Congratulations to the Class of 2014! You should be proud of all your hard work and excited about the opportunities that are ahead of you! We asked some of our most senior technicians to weigh in with their advice for new graduates starting their HVAC careers, and they came up with some great points. Take a look, a lot of these are great advice for grads entering any field:
Be Consistently Good Every Day
In life, there are very few home runs, and even fewer grand slams. The key to having a great career anywhere, and especially in this field, is to be consistently good every day. Being good or above average every day opens up opportunities to have your home run or maybe even a grand slam moment.
They’ll Remember How You Make Them Feel
The most important part of this business is to remember that customer service is everyone’s job. Have you heard the old saying “People don’t remember what you did for them, they remember how you made them feel”? Remember that we are serving home owners and business owners, and it’s your job to make every customer feel like the most important person in the room. Leave your personal phone in the truck, and don’t answer the work phone when talking with the customer. Point out any safety issues you see in the house or business, and let the customer know that you are looking out for them. Sometimes, the job goes beyond HVAC service – like taking out their trash if you’re asked to. A customer once asked me to pick up their rug so they could sweep underneath. I picked it up, waited for them to sweep and put it back down. It was a simple thing that made the customer happy – treat every request from a customer as if it came from a favorite aunt/uncle or grandparent, and you’ll build up a collection of customers for life.
Never Stop Learning
The best guys in the business still go home and research things they don’t know about after 30 years in the field. Call tech support, talk to the engineer if you have to, find out every thing about the piece of equipment you are working on and don’t ever settle for “that’s the way it is” as an answer. Especially as a new tech, ask questions in your interviews about training and mentoring programs. A well structured program will support your growth in the industry and help you succeed.
Learn To Handle Pressure
I did not like it when I started (and after 13 years I still don’t!), but the fact is that only experience in pressure situations will show your fellow co-workers and management what kind of a tech you are. You have to get dirty and come out clean on the other side. Its really the only way to judge a technician or an installer. Our business is dealing with bad situations: no heat, no cooling, or even worse a water leak. You will be walking into a stressful situation and it’s your job to fix it. You will only build your reputation by consistently fixing the problem and saving the day.
Do The Things No One Else Wants To Do
When you’ve got the appropriate skills under your belt, don’t be afraid to take on the jobs that no one else wants. Take on the tough jobs and make it a personal mission to make it the best job. Win over the toughest customer and the rest will be easy. If no one likes going to “that” building because it’s a pain, volunteer to go, simplify the job and map it out with step by step directions so any one else can walk through it with ease.
There Are No Stupid Questions
The only dumb question is the question that goes un-asked. Don’t ever feel like you should know that already and not ask in fear of looking dumb. Remember, the best and most experienced guys still research things on a daily basis. The HVAC field stretches so far that I am absolutely positive that there is no one single person that knows everything. If some one claims to know it all, don’t ask him anything!
Good luck to all of the Class of 2014! What other advice would you give to someone starting out in an HVAC career?