Somedays, after running service calls and dealing with one or two USDA Grade A pricks, I conjure up images of my day where all I do is go to unoccupied homes, fix the appliance, take the check left for me on the counter and then head off to the next job. Even though most folks are really cool to work for, about one customer in every hundred is a real ball-buster– they’re the ones that make you wanna leave humans outta the repair picture.
One of my readers, J. “Dusty” Tingstrom, captures this spirit perfectly in her ode to appliance techs:
Just for the Samurai Repairman:
As a fixer I’m hoping to see
Less need for to fix the fixee
May the good mechanized
Just be less eulogized
So more time for more beer there will be.
Did she capture every tech’s on-the-job prayer, or what? But it don’t work that way in the real world now does it? Nope, there’s other people involved every step of the way, from the initial call for service to the collecting payment and leaving. And this reveals a fact of life about doing professional appliance repair that many techs just don’t get:
You don’t just fix appliances– you also fix customers.
You could be the best tech in the world, with an encyclopedic knowledge about the innards of all appliances, ranging from the low-end to the exotic, but if the customer thinks you’re a ‘tard, what have you gained? Once the customer puts you under the technician microscope, they’ll find some reason to think you’re incompetent and didn’t fix the appliance right. Maybe they’ll think it sounds funny or smells funny after you fixed it. Whatever. The point is, you gotta fix the customer– fixing the appliance is only part of the job while you’re there in the house.
How do we fix the customer? By communicating with them in a straight-forward manner; by not bullshitting when you don’t know something; by doing everything you said you’ll do, when you said you’ll do it; by taking care not to crap up the customer’s home while you’re in there; and, of course, by fixing the broken appliance and standing behind your work with a meaningful warranty.