Callback Prevention – Communication and Priorities

Callback Prevention – Communication and Priorities

Bryan teaches a class about callback prevention with an emphasis on communication and priorities during service calls. Callbacks aren't profitable, and they're often a source of frustration for customers as well as techs, so our goal is to avoid them.
By Bryan Orr

Whenever a customer calls us back a short time after the last service (within ~30 days), that classifies as a callback. In many cases, callbacks happen because of miscommunication; often, the customers don’t have realistic expectations for the system. So, thorough communication can prevent many callbacks.

Customers should feel like their concerns and complaints have been heard and acknowledged. When they feel like their concerns have been dismissed, they’re more likely to call back. Customers may complain about warm rooms, a muggy home, more dust than usual, and long runtimes. It’s our job to listen to the complaints, make sure we understand the customers’ concerns, and address their concerns by checking the thermostat, testing the equipment, and taking readings.

While we could explain what’s going on in detail, we don’t want to talk the customers’ ears off and act like we’re dismissing the customer’s concerns. Ultimately, the customers care about getting their house cooled down and feeling comfortable above anything else. So, we could show customers the delta T readings to show them that their system is indeed working. You can explain the procedure to show the customer what you’re doing, and you make the customer feel heard while establishing trust.

We can also stop callbacks by closing out jobs thoroughly. Making sure you take detailed notes is only part of the procedure; you can help many property managers by sending them pictures of the system. Other customers benefit from written or visual guides that help them understand what you’ve done to their equipment. Above all, we want to make sure our customers’ needs are addressed and that they have the tools they need to keep their homes comfortable.

It’s best to close out jobs slowly and ask customers if we can do anything else to improve their experience. If customers still have comfort complaints, it’s a good idea to go into the attic and look for obvious sources of their discomfort, including kinked, poorly sealed, disconnected, or poorly strapped ducts. We sometimes avoid having conversations about ducts, but we can quote minor problems and readdress them in the cooler season. If the customer allows us to push back minor procedures, that may also prevent callbacks, as the customers expect to have imperfect conditions for a while.

Above all, we need to make sure we’re checking the equipment thoroughly after an installation. In some cases, the equipment may only be running one stage of operation, or it may not be set up for multi-stage operation. We must confirm the settings for DIP switches, motors, and controllers, and we need to verify that they’re operating properly.

We also need to clean the drain well and commission the system by checking the airflow BEFORE the charge. Looking at airflow indicators (like static pressure), using the TrueFlow grid to measure system airflow (if you have it), and carrying out full visual inspections will help us ensure we have proper airflow. Visual inspections can help us find problems with the ductwork, jammed filters, and other potential causes of poor airflow. Beginners can get better at testing static pressure with experience and repetition. We also want to minimize turbulence and take other practical measures that improve airflow.

Whenever we make changes to the ductwork, it’s our policy to add balancing dampers to help control the airflow. However, we also need to check the static pressure across the balancing dampers each time we make adjustments.

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