View Full Version : Intimidation

24-02-2001, 05:49 PM
Which systems intimidate you, if they do at all?

Small systems, usually hermetic with sometimes no access fittings and almost always has a critical charge. The customer is hovering over you or around you constantly and giving you technical advice. The customer calls you two days after the problem was noticed and demands that you drop what you are doing and take care of them first... it is an emergency!

Small to medium, usually has only one condensing unit, usually but not always a remote system. If the fan quits blowing they call you (if you go there you find it was in a defrost, they don't want to pay you so they offer you food, you have become an expert at this nuisance call and tell them to monitor it and call back in 20 minutes or so.) When this system does have a problem, the customer wants to help, you look like you might need it?

Medium, one or two systems seperate of each other usually. Has some of the bells and whistles but still pretty simply designed. It is an outdoor remote maybe on the roof, the customer doesn't even know where it is or that it existed. The customer either doesn't have the time or the inclination to watch you. It always fails at 2:00 in the morning during the winter.

Medium to Large, more than one system, may be staged, lines are going all over hell. Each circuit was added at a different time by a different installer! Has all the bells and whistles and usually one of them is going off even if god can't find anything wrong, BUT the customer is sure there is something wrong and you obviously don't know what you are doing! You have seen the movie "The Rock" with Sean Connery and think his escape moves were amateurish and your friends always ask to see you "do that again" (they think it is a form of Kung Fu).

Large, you need more than one jurisdictions permit just to work on it. It is conceivable that nobody knows exactly where you are at any one specific time. If it leaks, someone is going to catch hell and get fired! Your friends call you Stinky. You know what an oxygen depletion sensor is.

Mobil Units, I can only imagine! Everything is bolted down. Line sizing and piping layout are critical factors but the last guy took a shortcut! (The unit was only available to be worked on for a few hours and he did what he had to do to get them running.) Now the customer wants you to finish the repair correctly in the same amount of time! You get offers for free fare!

Robert Thwaites
24-02-2001, 11:22 PM
My father has been at the trade since before 1960. I remember as a young son when he would be co-erced to go out late at night after just getting home from work to look at some domestic appliance for a friend of a friend of one of his brothers. Payment was usually a bottle of home made wine or some home made stew. When he charged for parts at cost, they blew a gasket.

Sound familiar.

In those days, when he felt he made a diagnostic mistake (took too long finding the problem) he wouldn't bill his company or the client for his extra time. He really got ticked off with his boss when he didn't get paid legitimate time when fixing someone else's mess.

26-02-2001, 03:55 PM
I repaired and retrofitted a two door freezer from R502 to R408a on January 10th. I gave the customer (a new one) a one month warranty on parts and service supplied by me. One month to the day, they called and said the unit was running warm, it was about 60 degrees F!

I promised them I would come down, I suspected it was in defrost. When I arrived, sure enough the unit was pulling down in temperature again. I explained this to them and they were happy.

Just about a week ago the same scenario at the same restaurant. I removed one defrost pin (down to 3 now) and offset the time so they will only see it go into a defrost once during a day. When I asked how they would like to pay for this they asked if it was still under warranty?! I had them dig out the service ticket and had them read it. They asked if I would overlook it... I told them this is the last time. They gave me a "$20.00 gift certificate!" It cost me more than that just to start my van for a service call! The unit is running very good but this customer is becoming a P.I.T.A.

I understand customers want all they can get for their money. That is why I give warranties, no other servicer in the area will put it in writing. But, I am considering NOT giving warranties... the calls when I have had them are nuisance calls. My rates will have to go up to cover such calls if I keep giving a warranty.

Does anybody else out there give a written warranty on service?? What kind of experiences have you had with it?

10-03-2001, 02:14 PM
I tend not to do "homers" any more, they are just too much trouble.
Anyway, when I finish my days work, that is the last bloody thing on my mind :)

I have to admit to being caught out in the past though (in my younger years) with the local ice cream shop and chip shop ;)

Ah, the keen youth in me has learnt his leason now though hehehe

22-04-2001, 03:34 PM
I can offer a piece of advice here. Engineers are caught in a scenario. When the phone rings with an excitable voice on the other end wanting help, our eyes roll over in anticipation. Yes, we see pound signs, we are prepared to go out in all weathers, moaning and griping, but in the end we want to earn some money. Often, we come across these customers, who have tried every engineer in the book, curry houses are typical here. They dont appreciate that an enginner has served time and is a professional in his own right, engineers are not respected, but distrusted. They are not willing to pay his going rates.

Here is the solution. Adopt this adage. " Start in the way you intend to continue" ie: Dont be tempted to bait the customer in the beginning by being nice, cosy talks, freebies, free this and free that, yes, by all means, be nice, but also fair and firm. Make it clear on the phone what your charges are, what your warranty terms are, Talk in the beginning, not at the end. Set the stage. If the customer respects where youre coming from, he will honour you, and rely upon you, on the other hand the engineer must DELIVER, you are not always right, you also make mistakes, we are not angels of mercy, make allowances for this, and yes, at times we must not charge, or we must be compromising. If a unit fails one day after the warranty expires, then yes, adopt a compromising stance and work something out. Our wages DO come from our customers, they are not all evil. HONESTY is vital, just as good fences make good neighbours, in our business we need to understand our customers, and they must understand our charges. And if the customer muses, tries to bribe you with a packet of chips, then he is simply not worth having!!!! Youre better off staying at home mowing the loan.........Good Day