Why Fox Family Service Calls Are All the Same
For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on standardizing the way we carry out our service calls. It’s really just good practice to have it written down for someone who might need to refer to it. It’s good to have a system for AC and heating service calls, but at the same time, we never want to take the personal aspect out of each call either. We hire our technicians for their personalities and train them to become great service technicians.
So how do we keep our service calls structured while still maintaining that family feel? At Fox Family Heating and Air, Melissa and I focus daily on treating our technicians great. We know that by treating them with the respect and kindness they deserve, they will take care of our customers the same way. We feel that goes a long way in reaching the goals of a structured service call while being personable at the same time.
It’s almost impossible to expect each service call to go the same way, every time. There are too many variables when it comes to residential and commercial HVAC services. Every customer’s concerns are unique to them.
But at the same time, if our customers refer us to their friends and family to service their HVAC systems, we want the flow of the call to be very similar from home to home and business to business. Our techs have a routine that includes:
- The Pre-Arrival
- Approaching the door
- Making Contact
- The Conversation
- The Diagnosis
- Making the Repairs
- Completing the Call
I can explain some of the aspects of our service call that should be standard from technician to technician in the hopes that no matter who comes out to service the HVAC system the total experience will be the same.
We always call our customers when we’re on the way. It’s nice to give our customers about a 15 to 30-minute heads up. It takes us off the clock for a customer who is expecting us.
The pre-arrival also includes us gathering ourselves after the drive to the job site. It’s important for a tech to leave the stresses of their day behind us. Traffic, other service calls, and life in general can make things tough for anyone.
At the arrival, we ensure our techs park on the street in front of the home or business. It’s important for us to not take our customers for granted in thinking we can just pull up in their driveway. Sometimes it’s necessary to park in the driveway, but we always get permission first.
Approaching the Door
On our approach to the home, we make sure not to walk across the lawn. Coming up the driveway or sidewalk is best for keeping the home clean once we get inside. We also only come to the front door. It’s just unorthodox to come to the side or back door to greet a customer. And, since everyone wants to feel like they’re the most important person on the technician’s mind at the time of arrival, talking or texting on the phone is avoided.
When we make contact with customers at the door, it’s important for us to be aware of certain things. Not everyone wants to shake hands with a technician when they arrive. We can be known to work on some dirty things during the day and people know that. But, if someone initiates a handshake, we always welcome it.
We also ask our customers if they’d like us to wear our shoe covers in the house to protect their floors. It’s also important for us to respect people’s homes and businesses by just focusing on the task at hand. We understand that people are private in their homes and everyone’s lifestyles are different. Making comments about cleanliness or particular items in the home is not what we do. So that sort of respect goes a long way with our customers, and they feel comfortable with us in their homes.
Having the Conversation
One thing I tell my techs is that we’ve heard our customer’s concerns a million times. They’re usually very similar from one customer to the next. But it’s important to Fox Family that we stop talking and listen to the customer’s concerns without interrupting. After they’re done telling us, we might ask some more specific questions to help us narrow down the problem, like:
- How long has it been happening?
- Has there been a power outage in your neighborhood lately? (brownouts, blackouts)
- Who does the preventive maintenance on your system?
- Any other history of problems with that unit?
We also want to learn about other areas of the home that might have problems going on. Perhaps there’s a room in a certain part of the house that’s warmer or cooler than the others, or they’re having air quality issues in the home, etc.
Along with those extra questions, we also like to ask “We’re always on the lookout for ways to make your system run better, last longer or be safer for you and your family. If I see something like that while I’m here, can I bring it to your attention?”
Some people say, “No” and that’s totally fine. We’ll get in and get out in a timely manner. But not asking puts us in a position where some customers might think we weren’t being thorough enough on the call to foresee these other problems.
Once we’ve figured out what’s going on with the system, we try to be as thorough as possible and let the customer know about any system problems we may have seen. For instance, the control board of a system might need to be replaced, but the capacitor for the blower motor (which is still working) is almost out of stored energy, which will prevent it from regulating the voltage to that motor.
The heat exchanger or firebox of the furnace keeps the spent gases in those hot chambers and flue pipe which then exhausts out of the rooftop. Let’s say you have a bad inducer motor which is preventing your system from running. Well, if the firebox of the furnace has failed, we feel like our customers would want to know since it involves their system running safely.
All in all, I just tell my techs to suggest all repairs needed as if it were their home’s HVAC system. We just want to bring the system back to manufacturer specs and keep the residents of that home safe. That particular home may need multiple repairs to get it back up and running in tip-top shape.
Another unique thing about Fox Family is that we want to protect the homeowner who may be using their house as a rental. One way we do this is by only talking to the owner about the repairs since they are the ones paying for it. The landlord/tenant relationship can be dicey at times. If we divulge repair information to the tenant but the owner decides not to make that repair, it can stir up the relationship which is not what we want to contribute to.
We understand that maybe only one repair can be made that day. Our customers’ budgets differ from one to another. We simply make the suggestions and do the work our customers approve.
Fox Family differentiates itself from other companies by offering a lifetime warranty on the parts we use to repair your system. This puts the responsibility on us to use the best products for your repair, which makes our customers feel better about the money they’re spending.
Making the Repairs
When making the repairs, we can usually go right out to our service truck and get the parts we need. Keeping our trucks stocked with all the right parts gets our customers heating or cooling again, quicker.
Sometimes a special part needs to be ordered and delivered to our shop. When the part comes in, we make the appointment to come back out and replace the part for the same price we agreed upon the first visit. Keeping the customer informed along the way during the delivery is another way we provide that personal touch with our customers.
After the repair, we clean up the service area and try to make it like we were never there. Hopefully, this will make the whole repair process go smoother for the customer.
Completing the Call
When it’s time to complete the call, we try to sit down at the kitchen table and go over everything we’ve done. We mention our lifetime warranty on the parts they’re paying for, and we offer to come out and perform the preventive maintenance on their system to help keep the system running as long as possible.
Our technicians are asked to collect the money for repairs they made that day, as billing can get very complicated for the office.
The only other thing I ask our techs to do is to make sure our customers know how much we appreciate them and to thank them for trusting us with their home’s HVAC system.
Having a standardized way of running a service call keeps every experience with a tech who comes to a customer’s home very similar. That way when we’re referred to friends and family, they get the same experience. All the personality and conversation during the rest of the call comes genuinely from our technicians. That’s why we hire our techs for their personalities and not so much their skills. Skills can be taught; a great personality can’t.
Thanks so much for stopping by and we’ll see you on the next blog.