ONETIME- Quick call: She felt screwed by the visit

Thomas Huggins, Davis Appliance

One time, actually on my first day here, I had a painful experience. 

We had a person call, and I knew their family and they were relatively important people in the area. I was trying to get from her a better description of what the problem was, and there was a point at which I was causing her more frustration because she didn't really understand how to resolve the question that I was asking. 

She had called in assuming that the switch on her stove was broken, and I was trying to find out in what way it was broken. And when it appeared that she was becoming frustrated and even angry, I went ahead and set up the service call. And so the technician went out, and he discovered that the only thing that had gone wrong was that the screws had come out. 

So he basically just pulled the switch out and ran the screws back in. And unfortunately in a situation like that where he had put off some other service call, it was necessary for us to charge her for a full service call.

And she became very angry because all he did when he came out was run some screws back in. She could have done the same thing easily, and I would have loved to have been able to find that out over the phone so that they could have done it and we wouldn't have had to charge. 

A lot of trouble arises from communication problems. We're limited by time because we'll have other calls mounting up. The first thing that we'll try and do is to help them solve their own problem because it saves them money and we don't have enough technicians to go around most of the time. 

What I'll try and do is find out from them over the phone what the machine is doing so that if they're solving it themselves, I can try and figure out their level of technical experience and communicate to them what to look for and what to test– a simple test that they can do. But if we decide we need a service call, what we do then is gather information so that the technician will be better able to carry with him stuff that will resolve the service call on the first trip.