Turning Hacks into Teachable Experiences

We’ve all seen it – heck, HVAC-Hacks.com is proof every day! Hack jobs are unfortunately abundant in our industry, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the one making the hacks or fixing them – they make us all look bad.
So what’s a reputable HVAC contractor to do when he or she stumbles upon an epic hack on a call? While we all love a good social media post, you shouldn’t let that photo upload be the end of it. How you handle a prior hack job can benefit your team as well as earn future customers. Next time you see a hack job, realize you’ve stumbled upon a gold mine – a teachable moment has fallen into your lap!
So, who needs the education? Your technicians and your customers.
Teaching Technicians on a Hack Call
The HVAC industry is growing rapidly; an estimated 115,000 new HVACR professionals need to enter the industry through 2022 to fulfill the rising demand for HVACR services. Chances are, you’ve seen this increasing demand first-hand, and may have already hired a handful of novice technicians, fresh out of technical school and eager to gain hands-on experience through apprenticeship or employment.
Many HVAC companies put their technicians through on-the-job training upon hire. Sending new technicians to work in the field with a seasoned employee is an excellent way for contractors to reinforce industry best practices as well as teach the level of quality expected from every employee who will represent your company. At HVAC.com, we fully support companies in this effort by providing easy-to-access resources to improve technician training.
Here’s where a hack job’s teachable value comes in: what better way to teach your team about your expected level of quality than to provide an example of the exact opposite? Correcting a hack job not only has a monetary value to a contractor in job revenue, but holds value as a hands-on training opportunity.
So you’ve stumbled upon a hack job – now what do you do?
Bring in your new technicians. While this isn’t always feasible, if your customer consents and the day’s workload allows, call your novice technicians to the jobsite so you can utilize the hack job as a hands-on opportunity to teach wrong from right.

Don’t expose the issues with the hack – give your technicians the opportunity to investigate and identify what is wrong; this is another way you can gauge their knowledge level and pinpoint areas where further training is needed. Ask questions that will evoke problem solving from your technicians; resist the urge to give them the solution immediately, allowing the technician to work through the problem on their own, just like they will need to once working on jobs solo. You want your technicians to be able to arrive at the right solutions for on-the-job scenarios effectively and efficiently; by exposing them to as many real-life scenarios as possible during their training, you’re improving their ability to do the job right the first time, while cutting back on the possibility of future callbacks and wasting resources on jobsites.

Inform your technicians why what they’re seeing is wrong – what problems is it causing for the customer? What makes this a quality issue which deviates from your standards?
While you work through the solution, explain how the action you’re taking is correcting the hack issue. Guide them through your company’s process, using the teaching opportunity not only to identify and fix hacks, but to reinforce your standards of jobsite cleanliness, company protocol, and other measures specific to your process.

Photograph that hack! While we all have a good laugh when you share the pictures on social media, use your hack encounter to better your business! If it wasn’t possible to call your trainees to the jobsite, do the next best thing – walk them through the process during your next technician meeting. Follow the same process mentioned above, only do it in photos, not in real-time – there is still great value to be taken from the experience.

Documenting a job poorly done along with the solution your team implemented to correct the hack can also be valuable in educating your customers. Use this material to create case studies which can be presented to potential customers, showing the value your expertise can offer. Customers want to see how your company has benefitted others in their shoes, they want to see the money you’ve been able to save their neighbors when another company did them wrong.

Experiencing a hack job can become great marketing material for your business, if you choose to utilize it. Simply identifying it and conquering it, while a job well done, ends with that job. So, gather your photos, write up the experience, throw it up on your website, share it on social media – put it out there so your customers can learn from it, too. Teach them right from wrong and the value of your quality approach, making your company their go-to expert the next time their HVAC systems start acting up.
HVAC.com is committed to keeping the hacks out of our industry – we are dedicated to providing HVAC contractors with the tools they need to operate a successful business built on industry best practices. Visit HVAC.com/contractors to learn about our membership options for HVAC contractors.

By: Will Housh, Founder & CEO of HVAC.com Connect with him on linkedin or twitter.

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