Tech Soft Skills Part 5
November 22, 2004
COMMON SENSE TIPS ABOUT UNIFORMS
By: Matt Michel
Here are a few uniform tips. Hopefully you already know these and practice them. It’s just common sense…
If your technicians earn certifications, add patches or embroidery about the certifications to their uniforms. Walk into an automotive service center and you will usually be confronted with a wall full of framed ASE certificates.
The auto shops display them because they build credibility. Since customers seldom see the walls of an in-home service company, the uniform (or truck) must carry the credibility of certification.
12. Only allow company caps
There’s nothing wrong with supporting the brands of equipment you carry, the local supply house, or the local sports team, but not when it conflicts with your uniform. The hat, if the tech wears one, should match the rest of the uniform.
13. Use company jackets
It’s tough to think about jackets and windbreakers this time of year, but the same rules that apply to caps, apply to jackets. They should be company jackets that match the uniform.
14. Make picture ID badges
You can buy low cost laminating machines at any office supply store. Buy an instant camera, snap a picture, and laminate it on a clip on ID badge (the office supply stores sell lamination blanks specifically for this purpose). The photo ID badge is a nice touch. It’s reassuring to the customer. I’ve actually heard people comment on them in focus groups.
15. Use shoe covers
Shoe covers are getting old hat now, except that so few companies actually use them they’re still a pleasant shock for homeowners. And remember, even though you provide shoe covers, does not mean your technicians actually use them.
My guess is that the typical consumer has yet to encounter a service technician who used shoe covers. Larry Taylor at Air Rite in Fort Worth told me that he buys a dark blue shoe cover from Shubee, which allows reuse. He likes the Shubee covers because there’s anti-skid spots added to the bottom.
Larry switched from white to dark blue because the blue allows reuse when the shoe cover gets a smudge or scrape that doesn’t otherwise soil or dirty it. With the white, any smudge shows up. With the blue, it doesn’t. Larry’s technicians get still more duty from the shoe covers by turning them inside out and reusing them.
16. Surgical gloves
Surgical gloves are cheap. They’re also a nice touch when work inside the home requires coming in contact with the interior paint (e.g., adjusting or replacing a thermostat).
If this seems like show business, it is. It’s a way of demonstrating care and respect for your customer’s home that is appreciated and makes you stand out. Little service touches like this help justify higher prices.
The gloves can also represent a safety factor for your employees. Vikki Nicholas from Bay Temperature Control, one of the leading experts on mold in the air conditioning industry, says that they coach their technicians to NEVER touch anything they suspect might be mold. When they suspect mold is present, they are to put on the gloves immediately.
17. Carry a company tool rug
You can order small carpets customized with your company logo. Give one to each technician to use when working inside. Instruct them to roll out the carpet and set the tools on them. Again, this shows respect for the customer’s home. Besides, sometimes the tool box is dirty on the bottom. Get the carpets laundered on a weekly basis.
18. Enforce neatness
I’ve known people who can wear a thousand dollar suit and look like a slob. You can provide great looking uniforms, use shoe covers, tool rugs, and so on, but it’s all for naught if the technician fails to keep the shirt tucked in.
19. Get employee input
While it’s true that it’s your company, your technicians have to wear the uniform. Give them some input on the uniform decision and they will be more likely to willingly follow the program without coercion. When you get a new hire, the older technicians will help enforce the policy. Nothing beats peer pressure.
20. Your employees will follow your lead
If you want your employees to look sharp and to keep their shirts tucked in, you’ve got to set the standard. If you don’t look good, why should they?
Next: Simple Communication Tips
Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2003 Matt Michel
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