Have you ever taken the time to think about the relationship between being an expert in your customers’ homes and how that affects their buying experiences? I’m referring to not only being a technical expert, but also an expert in customer service and connection.
First, how do we define an expert? The simple definition is: someone with superior skills and knowledge within a specific area. How does a technician in our industry become an expert? This is the more complex question. Obviously, training and experience provide the foundation, but so much more is involved when we start considering how our technicians are interacting with our customers. It’s critical for our technicians to demonstrate themselves as experts at every level throughout the customer experience.
“Expert status” is a label many people resist, including technicians. Many techs feel they are experts when it comes to the particular widgets they repair or replace on a daily basis. They understand which part to use, which tool to use and are able to communicate the technical terminology to the customer. Unfortunately, this is where their belief as an expert ends for many technicians. They don’t necessarily view themselves as customer service experts or customer experience experts.
Being a technical expert is very important in this field in order to maintain high-quality standards and do the best job possible for our customers. We’ve demonstrated this for years as an industry based on the training provided by manufacturers and distributors. Check any distributor’s training schedule and you’re sure to find technical training outnumbering sales and communication training 10 to one!
Technical training and expertise is a necessity. I’ve already made that clear, so let’s move on to the other aspects of expert status: customer service, communication and sales. These aspects of expert status are related in the fact that technical training without communication and sales training will not improve sales or increase average tickets. Sure, a technically savvy frontline team member will be able to fix anything and will have some inherent confidence because of this skill, but it’s not enough.
Customers want to do business with people who have their best interests at heart and will respect their homes. This is why a little thing such as wearing shoe covers can do wonders for building trust. Customers also want to do business with technicians who can communicate with them (outside of the technical jargon) and help them feel they are making the best possible decision for their homes.
This requires a higher level of confidence. This requires skills and knowledge training for technicians regarding how to best serve their customers outside of the repair or replacement itself. Providing customers with options, exploring opportunities in all areas of the home and developing a high level of trust are all topics that need to be addressed. The best way to help your technicians develop this confidence level is through consistent training meetings that include role playing, discussions and targeted topics.
The balance of blending
Most technicians did not enter this industry to become salespeople. They might have known that they are technically driven or even that they like to help people fix problems in their homes. They probably weren’t even thinking about communication styles or being a trusted expert for their customers. They probably weren’t thinking about customer expectations and providing exceptional value and service. Therefore, this area needs constant attention from owners and managers in the form of interactive training.
We must maintain a steady and consistent focus on communication and sales training to better assist our team members with the people skills necessary to build effective relationships. When we build effective relationships through focused and intentional questions and conversation, the byproduct is trust.
In order for customers to trust a technician in their homes, they must believe in not only his skills and ability to do the work, but also who he is as a person. This is why it’s important for a technician to share a bit about himself, even something little about his kids or pets.
Technicians should be authentic, not “sales-y.” Nobody likes the feeling of being “sold” something. Customers want options delivered by an expert based on their specific situation. Customers often will have doubts or concerns, especially regarding higher-ticket repairs or replacements, but when technicians can help them overcome these doubts, they establish a higher level of trust.
When we are trusted and have the confidence to make recommendations and deliver options for our customer, we reach expert status. Confidence begets confidence. Technicians who have confidence in their abilities and are able to connect with a customer have a much higher success rate than techs who lack confidence. Customers are far more likely to listen to the recommendations of a confident technician because they trust in their ability to get the job done right and have their best interests at heart.
Confidence leads to trust, which when combined develop into expert status. When customers see us as complete experts in their homes, really great things happen for everybody!
The customer is better educated on choices, options and different price points based solely on his goals at the time. This allows him to make a better buying decision. When customers make good buying decisions with the help of an expert, they are simply more satisfied. When customers are totally satisfied, they are more likely to give reviews, referrals and remain long-term customers.
When the customer wins, the technician and the company also win. This is always going to be based on the law of averages, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t win every single time. Just make sure your delivery is the very best process you’ve got every single time.
Remember to share this information with your frontline team members to help them win more and better represent your brand. Help them understand the balance of blending technical expertise with communication expertise. Focus on improving confidence surrounding customer service and connection. Combine that with great technical knowledge and your customers will be extremely pleased to have a trusted expert technician doing work in their homes.