Tech Falls Into Customer’s Trap – Literally!

By: Joe Crisara

Man On a Mission

Gerry was a technician on a mission. He was going to try to break the company record for doing the most calls (14) in one day. This day seemed like the perfect storm where everything was in place to set the record.

The boss told him at 7 a.m. that they were swamped with tune-ups and no cooling calls and it was 95 degrees and relative humidity of 87% today. These were just the kind of conditions that would keep the calls rolling in to break the record.

The day started off great. He was on his third call by 9:30 a.m. with the first two calls being A/C tune-ups where nothing was wrong and each call only took around 35 minutes. At 9:35 he received a call from the dispatcher saying that the first call he did now had no cooling. Gerry was livid. This was going to screw up the record for sure.

Headed For a Fall

He quickly finished up the call he was on and hurried back to the first call. Gerry knew this customer always wanted him to use the side door when entering the home so off he went. When he got to the side door, it was wide open. He figured this meant to just come in a start working.

Gerry, still in a major hurry, and with the prospect of doing more than 14 calls in his head, shouted, “Anybody hooooooommmmme?” Oooomph!!! As he walked through the doorway and stepped into a 5-foot trap door that lead to the crawlspace where the customer was getting some garden hoses out for the summer. Gerry caught himself with his left arm as he fell into the trap door opening. He then dropped 5 feet where he laid on top of the garden hoses with a disconnected left shoulder. He began screaming in excruciating pain, every four-letter word known to man! **&@#!!!^*!!

Poor Gerry, There he lay, on the crawlspace floor, wreathing in pain while the customer on his hands and knees recoiled in horror, not two feet away, thanking his lucky stars that Gerry did not fall on him. The customer went upstairs and called the paramedics who took Gerry to the hospital for treatment.

Too Busy To Fail?

Gerry’s company was too busy to send a replacement out to the job or to even get his truck. The truck sat there on the street with the windows open while in rained into Gerry’s truck all night long. All of Gerry’s tools and paperwork were trashed from the water. The customer meanwhile called another company who correctly diagnosed the problem. It turned out the customer had a condensing fan motor that was going off on overload and the customer knew the unit wasn’t working right when he called Gerry’s company for a tune-up.

The customer then called to complain to Gerry’s company for exposing his kids to all the swearing that Gerry did in the crawlspace and also complained that Gerry had ‘ripped him off’ by charging him $49 for a tune-up where he couldn’t find a bad fan motor. He also stopped his check for the $49 payment.

What do you think this customer will tell his friends about Gerry and his company?

Lessons Learned:

Mistakes Gerry, his boss and all of us can learn from:

  1. The only call that is important is the call he is on now. Don’t worry about any future or past calls.
  2. His boss telling the team that they’re swamped takes focus away from performing higher quality.
  3. Gerry thought the company valued speed over quality, reliability & customer service.
  4. Is great service performed by doing more calls? Or by doing more work on fewer calls?
  5. Why is the dispatcher calling Gerry while he is on a job to tell him of his past failure?
  6. If you are going to set a record. Set one for providing the best solutions.

Do yourself a favor and go ahead and share this with your techs before they start running from call to call like Gerry.

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