Good Customer Service or Good Technical Skills: Which is Better to Have?

good customer service

Technical Skills Without Customer Service Can Be a Bad Mix and Vice Versa

Having both good customer service and good technical skills is super important.  But if we had to decide one or the other when it comes to hiring a technician or having a technician come out to your house for service, which one would it be?  I have my own opinion, and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.

Technical skills without customer service can be a bad mix and vice versa.  Is professional customer service needed as much as your need to have a seasoned technician who lacks the social skills to be a lady or gentleman in your home while performing that service? 

Is Good Customer Service Necessary?

Some people think customer service isn’t needed as much in the industrial or commercial sector because those technicians aren’t having to convince or deal with owners of the building right on the spot.  Even if they did, most building owners and landlords aren’t concerned with anything but getting the repair made. They also want it at the lowest expense possible.  They’re not concerned with how old the system is or the quality of the parts. Usually, they want to get as many years as possible out of their one system. To an extreme! I understand, though.  It’s a business decision where quality isn’t as important as function in most cases.

Residential customers, on the other hand, are more connected to their HVAC system.  They spend their hard-earned money on repairs and want their systems to last as long as possible, too.  When those systems get to a certain age, usually 15 to 20 years old, they start thinking about changing out that system because quality and efficiency are much more important to them.  Residential customers also feel more connected to their service technician and the company they represent.  Relationships develop between company and customer.    

Focusing on Customer Service

As our company grows and we are looking for our next technician to hire, this question comes up every time.  Do we employ an experienced tech that might come in with deeply ingrained habits that might not line up with policies and procedures we have at Fox Family?  Experienced techs that have always done it a certain way for years may not be focused on the customer service aspect.  

What About Technical Skills?

On the other hand, should we hire a technician who we know has a great personality and necessary technical skills?  This type of person is someone we can develop and mold into the kind of technician we want representing our company.  It will take months, sometimes even a year, for that tech to get to the point where they can even go out on repair service calls.  But, when it comes to deciding which technician to send into your home, it can be a tough decision.

My point is that some technically skilled people come into a company that may have worked for a shop that didn’t emphasize manners and common courtesies.  I’m referring to things like wearing shoe covers, wiping down attic accesses when they come out of the attic, wearing face masks during COVID-19 in 2020, tucking in their shirts, being clean-shaven, etc.  Things like these can make a difference when it comes to deciding whether or not I want that tech in our customer’s home.

A Better Tactic

A better tactic is to interview the most technically competent people available and, during subsequent interviews before hiring, work to discover the candidate’s collaborative abilities or willingness to learn such skills.

Summary

In talking about the relative importance of technical and people skills, it’s tough to suggest that one is more important than the other.  I read somewhere that an opera is comprised of both words and music. It doesn’t work if either is missing. Similarly, technicians must have both technical and people skills to do their jobs successfully.  Yes, technical skills come first.  But people skills allow us to convince others of our ideas, to collaborate successfully, and to build successful long-term customer and coworker relationships.

Thanks so much for reading this week, and we’ll see you on the next blog.

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