doesn’t feel pressured to make a decision.


When you are done explaining the problems you identified, it is crucial to let the customer know there might be more problems. Meaning, the problems you mentioned to the customer are what you have identified. But more problems might be found when a full maintenance inflection is done on the unit.


To prevent finding more and more problems with the unit, recommend a maintenance check every six months. A regular maintenance check can reduce the chances of the system wearing out. This means the unit will last longer.


Presenting Options


Explaining the problem might not always go as smoothly as demonstrated. Sometimes, even when shown proofs, some customers won’t believe your diagnosis. When that happens, inform the customer that they can ask other techs to double-check.


Lately, when we talk to the customer(s), there might be more than one decision-maker. When that happens, make sure to acknowledge all of them.


When speaking, do not focus your attention on one of the parties. Instead, make sure to speak while making eye contact with everyone people present.


In this unit, we learned how to explain problems to customers using simple language, pictures and proofs. We also learned that we should always give the customers at least three options for repair.


We also learned how to handle customers who don’t believe our diagnosis. Lastly, we learned how to communicate when there are multiple decision-makers present.



Quoting


In this module, we will learn to strengthen our interactions with customers while quoting. Skip to quiz!


Pricing


Previously we mentioned how to explain different repair options to the customer. After explaining the repair options to the customer, show them the standard pricing for the repairs suggested by you.


If the customer asks for a price reduction, kindly let them know that is not possible. As a technician, you cannot negotiate the prices with the customer.


If the customer is unsure about the repair, don’t pressure them to decide. For example, if the customer looks like they are not interested in repairing or making excuses like I have to wait and see before I decide. Then back off and avoid applying pressure on the customer.


If the customer doesn’t want to do any repairs, move on to explain the cost of the maintenance. If they do, give them the maintenance cost. Let them know the repair cost is not included.


Reporting


Before moving forward, give the customer a copy of the report. The report should clearly state the condition of the HVAC unit and list the problems identified. Along with the problems identified, it also says the recommended repair or replacements.

With the report, also give the customer an invoice. An invoice is the billing tab that explains all the individual payments paid by the customer.


Problem Situation


Sometimes you might have a customer who refuses to pay. If the customer disagrees with the price and refuses to pay, let them know that you already discussed the fee at the beginning of the call. If they still refuse, call the service manager and have the customer talk to them.

If a customer wants to use another company for repair, assure them your company provides the best options and the best repair price. If they still want to go to another company, let them because it is up to them to make their own decisions.


In this unit, we learned how to talk to the customer about the price book. We also learned how to ask the customer for a maintenance fee and handle a customer when they refuse to pay the fee. Lastly, we learned how to explain the report and the invoice to the customer.



Leaving


This topic will learn how to demonstrate good customer interaction while leaving the customer’s house. Skip to quiz!


Cleaning

Before leaving the customer’s house, make sure everything is clean. This way, not only do you clean the workspace, but you also ensure you are not leaving anything behind.


One way to clean is by putting everything where you found them. This includes rugs or furniture you have moved. At this stage, also double-check if the system is working from the thermostat.


Leaving the Customer


After the cleaning is complete, it is time to leave the customer’s house. Just like you have done until now, be polite and give thanks to the customer before leaving.


Also, follow it up by giving the customer your or the service manager's phone number for further questions.


In this unit, we learned how to clean up before leaving a customer’s house properly. We also learned how to address the customer when leaving their house.



Question #1: Bad customer interaction will only make you look bad, not the company.

  1. True

  2. False

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Answer: False

Remember, as a technician, you are representing the company. This is why you and the company will look bad if a customer interaction doesn’t go right.


Question #2: You see parking space in the customer’s driveway. What will you do?

  1. I will park in the driveway

  2. I will park in front of the driveway.

  3. I will park on the streets even if there is a parking space in the driveway.

  4. Not sure.

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Answer: I will park on the streets even if there is a parking space in the driveway.

It would be best if you never parked in a customer’s driveway.


Question #3: What two things you should always say when introducing yourself to a customer?

  1. Name and the company I work for

  2. Name and job description

  3. Job description and the company’s name.

  4. Only need to say my name.

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Answer: Name and the company I work for

When introduction yourself, always tell the customer your name and the company you work for.


Question #4: The customer doesn’t ask how you will take to get the job done, should you still tell them how long it will take?

  1. Yes, it will allow the customer to know about the duration of the job

  2. No because they are not interested.

  3. No because that is not important

  4. Not sure

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Answer: Yes, it will allow the customer to know about the duration of the job

This is important to mention, so the customer has an idea about the duration of the job.


Question #5: If you are 10 minutes late to an appointment, you don’t have to call the customer to let them know.

  1. True

  2. False

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Answer: True

Always call to let the customer know if you will be late for the appointment. It doesn’t matter how late.


Question #6: You should always know what the customer called in for before going to their house.

  1. True

  2. False

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Answer: True

Always know the problem before going to a customer’s house because you will think you are ill-prepared for your job.


Question #7: Why is summarizing the problem back to the customer important?

  1. Lets the technician speak to the customer more

  2. Lets the customer know that you respect them

  3. By summarizing the problem, you are letting the customer know that you understand the problem

  4. Not sure

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Answer: By summarizing the problem, you are letting the customer know that you understand the problem

Summarizing lets the customer know that you understood the problem


Question #8: When a customer is rushing you to get to work, you should respect their decision.

  1. True

  2. False

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Answer: True

When a customer is rushing you to get into work, respect their choices and get to work.


Question #9: Usually, how often should you update the customer?

  1. Every 10 minutes

  2. Every 30 minutes

  3. Every hour

  4. Never

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Answer: Every 30 minutes

It’s good to update the customer every 30 minutes.

Question #10: Select all the methods you can use to keep a clean environment while working?

  1. Bring tools back to the van with you when they are not needed anymore.

  2. It would help if you only cleaned when you are done with work.

  3. Don’t keep tools lying around; instead, put them away in the toolbox.

  4. Leave all your tools in the car and get them one by one.

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Answer: Bring tools back to the van with you when they are not needed anymore.

Don’t keep tools lying around; instead, put them away in the toolbox.

A great way to practice keeping a clean work environment is by bringing tools back to the van with you when they are not needed anymore.Also, while working, don’t keep tools lying around, instead put them away in the toolbox.


Question #11: When you damage a customer’s property,you should let them know immediately.

  1. True

  2. False

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Answer: True

Inform the customer as soon as you damaged their property


Question #12: What do you need when explaining a problem to a customer?

  1. Proof

  2. You don’t need anything

  3. Proof and pictures

  4. Pictures

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Answer: Proof and pictures

When explaining a problem to the customer, it is good to have a picture for them to see. Also, all the problems must have proof for the customer to believe us.


Question #13: When explaining problems to the customer, you should always make it as simple as possible.

  1. True

  2. False

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Answer: True

Using simple words to explain problems to the customer will allow them to understand the problem better.


Question #14: How many options should you give the customer for repair?

  1. 1

  2. 2

  3. 3

  4. None because it is up to the customer to figure it out.

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Answer: 3

Giving three options: best, better, and good will help the customer make the best decision for themselves.


Question #15: What should you do when a customer doesn’t believe in your diagnosis?

  1. Talk to them until they believe you

  2. Show them more proof

  3. Get mad at the customer

  4. Leave it alone and recommend that they get it checked by another technician.

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Answer: Leave it alone and recommend that they get it checked by another technician.

When a customer doesn’t believe in your diagnosis, don’t force the customer to believe you. Instead, inform the customer that they can ask other techs to double-check.


Question #16: As a technician, can you negotiate the repair prices with any customer?

  1. Yes, only when the customer is friendly.

  2. No, because it is not up to the customer to negotiate the prices.

  3. No, because the customer didn’t ask nicely.

  4. Yes, because we want the customer to become a loyal customer at our company.

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Answer: No, because it is not up to the customer to negotiate the prices.

As a technician, you can never negotiate the repair prices with any customer.


Question #17: What do you do when a customer refuses to pay?

  1. Yell at the customer until they pay.

  2. Pressure the customer to pay the fees.

  3. Respectfully let them know that they have to make the payment. And remind the customer the fees have already been discussed.

  4. Leave the customer’s house.

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Answer: Respectfully let them know that they have to make the payment. And remind the customer the fees have already been discussed.

When a customer refuses to pay, respectfully let them know that they have to make the payment. And remind the customer the fees have already been discussed.


Question #18: If you moved stuff around, such as furniture, you should:

  1. Clean up only your tools and don’t worry about the furniture.

  2. Leave it to the customer to put it back when it was.

  3. Don’t put the furniture back where it was because you are too tired from the job.

  4. Always put the furniture back.

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Answer: Always put the furniture back.

Before leaving, put everything where you found them. This includes rugs or furniture you have moved.

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