Your Home is our Workplace

Beyond the ‘Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) requirements!

WHY SERVICE CALL ETIQUITTE

The Covid Pandemic! Or at least this is what brings the subject to the fore! By law we are required to ensure a safe workplace! Unlike normal workplaces, we are visitors to your home. And while we are there we need your agreement to comply with our policies and practices to ensure that safe workplace. In order to do that we use the IT (information technology) to manage that process. Hence this page!

We have terms and conditions that we ask you the customer to agree to before attending your home! If we can’t get those agreements in place, then we accept you might be better searching for an appliance repairer who doesn’t take these matters seriously.

Besides the now normal requirements of social distancing, wearing masks and letting us know before attending your home if anyone has symptoms or is isolating; we take this opportunity to discuss other issues that help us to conduct the appliance repair in a professional and efficient manner.

Those issues are:

  1. Pets
  2. Children
  3. Cleaning
  4. Proximity to our work space
  5. Appliance user in attendance
  6. Removing accessories from the appliance
  7. Damage to surfaces
  8. Expectations

What makes a good customer a great customer? What make a good repairer a great repairer? Before we embark on discussing these issues individually, we hope the following might help to provide an overarching concept of what might be considered good “service call etiquette“.

Consider your own workplace! If you’re say an accountant, would you be happy if I came around your side of the desk and watched over your shoulder. Perhaps even started dusting your computer while you were working. Oh and I’m sure you wouldn’t mind my dog jumping up for pats, she won’t bite of course! If your say a teller in a bank, the reality is we couldn’t even come around your side of the computer due to physical barriers. If say you’re a car mechanic, you wouldn’t mind us debating the accuracy of your diagnosis. Just because you’ve spent 4 years at trade school and 2 years getting a business degree and 20 years working on cars, doesn’t mean you won’t appreciate the customer’s opinion regarding the real cause of the problem.

The Issues

This list is by no means everything; but hopefully enough to help improve Service Call Etiquette

PETS

We don’t bring our pets to your home and appreciate it if you don’t bring your pets to our workplace! If only it were that simple. We ask our customers to ensure there pets are safely/securely shut away for the duration of our visit. But this is often ignored. The main reason we think is because many dog bark incessantly when locked out and it drives everyone nuts.

The number one response from customers when asked if they can put any pets away is: Oh he/she doesn’t bite!!!! Our response inevitably starts the visit off on the wrong foot. First and foremost; getting bitten is almost never the worry! If you’ve been doing appliance repairs long enough, your stories and experiences of pet disasters will be many and varied. In reality, customers are more often harmed than the technician; either by attempting to save us or by trying to put the animal away.

Story Time

Amnesia! Two Schnauzer! One lady of the house! One service technician. Upon arriving at the appointed time and after just speaking with the customer on the phone requesting that the dogs be properly secured, we rang the door bell. Almost as soon as the door bell went silent, two dogs came racing around the drive way side of the house up onto a beautiful terrazzo porch. Two steps high this porch! One barking and the other nipping at the offered steel cap shoe! The lady of the house gallantly came to our rescue, scooped up the shoe chewer and, in her thongs, tried to herd the second one off the two step porch with her foot. That’s when it went all sideways! The shiny surface was wet from a morning drizzle and the thongs offered little traction; down she went catching the base of her skull on the top edge of the step. Crack… Yes Crack!!! It sounded like an emu egg hitting the concrete. Dead was the internal brain scream! Called the ambulance service, who were there in what seemed like no time! Hours after the lady had been spirited away and the husband unable to find which hospital she had been sent to, we left the home in the partners care. 6 weeks later, after expecting the police to require an explanation as to how the customer died; the phone call! After many attempts at finding who it was that had attended that day, the lady explained she had amnesia and couldn’t recall who it was that was meant to fix her still broken oven or what had really transpired on that day.

It was Lindy Chamberlain all over again; honest officer the dogs did it! Waiting days for the call from the police to come to the station to make a statement regards the “death of the Lady of the house”. Yes, yes yes… she didn’t die, but for a few days there we had no idea and panicking ever time the phone rang was the order of the day for a while. Mmmm funny now, but not at the time.

The stories are many and varied! And it’s not just dogs. Cats getting locked in the vacant space of the kitchen cabinetry trying to find where the mouse smell is coming from! Worse still, escapers. Cats are fast and cunning. If they want to get outside and wait for the front door to be opened, there is little that can be done to catch them once out. One jumped under the hood of the van in Winter as a warm sanctuary. Sadly the animal didn’t try to escape until after the engine was turned off. Which meant a ride from Woodville to Aberfoyle Park. The last we saw of that cat was its very white tail going 400 miles an hour in the distance.

The back of the oven is a veritable paradise for dogs/cats. Cooking smells, their old toy balls, mice droppings and the piece de resistance food… old food that probably isn’t that good for them. But the real danger is live terminals. When we go outside to to get parts or test equipment or turn of the power, that’s when they make their move! No one supervising and in they go. Shouldn’t laugh, but seeing an animal breaking light speed leaving the back of an oven after giving a live terminal the taste test is funny… yes, it’s off to hell for all those who are giggling just now! Ohh and they aren’t all traumatic, some are just plain funny; like dogs cocking their leg on the tool bag. And if it wasn’t our tool bag, we’d be bent over double laughing. But if you’ve ever tried to get the smell out of a tool bag; it’s not easy!

So we won’t bore you with more stories, just know that animal disasters are one of the pet hates (excuse the pun) of all appliance repairers!

CHILDREN

Some might think 16 years old is an adult others 18. We are a bit conservative an treat 18 year olds as suitable to be in attendance during our service call visit. We don’t accept jobs where anyone under the age of 18 years old is the only person in attendance.

We work on electrically live equipment. Toddlers in particular are curious and think the protective covers removed from an oven makes an interesting play thing. Apart from the fact that many of the edges are sharp and can cut quite easily, the real risk is electrocution. So please, make sure your children are supervised at all times during our visit. They are fast! And it’s our experience they know when no-done is looking! So have your ninja skills turned on! If they can find a way to damage themselves during our visit, they will go above and beyond in that endeavour! Our tools are like magnets. They too are sharp and good finger removers. If you leave us to entertain your inquisitive children; we will supply them with side cutters. You know, the finger removing variety! So please, we are not to be trusted with babies and small children.

Children are not responsible! Adults are! Don’t let them look after “Fido”, the technician eating Rottweiler or American Pit Bull. The number of times the dog scratching at the door to come in is let in by the children is too many! They just want to dog to stop scratching and being annoying! They haven’t thought through the predatory nature of the wild animal in your back yard chaffing at the bit to eat us. We can’t out run them! Or the German Shepard who has mastered the art of opening the door themselves. Lock it, wrap a chain around it and use a padlock with a secret pin number that the children don’t know. We hate it when we get eaten!!!

White fluffy ones! The escape artists, with little or no road sense! We have to go in and out of the house. Coming back into a house with pets supposedly secured means we aren’t on alert for escapers! White fluffy ones turn red when run over. And this might sound dramatic, but has happened in front of two little boys! One of the boys had to go to the toilet and the dog escaped the room. Made a bee line for the front door that was left ajar. The boys were in hot pursuit! Being unware a dog existed in the house, it was a blur. In the blink of an eye the dog was under the front wheel of a car on a main road. Another fun fact! Old technicians can not run fast enough to catch escapers and this includes you cat owners. They are fast; we are slow! So, once they are out the door, don’t be surprised when we just keep walking!

Young Adults. While 18 might seem like an age of a mature, responsible adult; our experience is different. Sometimes they forget to be there at the appointed service call time, but more often than not the are unhelpful for the main part. They don’t want to be there and when the opportunity to disappear presents itself, young adults will retreat to their room and forget we are even there. Put on the head phones and oblivion rules.

We need information about the oven fault to diagnose the problem; answers like “don’t know” “not sure” or worse still wild guesses increases the time we take to locate the problem. So, unless it is discussed and agreed to we really need the appliance user is in attendance.

CLEANING

AHHHHH! We are there to repair your oven. We are not a cleaning service! Yes the doors on ovens are meant to come off for cleaning! But this doesn’t mean when we have pulled it off. It means when you have time and we are not there.

Imagine I come to your work place and decide to clean the things you are working on while doing your job! If you take your car to your mechanic for repairs, do you enter the workshop and start cleaning because they have removed the hood? Vacuuming often ends up collecting screws etc. that we needs to refit components. Wires fall back into spaces that can’t be regained without removing the whole oven. Glass doors crack under torsion! Broken glass can take a long time procure if at all and is normally expensive.

Chemicals burn. Trying to do the right thing and clean your oven before we attend the repair is often meant as courtesy. But more often than not leaves residue which we don’t immediately realise. It’s when the day is finished or clothes are washed that the acids become apparent.

PROXIMITY

These days due to Covid we are all meant to be social distancing = 1.5 Meters. But it’s not just that! We are doing repairs on your appliance and will need to remove components; doors, racks, access covers and parts. We often do these things in order so that when we have to reinstate the components we can be sure they go back in there proper order. People milling around in the area can cause disruption to the seemingly disorganised bomb site. However, most of the time, there is method to our madness.

Coming into the work area to make coffee, access the fridge, microwave lunch and so on are all potential disruptions to the work we are doing. Most time this has no real impact other than to be annoying. But from time to time that can have expensive repercussions. Once we put an longer screw back into a timer support only to hit a live part. This needed a new timer as a consequence. All this from a set of screws being shifted out of order to make room for coffee cups while out getting parts from the van.

“Training” Some customers have booked a service call because they aren’t quite sure what needs to be done. They are pretty sure it’s a simple job that could be done for half the price. The answer, have a technician do it this time and watch how it’s done! We are not trainers! Also the act of changing a given part is often simple. It knowing what needs changing, any hacks that make it quicker, which parts are better, having them in the van, covering the part for warranty and the list goes on. You can’t return your part for warranty because it must be fitted by a qualified person. I’ve seen a sheep shorn in less than a couple of minutes. Having watched that does not in anyway mean I could do it, although it look simple enough.

Even if training is not the motivation; hands up those who like having someone looking over their shoulder while doing stuff! Unless you’re a stand up comedian that has mastered the heckler put down; no-one is the correct answer! We’re no different. It doesn’t mean we want you to leave room; it just means not being socially awkward and getting in our space or looking over our shoulders like we are about to steal the family jewels.

APPLIANCE USER

The fastest way for us as a fixed price repairer to diagnose a fault, is by questions put to the user that has experienced the problem/change. The answers can have significant implications. Having changed a set of hinges on a timer repair is just one such example. The door was ajar and clearly needed replacing. The timer, while faulty did not affect the actual function of the oven. The person in attendance agreed it was a hinge issue and paid for that repair. When the real user of the oven returned they called to question the outcome. We advised the cost to replace the timer as well. It turns our this was over their budget. Which made the replacing of the hinges redundant.

Many times customer list the part they believe needs replacing. When we arrive we always ask the person in attendance to detail their understanding of the problem. In almost half the cases the part listed is not the part needed. It is only through the onsite dialogue that the real issue comes to light. These are only some of the reasons we ask that the appliance user be in attendance.

REMOVING ACCESSORIES ETC

Many customers use their ovens as a storage for pots, pan, trays etc. Some even use them for dry goods. If you want those items put on your benchtop surfaces by us but want us to be careful not to damage the benchtop surfaces, please remove them before arrive or place towels on the benchtop surfaces to avoid any damage.

Hot things. Often customers use their cooktop/oven just prior to our arrival. Some of these surfaces retain heat for quite some time. Many a time techs get scolded by these hot surfaces when removing or working on them. We won’t work on ovens that are hot. So please don’t test your oven prior to our arrival.

More often than not we can work on the hot surfaces, but it can impede the diagnostic process. If we can’t feel where the heat is coming from then can’t quickly ascertain which element is faulty.

DAMAGE TO SURFACES

Surfaces can get damaged unintentionally. While we are careful to avoid this where we can, we can’t always do so. If you are particular about any surface that we may need to impact, please bring it to our attention before we start work. At this point we will offer options for dealing with this. If they are not to your liking we will not proceed. A minimum charge will apply if we don’t proceed.

EXPECTATIONS

We try to manage expectations. We try to be completely transparent. We aren’t going to raise your expectations by telling you we can do what we can’t. This page is an example of how we hope to manage expectations. If you don’t want someone in your house that is going to ask that your pets are secured, or to keep your social distance etc. then we are not the best fit for you. Find someone else! But if you want someone that offers a fixed price repair, turn up as per the appointment, completes the repair in over 95% of jobs on the first visit using European parts and is a qualified electrician with over 30 years experience, then we are likely a good fit for you.

What you should expect from us! We aim to turn up within the appointed time, or call if we are having difficulty making that time. We will wipe our feet so as not to track mud into your beautiful home. We promise not to ask to use your toilet (unless we its emergency). We will use sliders or rugs to move your oven or use purpose built equipment to avoid damage to floors. We charge fixed prices for most jobs and will let you know before hand if we have any reason to believe that will not be the case. We will normally show you the faulty part if it adds to your confidence that we are replacing a part for good reason. Sometimes the fault can not be detected visually and so showing you won’t make you any more confident we are doing the right thing. We will offer advice about parts used if we think we have an improved option for you. Ohh and we can be a bit chatty, sorry for those who prefer not to chat. The best way to deal with that is to slip out of the room as soon as there is a break in the conversation.

A real Adelaidian; Living and Working in Adelaide

Office in Clarence Gardens | Workshop in Panorama | Local Metropolitan Service Area