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How HVAC Pros Should Deal with Difficult Customers

How HVAC Pros Should Deal with Difficult Customers

How HVAC Pros Should Deal with Difficult Customers

Over the course of doing their job, HVAC technicians, like other professionals in the home service industry, have the unfortunate task of dealing with difficult customers. While that isn’t unusual for professionals in other fields of work, there are a few reasons why it can happen so frequently for home service professionals.

Perhaps the most relevant reason why is that HVAC technicians rarely interact with a customer when they are having a wonderful day. The entire reason you are there is that they are in a difficult situation, either something is wrong with their heating or cooling system and they are super hot, cold, or uncomfortable making them agitated or unhappy before you even arrive. 

In addition, because of your service, they are likely looking at a somewhat sizable bill. While HVAC technicians provide an important service, they aren’t always the bearers of great news. Unhappy customers may feel more inclined to voice their displeasure because they are in their own home as well, especially if they’ve had a poor experience in the past. 

Combine all the factors that can make a customer unhappy along with any feeling they may get that they received poor service or the job wasn’t performed to their liking and you’ll likely find yourself with a difficult customer.

While you may or may not be at fault, dealing with a difficult customer isn’t fun. But if you do, use these helpful tips to help defuse the situation and find the best resolution possible.

Stay cool

If an unhappy customer gets nasty with you, especially if you are in a hot and humid house, it can be easy to lose your temper and get nasty right back. This is the absolute worst-case scenario. If you lose your cool with a customer, it is only going to get uglier, there isn’t likely to be any positive resolution, and the customer is likely to take the complaint up the chain of command and get you in even deeper trouble.

But, if you manage to keep your cool and keep your emotions out of it you will be able to focus on how to deal with the problem and not simply get emotional about the situation. If you are able to speak clearly and calmly, the customer may be encouraged to calm down and follow your lead. Then, once both parties are calm you can focus on finding a solution. 

Hear them out

While the service industry saying goes “the customer is always right,” sometimes they simply aren’t. They may indeed have the situation all wrong, be upset and directing their anger about something outside of your power at you, or simply just being altogether difficult. No matter how wrong they may be or how nasty they are about the situation, at least hear them out.

By listening to the customer instead of trying to correct them, talk over them, or argue with them, you can start building rapport with them. It demonstrates to them that you are paying attention to their concerns and listening to them are actively trying to understand and get to the root of the problem. By actively listening and repeating and acknowledging their concerns, your level of care about your job and the situation becomes apparent.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep

While it is important to take the concerns of a difficult customer seriously and to do everything in your power to resolve the situation to their satisfaction, it is also important to realize that the issue may be something outside of your control or something you simply can’t resolve right then and there. For that reason, tell them you will do everything you can to fix the problem but never make a promise you know you can’t keep.

Making and breaking a promise to a customer is a bad road you don’t want to go down. When you break a promise with an already angry customer they feel betrayed and will only flare tempers even more. It also puts you in the unfortunate position of having to backtrack and most likely need to apologize.

It’s OK to fire a customer

Sometimes there’s just no winning with a customer. If a customer is getting downright unpleasant and it is obvious that there is no pleasing them. In the end, you are just going to sink excessive time and energy into them and not see a dime. We call these kinds of clients “tire kickers” and sometimes it is OK to simply fire them.

You hear it all the time from the other perspective, a customer firing their service provider, but it can work the other way too. If you reach a point where the unpleasantness of a customer is too great to handle, refusing to offer your services is a viable, albeit fairly drastic, option.

Don’t take the argument online

If a situation isn’t 100% resolved by the time you leave or you are put in a position where you have to fire a customer, it is a good possibility that they may try and take their complaints to the internet, leaving a negative review or comment. How a home service professional handles themselves online is just as important as how they handle themselves in person, so it is important that you handle negative reviews carefully.

First of all, treat every review respectfully and don’t continue whatever disagreement you may have had in-person online. When you argue with a customer online, you air your dirty laundry in front of anyone who cares to look and can only serve to drive away potential customers. But, if your response is cordial, calm, and inviting for them to contact you directly to once more try and resolve the issue, potential customers will see that as well and see your positive reaction to difficult situations.

Customer service skills are one of the most important skills HVAC technicians need to have in their toolbox, along with the knowledge and skills to repair and install heating and cooling systems of course. Having a thorough understanding of how to provide customer service and deal with difficult customers can help any technician succeed.

Communication and customer service are two areas we focus deeply on during our course here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating as we prepare up and coming Houston HVAC technicians dealing with difficult customers. Contact us to learn more about our classes and enrollment. 

Tips For Finding a Great First HVAC Job

Tips For Finding a Great First HVAC Job

Graduating from the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating and becoming a certified HVAC technician is an exciting time! You’ve just completed the first major step on your path to beginning a successful and fulfilling career. Now comes the next stepping stone: finding your first HVAC job.

Job hunting can be intimidating, but with the training and expertise you receive at the Training Center, you should have the confidence to take on any new challenges when it comes to beginning your career. 

As important as it is to land your first HVAC job and start putting your education into practice, it is just as important to find the right first HVAC job. Getting the right job starts your career on the right foot in an environment that you don’t just have the potential to succeed in but also enjoy!

As you begin your job search, use these simple tips to help you find the right environment for a successful first HVAC job.

Don’t be afraid to be picky

It’s important to get your first job under your belt, but that doesn’t mean you have to rush into the first opportunity that presents itself. HVAC technicians, and many other careers in skilled trades, are in extremely high demand as businesses look to fill their many job openings with a limited pool of skilled professionals.

That high demand means that you’ll likely have very little trouble finding available work, so you can take your time and be a little picky about the company you choose and really make sure you get your career started in the right environment. Don’t be afraid to take on multiple interviews and not jump at the first offer that comes your way in order to find the right company. 

Check their reviews

When you join a company, their reputation becomes your reputation. As you are doing research into potential companies to join it is important to know in advance how they do business and making sure they do things the right way. One of the best ways you can get an idea of the quality of work an HVAC company does and how it treats its customers is to check its online presence and reviews.

Check out their social media sites and their profile on Google to read what their customers say about their experience working with their technicians. Obviously, every review for every business isn’t going to be glowing but look for trends about comments on the quality of their work and the work ethic of their technicians. If there is a consistent pattern of less than stellar work, that is a sign of a company lacking accountability and likely not a very professional environment. If the opposite is true, however, that is a sign that the company has a deep passion for their work and would likely make a great first HVAC job.

Visit their location

As you are submitting resumes, even in the very digital world we live in, HVAC remains a very nuts and bolts kind of business. Showing up to a business’ location to hand-deliver your resume, shake hands with your potential employer, and introduce yourself in person can make a great first impression on a prospective employer. 

However, not only is visiting an HVAC business a great way to give you a leg up on the competition as they are making their hiring decisions, but it is also a great opportunity for you to get a lay of the land as well. You can use this opportunity to not only impress, but also get an evaluation of the office environment, potential coworkers, and culture to determine if it is indeed a company you would fit in well at.

Ask your training instructor

Not sure where to begin your search? Unsure of which companies in your area may be the best fit for you to start your HVAC career off? Your training instructor can be a fantastic resource! Their experience not only in the field but in the local community should give them a wealth of information as to what you should be looking for in a great first HVAC job and which companies in your area may be best to apply or look into.

Your instructor can also be a valuable resource as you are applying as well. You may consider asking them to write you a letter of recommendation as you narrow down your choices and begin doing interviews.

Chris Walters of the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating has 38 years of experience in the HVAC industry and is a state subject matter expert on heating and cooling in Texas and Houston area. The education you receive here and the advice Chris can pass along from his vast experience will give you a huge leg up on the competition as you begin your search for your first HVAC job. 

Learn more about beginning your HVAC career at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating! And, once you land your first interview, be sure to use these tips to make sure you land your dream job.  

Most Common HVAC Hazards to Technicians and How to Prevent Them

Most Common HVAC Hazards to Technicians and How to Prevent Them

HVAC technicians live a fulfilling and rewarding profession, perfect for anyone looking for a skilled profession in the trades. But, as rewarding of a career as it is, it is a job where professionals need to maintain vigilance at all times and practice extreme safety at all times from the potential hazards they may face.

The nature of a HVAC tech’s job can put them in some precarious positions due to where they work, how they work, and the equipment they work with. Both current and aspiring HVAC technicians as well as those looking to operate their own HVAC business need to be aware at all times of the hazards they and their employees face during the course of their work day and how they can best take the necessary steps to avoid them and be as safe as possible at all times.

Fatigue

During the dog days of summer here in Houston, life can be a little rough for air conditioning technicians. They work long hours in hot conditions running from job to job with often very little downtown in between. All of this can put a great strain on technicians and cause a tremendous amount of fatigue. When HVAC technicians become fatigued they run the risk of making mistakes or losing alertness which won’t just result in poor service and installation but can also put them and their customers at risk of harm from many of the hazards we are about to cover, potentially falling asleep at the wheel between jobs, and dehydration.

It is important during the course of a work day for HVAC technicians and the company that employs them to take the necessary precautions to avoid fatigue to ensure safety and performance. Technicians need to make sure they stay hydrated throughout the day, take breaks for rest when necessary, don’t skip over meals, and alert their employers or dispatches when rest is necessary. HVAC employers also need to be aware of their workers’ needs and schedule their jobs accordingly.

High Falls

Particularly when working on commercial heating and cooling systems, HVAC technicians will often find themselves in some fairly high environments whether they are on top of a roof or on a ladder accessing ductwork or vents in a ceiling or attic space. In these situations, the dangers of falling from a high location is very real and can result in serious bodily harm.

Any technician that will be working at heights needs to practice extreme caution. Always check and double check the location of ladders and scaffolding you need to use to ensure it is sturdy and secure to use. Always have a spotter when you can and in extremely high environments, the use of a safety harness should always be insisted upon.

Burns

In between the open flame used in some heating equipment, the natural heat that air conditioning and furnaces can produce, equipment sitting in the hot sun, and soldering (which is a practice that is sometimes used during HVAC installations and repairs) the average HVAC technician has no shortage of opportunities to burn themselves both mildly and severely. 

Practicing the utmost caution around hot or potentially hot equipment is a must for technicians, especially here in Houston. Always try and make sure equipment is cool before you start working on it, but also be sure to wear the appropriate protection of heat-resistant gloves when it is appropriate for extra protection. Even on a hot day, long sleeves can help protect your arms from incidental contact with hot objects.

Electrocution

HVAC work involves frequently interacting with electrical equipment and wiring. One false step can mean you face harmful electrocution. Not only is electrocution harmful to the technician, but if fatigue is also a factor, a live exposed wire left unattended could also mean harm to the person they are servicing. 

Electric shock can happen in an instant, and it can be difficult to tell if a wire is live or not. Therefore, safety against electrocution should be one of the primary concerns of HVAC technicians at all times. Always carry the proper equipment necessary to test the charge of wires before interacting with them and always be sure to wear protective gloves when working with electricity. If necessary, you may also consider shutting off the power to the area you are working on prior to beginning service as an extra precaution.

Safety is a very important aspect of being a successful HVAC technician and safety is also a primary focus of what we teach here at the Training Center for Heating and Air Conditioning. Our instructor, Chris Walters, takes an extensive amount of time dedicated to teaching and reinforcing proper HVAC safety to avoid these common HVAC hazards. 

Learn more about enrollment in a future class today.

Why HVAC Technicians are Heroes

Why HVAC Technicians are Heroes

There are a lot of very noble professions out there that people often consider heroes, from firefighters, doctors and nurses, or police officers. While it is undeniable that these professions are full of brave, hardworking, and heroic men and women, there is one profession out there that is very much made up of heroes in their own right that may not get the same recognition: HVAC technicians.

While this proclamation may surprise you, the men and women that work as HVAC technicians are indeed heroes, even if they don’t get the same kind of recognition as others. Every characteristic you look for to consider someone a “hero” is met and exceeded by those that proudly serve their communities. 

Here are the four biggest reasons why HVAC technicians are heroes of their community. 

HVAC techs possess a special skill

Inspecting, installing, and maintaining heating and cooling systems requires a very specific set of special skills that you can only get from dedicating time to furthering your education and getting certified. That is to say, it isn’t a job just anyone has the capability, knowledge, or skills to do! Part of what being a hero is about is providing a service that few can. Because of it, lots of people depend on you, often when they need help the most.

HVAC techs help those in need

If you still don’t think HVAC technicians are heroes, picture this scenario: in the middle of one of our hot Houston summers, your air conditioner dies. For those who are elderly or have other unique health conditions, extreme heat isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be fatal. A call to someone to come out to fix your air conditioning or furnace comes at a desperate time, and the person making it is going to come out of the transaction extremely thankful to their new hero who just came in to cool their house down and restore comfort to you and your family.

HVAC techs aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty

The daily challenges of an HVAC technician can take them to some pretty interesting places. They are often out working when the weather is at its hottest and coldest. They have to get up on roofs, inside crawl spaces, in between tight spots, and many other precarious places all in the course of doing their job. It can be a dirty job, but someone has to do it! The conditions they work in and places they work are all in the name of helping those in need, so you won’t hear them complain. It’s all in a day’s work.

HVAC are there when people need them

Part of being a hero is being there for those in need. If an air conditioner goes out on a Friday night, that person likely won’t be able to afford to wait until Monday to have your phone call returned. They need help right away to be able to beat the heat. A hero is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and so is a good HVAC technician. They are available whether it is record-breaking high or low temperatures – in fact, when the weather is at its worst, they are at their busiest.

Interested in a career in HVAC? A career in skilled labor is extremely rewarding, has lots of opportunity for growth, has an abundant amount of career opportunities, and can help you become a hero for those in need. 

If you are in the Houston, Texas area and want to start your career path, start it here at The Training Center for Air Conditioning and Heating. Learn more about upcoming classes and what you’ll learn over our 14-week courses here.

The HVAC Industry Needs More Women

The HVAC Industry Needs More Women

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry has long been a male-dominated industry. Whereas there are more females employed as social workers, human resources managers, speech-language pathologists, and dental assistants, men dominate the skilled trades. 

Of the 367,900 Americans employed in 2018 as HVAC mechanics and installers, just 1.4 percent of those were women according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For contractors looking to expand their workforce, a number like this represents a huge potential. There is a need for technical trades, especially as the industry is experiencing high demand. 

With skilled labor shortages, HVAC is one of the most in-demand careers on the market. The job outlook for HVAC careers is currently expected to grow 14% before 2024 – double the typical growth for most industries. This will allow for the creation of more jobs for women which is necessary in order for the industry to survive.

In order for businesses in the HVAC industry to grow and find quality employees for the future, business owners must look outside the industry’s preconceived idea of what a “service technician” looks like. When most people picture the average HVAC expert, they likely imagine a man. 

Challenging the Stereotype

Challenging the stereotype that HVAC technicians are always men is the first step to encouraging women to join this ever-growing industry. Once that is completed, women are often excited by the possibilities. A career in HVAC certainly offers a lot more than your typical day job!

In general, women communicate well, pay attention to detail, analyze situations and solve problems. These interpersonal skills in combination with HVAC skills can really help women succeed in the industry, and these skills can also help the HVAC industry as a whole. 

However, misconceptions about female HVAC technicians could be impeding the overall progress. Some people believe women are not strong enough or smart enough to work in the HVAC industry

Others think women lack the necessary training to perform the duties necessary to succeed. When women are being trained, they are being prepared to do the same work as a man meaning the training they receive is no different from the training men receive.

Women in HVACR is an organization that was organized exclusively for educational purposes to further the growth of women in all areas of the HVAC industry. This does not just include the technical area but also sales, management, and ownership. They work to debunk myths that the HVAC industry cannot succeed with women in it. Just like Women in HVACR, the organization Women of HVAC exists to include and promote women in an industry traditionally reserved for men.

How We Help

Here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating in Texas, we invite everyone to study under our director, Chris Walters. For women looking to better themselves and begin a career in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry, be sure to connect with us to learn more about planning your HVAC career!

If you have any questions regarding the HVAC industry and the education you will receive here, check out some of the common questions we receive and our answers to each. Your career’s ultimate success depends on several factors. Of these factors, the most important is arguably your training experience!

What Skills Do You Need to Succeed in a HVAC Career?

What Skills Do You Need to Succeed in a HVAC Career?

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry is expected to grow 14% before 2024 – double the typical growth for most industries. Becoming an HVAC technician is a great way to ensure your skills will always be in demand. Besides the technical skills, in this field, technicians also use practical skills that lead them to success.

Communication Skills

For those looking to step foot into the HVAC industry, it is important that you know how to communicate calmly and effectively with those you encounter. When working with many clients, it is important to understand that these clients may be stressed since things are not working the way they are supposed to.

You will need to be able to effectively explain what you are doing in order to help solve the problem at hand. A majority of your customers will not know the technical terms of the industry. Because of this, you will need to be able to explain what you are doing in a way that your customers will be able to understand. 

Clients already have high standards for anyone they choose to hire for HVAC work. By explaining the procedures, they will be much more comfortable and confident in your abilities as a technician. 

Problem Solving Skills

Troubleshooting is one of the most important skills someone can possess in the HVAC industry. A majority of the time, technicians will receive a call about a system before they have a chance to diagnose the problem. Being able to effectively identify an issue is just one skill necessary to be successful at problem-solving. However, a job may not always be as straightforward as it seems.

When the problem is different than what you originally thought, some quick, creative thinking will help you get the job done. This requires asking the client some questions and working with the system to see what may have failed. The faster you can figure out the problem and design a solution to fix it, the more effective you will be as a technician. 

Organization Skills

Many technicians deal with multiple calls a day and they have to be able to efficiently finish each task in order to move on to the next call without delay. Staying organized is a large part of being successful as a technician. You must be able to maintain accurate records of each visit, the work that was performed, and any equipment that was used.

Customer Service Skills

Any job where you will be interacting with clients regularly requires excellent customer service skills. Interacting with homeowners, property managers, and building superintendents takes a certain level of finesse that a great technician should have.

Clients often expect a professional attitude and general regard for the customer. As an HVAC technician, demonstrating excellent customer service to your clients will leave an excellent impression on them and encourage them to call you again the next time their air conditioning breaks down. 

Developing Your Skills

There are many skills necessary for you to succeed in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry. There will always be HVAC systems which means there will always be people that need repairs and replacements. To be successful in this industry, you need to have an exceptional list of skills and strengths. This may sound difficult, but for the right kind of person, it’s a fun, rewarding, and challenging career.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can succeed in the HVAC industry, contact us today.