Tech Soft Skills Part 4

November 22, 2004


By: Matt Michel

Here are a few uniform tips. Hopefully you already know these and practice them. It’s just common sense…

1. Wear a uniform
Make sure the company logo appears somewhere on the uniform. That helps make the employee “official.” It reassures the customer. It’s the baseline expectation.

2. Consider variations on the old workshirt
While the standard workshirts are fine, there’s no rule that requires them. Consider outfitting technicians in company polos. Consider button down collars in cooler weather. Whatever you select, make sure it looks sharp, wears well, and is suitable for adding the company logo.
3. Do not forget the pants
Lots of technicians like to wear jeans. Heck, most people like to wear them, but not when meeting customers or suppliers. Lose the jeans. Wear a cotton poly blend that lasts long and looks professional.

4. Shorts are okay… I guess
While I’m not sure I would like it, I know that more companies have gone to shorts during the summer, especially in extremely hot locales like the desert southwest. UPS and Fed Ex have gone a long way towards making shorts accepted. As long as they are uniform shorts, they can work.

If you make the switch to shorts, the uniform effect is important. The shorts must not only be uniform shorts, but worn uniformly by all technicians. Pick a date. Switch to shorts on that date. Wear them through the summer. Pick another date. Switch back.

5. Dark pants
Whether shorts or long pants, the pants should be dark for the simple reason that dark hides dirt.

6. Dark socks
Your technicians can have great uniforms, look sharp, and then blow it with white socks. When I see a tech with white socks, I think of Archie Bunker. For those too young to know, that’s not an especially good association. Require dark socks.

7. Great shoes
Techs are on their feet all day. They want to wear comfortable shoes or boots. You want them in comfortable shoes as well because they’ll have more energy and be more pleasant at the end of a long day.

As their employer, you should also want them to wear safe shoes to minimize lost time and expense due to injuries. The problem is quality footware that’s both safe and comfortable is expensive.

Specify their footware. Help them buy it if needed, by taking a little from their check each month. Oh, and make sure it’s dark.

8. Shirt color
There’s no rule that says the shirts need to match the company colors, but it’s a good idea, especially if you’re outfitting them in company polos. It helps associate that color with your company for the category.
It’s okay to be a little bold here. Use bright colors to stand out. And remember, you will get sick of the color long before your customers. Stick with it. Be consistent.

9. Carry spares
There are times when technicians get dirty. It goes with the job. Rather than wear something filthy or waste time driving home or to the shop, everyone should keep a spare shirt in the truck.

10. Tee-shirts
There are times when tee-shirts are appropriate, such as when a plumber is digging a ditch. Provide company tee-shirts with huge logos for those occasions. Why huge logos? If they’re working outside, your employees become walking billboards. So make sure the logo can be seen.

Kerry Prudhomme at Acadian Services in Louisiana decided to have fun with his tee-shirts. They put a Superman logo on the front and “cleaner, better, faster” on the back. The technicians loved them and they got noticed. Customers asked Kerry if they could get an Acadian tee-shirt.

Next: Uniform tips 11-20.

Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2003 Matt Michel

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