When Richard Callahan first started at Air Services Heating & Cooling All Service Professional Plumbing, the company had 16 employees. To grow that team, Callahan knew he and his staff would need to set the business apart in the already competitive local market of HVAC services. “[We asked] ‘What are we going to do to be different?’ and we settled on, ‘We need to eat, live and breathe customer service,’” Callahan says.
The Big Idea
In a business that works closely with clients in their homes, Callahan knew the value of training his technicians in customer service. At first, the team tried two training sessions each week. The four-hour classes covered everything from providing quality customer service and diagnosing to fixing issues, a skill that involved role playing. “We had a lot of guys who said, ‘I’m not doing that,’" Callahan says. “It was a huge culture change.”
The Learning Curve
Instead of providing informative training, the sessions took valuable time out of everyone’s day, and employees still weren’t getting the training they needed. Callahan called for backup and hired Allen Wilson. Wilson had just left Vatterott College, where he had been a professor for 15 years, when he joined the Air Services team. It was his teaching background and expertise in the field that helped Wilson create a streamlined program for the in-house training.
Today, the business has grown to 48 employees. With the present demand for qualified HVAC technicians and plumbers, the Air Services team is always looking to hire. “There’s a big push for going to college, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not the route for everyone,” Callahan says. Since implementing the in-house training program, Callahan can see the difference in his employees and in the satisfaction of their clients.