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Improving Customer Service Through Competencies: The HVAC Case Example

I recently hired an HVAC repair technician to come to my home to work on my faulty air conditioning. The entire experience from the doorbell ringing to paying the bill was satisfying. The problem was solved, the technician was easy to understand, knew the job and was highly competent. 

I was curious about the HVAC industry in terms of training, so I asked him what makes a great HVAC technician. He told me that a lot of HVAC technicians go to vocational school to learn how to become technicians. After they complete school, they generally apprentice for a period of time with a more experienced technician. I asked him if a person could be competent in this job coming right out of school. He responded, “generally not, in fact, we have problems with new hires that come right out of school…we sometimes need to retrain them and teach them to forget a lot of the information they learned in school…” Curious, I then asked, “so the best technicians learn on the job by doing? What’s the need for expensive training courses then?” He responded, “The best and most competent techs are trained on the job from day one and are guided by the most competent techs…” 

This article is not intended to debase the value of formal training courses, however, there is a valid point needing to be made in this scenario. The way someone becomes the ‘best’ HVAC technician is from the use of competency based training using the DACUM method. The DACUM method involves studying and compiling information about what makes the best HVAC technician in terms of their ability to be star performers in their role. This information is then organized into useful training material to then be taught to the next generation of star performers. The DACUM method to develop competencies is concerned with making someone competent in real world scenarios, and this is why it is invaluable to any business that is interested in quality and competitiveness. What my HVAC technician told me, in a roundabout way, is that the people in his industry that are regarded as ‘star performers’ are those who are the most competent, and this was accomplished through experiential knowledge from star performers with more experience, and not a didactic theoretical college course. 

Some colleges are using competency-based approaches to learning, however, this is not always the case. To ensure your workforce is operating at ‘star performer’ level, it is worth investigating and perhaps implementing a competency based training program. The Competency Group has over 25 years of experience developing competency based training for industry. 

For more information, please contact info@thecompetencygroup.com 

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