To become a successful technician in the HVAC & Refrigeration industry, obviously you’re going to need excellent technical and diagnostic skills. However, there’s quite a bit more to HVAC technician skills than that.
If you’re a regular reader of the HVACR Career Connect blog, you probably know about some of the top skills employers look for, including a strong work ethic and good communication skills.
But today we’re going to talk about a few important skills that you might not know you need. These skills not only help you get hired and increase your chances of success as a technician, but they also help you enjoy your job and get more reward from your work.
HVAC technician skills that bring success + job satisfaction
Even though people outside the industry may not realize this, HVAC and Refrigeration service is a technical career. The technology we work with—both the equipment and the tools—has changed considerably over the years, and continues to advance rapidly. Everything is computer-driven, and modern systems need to interact with other building systems, which makes things even more complex.
Understanding all of that technology, and keeping up with the changes over time, requires a lot of training and ongoing learning. That’s why being naturally curious, especially about technology and problem solving, is such a valuable HVAC technician skill. It makes it that much easier to learn, more likely that you’ll keep doing it, and more enjoyable for you.
3 ways to develop your curiosity
- Ask questions. Get into the habit of asking open-ended questions, not only in work situations but in your personal life as well. For example, ask people about their hobbies and interests, and why they enjoy them so much. That gets people talking and you’re likely to learn something that gets your curiosity going. BONUS: This is great advice for building relationships as well as boosting curiosity.
- Try new things. Having new experiences tends to make you realize how much more is out there to do and to learn. Things you probably never thought about. When you make it a habit to try things that are new to you (and possibly even a little scary), the satisfaction you feel makes you curious about what other new things can enrich your life.
- Teach someone else. This one might surprise you. But when you teach something you know to someone else, their reaction and questions may bring up things you never considered. That opens your mind and makes you think in new ways. That’s one of the keys to building curiosity. BONUS: learning to be a good teacher is another valuable HVAC technician skill!
Desire to help others (a “service mindset”)
If you’re someone who naturally enjoys doing helpful things for others, this quality—also known as a “service mindset”— will serve you well as an HVAC technician. After all, it is the central purpose of your job: to help others fix their equipment problems (or prevent them) and restore comfortable conditions to their homes and businesses.
Having a service mindset will make every service call more enjoyable for you, and also help you build better relationships with your customers. That’s something every employer wants you to do.
3 ways to develop a service mindset
- Practice empathy. This is probably the most important component of a service mentality. In a nutshell, it means being able to put yourself in the shoes of the customer. On almost every service call, you’ll encounter a customer that’s going through something distressing: enduring 90 degree heat with no air conditioning, facing a breakdown that disrupts their business or family plans, or at the very least, facing an expensive repair charge that they didn’t expect. Try to imagine how you would feel in their situation. And express some sympathy: “I’m sorry this is happening to you.” Finding your empathy makes you WANT to do your best to solve the customer’s problem and relieve their concern.
- Take ownership. That means taking responsibility for solving the customer’s problem. Even if they complain about something that wasn’t your job, or a previous visit that you didn’t make, don’t dismiss that as being “not your problem.” The customer’s problem IS your problem. Do everything you can to solve it, even if it’s not your fault.
- Build resilience & confidence. It’s much easier to keep a service mindset when you are confident in your abilities and able to move past difficult experiences. Let’s face it, sometimes people who are upset will treat you badly. When that happens (and it will at some point), start by using your empathy to understand why the customer reacted that way. Then, you need to be resilient: put that experience behind you and not let it ruin your day and affect your interaction with the next customer.
Learn more> What to Say to An Angry Customer
More helpful advice for building a career in HVAC & Refrigeration
If you are building a career as an HVAC or Refrigeration service technician (or you are considering doing so), you will find lots of helpful information here. If you’re in the NYC Metro area, you can also find job opportunities.
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HVACR Career Connect NY was created to promote the exceptional quality-of-life benefits of a career in HVAC and Refrigeration service, and also to provide a clear path for getting started in the profession. In doing so, we serve as a resource for employers in the New York City metro area to find and hire smart and capable new technicians. We also serve as an educational resource to support business growth and to help service technicians succeed in their chosen profession.