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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Customer Service in Appliance Repair Can Get Tricky

When you are an appliance service technician, the job can be very rewarding. Like the times that you help that sweet older lady that reminds you of Mom. Then there are the times when your assistance helps a young family avoid purchasing a replacement appliance that wasn't in the budget. Most of you also enjoy demonstrating your expertise by offering advice to those who are trying to perform their own repairs-even if that is not making your company money. When you are doing appliance repairs you are in the position to be a hero, and that always feels pretty good.
Sometimes Breaking The News Can Be Tricky... (Flickr/CC)
Like any job, however, there are times that are less fun. Like when a customer pressures the technician for a lower price by saying something to the effect of :"I can get a new machine for a few hundred bucks". When this happens it may help to remind the customer of the features involved in that $200 machine compared to the features they may have on their $1500 dollar appliance. Will this explanation always help? Probably not, but sometimes it will. Simply put, for a customer to make an informed decision about a repair job it is important that they are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges when considering whether the cost of a repair would be worthwhile.

If you are billing for your services by the hour, do you find customers will try to rush out to get a job done before they get billed for another hour? Or you may find customers who are upset to pay for the time if you get done too soon? A lot of service companies have addressed this potentially awkward situation by instituting flat rate pricing. If a customer knows it will cost x number of dollars to do a given repair, they will be less likely to be unhappy that your work was faster or slower than they expected. You can work out your own pricing list or you can use a tool such as the Appliance Blue Book, either way removing the surprises can help remove some of the frustrations.

Speaking of expectations, how many of you have arrived at a call only to find an unplugged appliance? If that happens you are in an almost no win situation. If you simply plug the appliance back in, the customer likely won't feel that you should receive payment. Meanwhile you know that between your time and vehicle expenses, not charging means lost money. A lot of companies try to address this by asking the customer if they have checked the power source. Of course, most customers would not want to admit overlooking that step so they will just say that they made sure that the machine was plugged in. Many customers consider the question to be an insult to their intelligence, so many service companies don't even ask the question-even though it is an important thing to check when troubleshooting. Recently, I heard an idea of how to approach that question with some tact. Instead of asking the customer if they have verified that their machine was plugged in, this company suggests that they have found many customers were plugging in their appliance "upside down". They then suggest the customer turn the plug over to see if the problem would solve itself. Naturally any REAL problem would still be occurring. However, sometimes the unplugged appliances then get plugged in and the problem "solves itself" giving the customer the opportunity to cancel the service call and avoid embarrassment.

As you all know, there are a lot of different ways of achieving total customer satisfaction. At W.L. May we want to give a hand in however you are working to attain that goal. Let us know how we can help.

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