You’ve supported and trained your HVAC students over the last 9-12 months and now they are starting to get into the truck, running basic repair and maintenance calls. Congratulations! You are moving forward in creating your own workforce and that is highly commendable. YAY!
Now that we’ve celebrated, we’ve got to get back to reality. The most important thing you can do at this point is provide encouragement and coaching. They’re going to need it. The following is a short list of things you’ll want to be aware of to keep your team on track.
Slow & Steady Wins The Race
Your apprentices are not going to always get things right on the first try. As they grow in their apprenticeship and transition to running calls, remember that there is no shame in reviewing NexTech Academy content if they need a refresher. The HVAC technician training you’ve been working through prepares them for real-life experiences. True mastery comes from running many calls for a variety of customers. It just takes time. They will probably get discouraged when they face unexpected situations. Remind them to revisit what they’re unsure of and not give up.
Making sure they’re safe and that they are protecting the homeowner’s safety and property is your top priority. When technicians are rushed, uncertain, or focused on the behavior of others, accidents happen. Remind them not to take shortcuts, use their tools improperly or ignore the proper PPE for the job. Make sure your culture supports this and call out that caring about safety doesn’t make anyone less cool or good at their job. Being cautious is always better than being sorry.
Customer Service Is Equally Important
In residential home service, people-skills are directly linked to technical ability. Customers need to trust that your apprentice and your company are the right choice. Remind them that just like their technical aptitude will increase over time, so will their comfort working with a variety of people. Learning and following the Nexstar Service System makes providing stellar service easier. However, it takes practice. Don’t let that lead to intimidation. Keep practicing as a service team. Building on the training they learned in NexTech Academy will help them reach their personal and company-related goals.
Dedication & Commitment Will Pay Off
Working in skilled labor provides many advantages: technical skills that make technicians highly employable, the opportunity to use their brain and hands as they work and knowing that service work means something to the people in the community are a few. Grasping these benefits means they’ve put in the time to get there. You will need to set clear expectations. For example: When you start out, you will complete basic calls and tasks. Your key performance indicators and average ticket goals may look different than other technicians. You will probably be on call or work weekend and evening shifts.
Remind them that this is the job and it’s best that they know that going in. Through time and hard work, they’ll gain seniority, expertise and most likely a higher salary. It just won’t happen overnight.
As an apprentice, they are part of something special. Your company is investing in them to see if they’re a great fit for the business and customers. Share with them that a good move is to invest energy in getting to know the ins and outs of the business. Who are their colleagues? What are your company’s goals? How are they involved in the community? How do HVAC sales, service and install work together? What is the vibe in the call center?
Instill in them that the care they show in these things is a sign of their character and show you who they are beyond the technical skills they can perform.