‘That’s Outrageous!’ The mistake many technicians make that cause pricing complaints
Many times you get a telephone call from an upset client who says, “I just checked the Internet and the part only cost $5. You charged me $150” or “I just went to Home Depot and found the part your plumber repaired. It only cost $10 and you charged me $200.”
The Internet and big box stores have made it very easy for a client to check prices and then complain about a bill, even if she paid it. She wants a refund. There is an easy fix to this issue and it starts with how your technician talks to the client about the repair.
Your technician diagnosed and made a repair such as replacing a capacitor, collected for the call, and went to his next call thinking everything was okay with that client. However, the client wasn’t satisfied. She thought the bill was too high so she went to the Internet and found out that contactor cost a small fraction of the total repair cost. She calls complaining about her bill, even though she paid the bill, or worse, never says a word and just puts a negative review on social media sites because she thinks she got “ripped off.”
If the technician said, “Mrs. Jones, your cost to replace the capacitor today is X,” then he made a mistake. He should have said, “Mrs. Jones, your investment to repair your system today is X.”
He is making a repair, not simply changing a part. Part of the repair is diagnosing the problem, knowing what to recommend, and having the skill to replace a part accurately the first time so there isn’t a warranty problem. It is time, knowledge and a part. It is not simply the cost of a part.
When the technician tells the client the repair necessary to get her system operating properly again is $X, and he doesn’t mention only the part, then the client hears “repair,” not “part.”
When the technician tells the client the cost to replace a capacitor is $X, then the client hears “part cost” and forgets all about the time and skill it takes to determine what is wrong and make the repair properly the first time.
Practice makes perfect
How do you get your technicians to talk about repairs rather than parts? The process takes place at your service meetings. First discuss the difference and the reasons technicians should talk about repairs rather than parts. Then role play different scenarios. Be prepared to have the same discussion and many role plays during several meetings before the new way of explaining repairs to clients gets ingrained in the technicians’ heads. Here are two potential scenarios:
- You are at Mrs. Smith’s home. You diagnose a bad capacitor. Explain the problem to Mrs. Smith.
- You are at Mrs. Jones’ home. You diagnose a bad condenser fan motor. Explain the problem to Mrs. Jones.
Do one role play at a time. Choose the person to play the technician and choose the person to play the client. Then these two people role play this potential scenario in front of the other technicians. Make sure the technician explains the repair, not replace the part.
Another role play could be what happened when a real client called in complaining about her bill. Don’t just talk about it to the technicians. Role play what should have happened with the technicians.
Beware. You will get a lot of resistance from the technicians. They say they are better in front of the client when no one is watching or they can’t do it in front of their fellow technicians. Ignore the resistance and role play anyway. After a few sessions, they will get comfortable role playing in front of each other.
Remember, if they can role play it correctly in front of their fellow technicians, you know they explain repairs correctly when no one is watching the conversation between your client and the technician.
How your technicians explain why a client’s system is not working and the investment to repair it, often is the difference between a happy client and one who runs to the Internet, finds a part price and bad mouths your company on social media.
Make sure your technicians talk with your clients about making a repair not replacing a part!