Why Customer Relations Training Is a Must for Technicians

It is important to provide regular customer service training to your technicians. They are the face of your company. In most cases, your customers will see your technicians regularly and respect their opinions. If a positive relationship is maintained and the conversations properly filtered, the results will help your company grow.

Examples

Recently, I was helping a client with a major install and he related a conversation he’d had with the previous vendor. It was an example of a conversation that shouldn’t have happened. It was so bad, in fact, that it might have cost the previous vendor the account.

It seems that the technician for the previous vendor was constantly highlighting internal problems. For instance, he told the client that his company could not get the machine fixed because he had no assistance in troubleshooting the issue. He also stated that he could not order the parts that he needed because they were too expensive.

This client’s experience reminded me of something that actually happened to me. While preparing for the install, I attended training for a third-party product. During this training, the instructor gave us a history of the company. It started out very positive, but at a certain point the tone changed, and he began to recite a litany of recent changes and the negative impact they had on the company’s ability to support their product.

The result of his comments created a negative impression of the company and support and called into question the wisdom of using his product. I am sure that was not his intent, but that was the result.

What to Cover

I will discuss a few subjects that are worth including in your training. You will want to add more. You can also find online classes that cover this subject and may be worth the investment.

Under Promise Over Deliver

One of the most important concepts to instill in technicians is “under promise and over deliver.” Imagine you take your car to the dealer and they tell you it will be ready in two hours. Two hours later you return to pick up the car, but it’s not ready. In fact, it won’t be ready until the next morning. How do you feel? Frustrated? Maybe even angry?

Now imagine the same scenario, but instead the dealer said the car wouldn’t be ready until the next afternoon. You go that afternoon and it is ready. Most likely, you are satisfied with the experience. And if they called you in the morning to tell you it was ready early, it would have had an even more positive impact on your feelings about the company.

In our business, the same thing applies. If a technician is ordering a part and it should arrive the following morning, it might be better to set the expectation that it will get there by the second day. This allows for any unforeseen circumstances, and if the part does get there the following day, the customer will be pleasantly surprised.

Never Lie

The one thing that helps a technician’s relationship with a customer is credibility. It is vital that the customer trust the technician to be honest. This helps maintain the customer’s satisfaction with your company and will influence the probability of future sales.

No one in the company should ever give the technician false information to pass on to the customer. I have seen situations where this happened. When the customer found out, they blamed the technician. The result was loss of the customer and the technician.

Avoid Blaming

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is wanting to blame someone else for an issue. If the technician promises the part for the following day, and then orders it after the deadline, he or she may try to shift the blame to some else: “The parts guy didn’t place the order in time,” “The manufacturer did not ship like they should have,” and so on.

It is possible for this to happen any time the technician fails to meet the client’s expectations. Trying to maintain the client’s liking and respect, the technician shifts the blame to someone else. But actually, owning up to the mistake is far more likely to gain the client’s respect and trust. After all, everyone makes mistakes. It is our response to our mistake that helps define our character.

Make It a Regular Part of Employee Training

While I focused on technicians in this article, the same principles apply in every department. If you add customer relations training to all your current training programs, your company will reap increasing rewards.

Ken Edmonds
About the Author
Ken Edmonds is currently employed as a District Service Manager for a major copier manufacturer. He has an extensive background in the imaging business, having owned a successful dealership, serving as service manager for multiple dealerships, and as a Document Solutions Specialist for Sharp Electronics. Additionally, he has more than 40 years of experience in the electronics and computer fields. He has attended the BTA Fix service manager training, the Pros Elite service manager training, and the Service Mangers Achieve Results training conducted by John Hay and John Hansen for Sharp Electronics. He additionally completed the University of Wisconsin training program for technical trainers.