Service agreements – Not Always Supportive of Home Techs

home tech

According to the Association of Independent Technicians (AIT), “The home-based technician has entered an era where the home-based technician can not only be competitive but also expect to be rewarded handsomely for the services he renders.” In an article published in Home Tech magazine, Thomas Deming states “In the last decade, home-based technicians have reached a level of acceptance in the professional services marketplace that they were never expected to attain.”

Access To The Greater Convenience

A desktop computer monitor sitting on top of a wooden desk

According to the AIT, “In the last decade, home-based technicians have gained ground in almost every service category… From professional cleaning and janitorial services to air conditioning and heating repair.” From the article by Thomas Deming titled “The New Professional: The Home-Based Technician,” the association of independent technicians and other experts concluded, “technicians who utilize on-site computer-based systems can not only expect fair compensation for their work but can also expand their clientele by targeting markets previously inaccessible to them.”

Extends Beyond Basic Services

A fire truck parked in a parking lot

The article goes on to say “Hometech’s services extend well beyond basic services such as housekeeping and laundry. Many customers prefer a more comprehensive service agreement with features such as energy management, central air conditioning, and heating and air conditioning repair. Some homeowners prefer to enter into a service agreement that requires no fees until the desired result is achieved. This arrangement gives homeowners a choice between achieving the desired outcome and paying a fee. In essence, the customer pays a financial fee for desired results and the home warranty provider pays for unneeded repairs.” The article goes on to say “Many homeowners are comfortable with this arrangement because it protects them against any unforeseen repair bill.”

Better Reliability

If the home-tech failed to receive a response from the business concerning a service agreement or an estimate, the consumer indicated dissatisfaction by asking “Why did not accept the offer? “, indicating their inability to follow through with desired outcomes. The business owner stated “That is why we do not perform housekeeping and laundry services. If the consumer indicated they wanted those services, we would provide them with the estimates and instructions on how to submit a request for the service.”

More Satisfaction

The consumer indicated they were satisfied with the response from the business. They decided to proceed with the desired outcome. Shortly thereafter, the home-tech learned another home-tech had rejected an offer for a free cleaning. The new home-tech “was very pleased” when told the rejection was from a previous homeowner. The new home-tech was not happy with the “result” from the home-tech of the previous visit, stating “I thought she was very polite, but she said the job was not what she expected.”

End To All Problems

When informed of the details of this exchange, the consumer indicated they did not accept the home tech’s explanation of the water heater problem. The homeowner indicated they would make an appointment to have the water heater looked at by someone else that day. The next day, the homeowner called the water heater company and the technician was at the residence within one hour. The technician suggested several options. The homeowner selected a replacement option and received a quote in less than thirty minutes.

Greater Results

After completing the installation of the replacement part, the homeowner was given written authorization to use the system the following day and received the same service agreement as to the prior tenant. The customer indicated they were satisfied with the entire exchange and were expecting the same results. On the day of the scheduled appointment, the homeowner was again met with no answers, the home-tech having left after giving the tenant a brief description of what had been done. This second visit lasted thirty minutes; however, when the home-tech returned to the property, the water heater had been mounted on the first-floor utility pole and the wires were exposed.

Better Support

The homeowner asked for a supervisor, explaining he had called the water heater company to place an emergency order for the home tech tank due to a drain in the system. The representative was not aware of the situation and directed the customer to the telephone. He then left again, without offering any assistance. The customer was understandably upset, explaining the tank drain issue had nothing to do with the home tech tank replacement option he selected but was concerned about being disconnected from the system during the repair. The representative offered to come back that afternoon to assess the situation, however, the homeowner already felt the offer was unsatisfactory and requested a supervisor to return.

Better Customer Service

During the second visit, the home-tech attempted to provide support by describing the incident to the homeowner, which he acknowledged did not make any sense. The representative again expressed his lack of assistance and recommended the home purchase is placed on hold while he spoke with a supervisor. When the supervisor arrived, he told the customer that he could not assist with the tank drain issue and that he would have to call the dealer. When the consumer insisted on having the representative go to the location to make the fix, the home-tech responded that he would be right back with the same information. The customer indicated that he wanted to proceed with the purchase.

No More Hassle

On the third visit, the home-tech attempted to support the homeowner’s position by suggesting that replacing the mainline with a dual tank water heater might be the answer. In support of this suggestion, he provided additional information about water heaters and suggested the water heater tank drain problem could be resolved by locating a corroded drain in the tank. Despite the home-tech’s support and enthusiasm, the homeowner again expressed his desire to purchase a new water heater and declined to make the suggested appointment. The water heaters technician then explained that under the terms of the homeowner’s service agreement, he was required to provide support and maintenance services only if the homeowner directed him to do so.

Wrapping Up

The customer’s representative, in an attempt to resolve the situation, offered to make the necessary modifications to the home’s plumbing system in order to allow for the addition of a new water heater. The representative stressed that this was a job that required expertise and that it would cost more than having the service agreement taken care of by the installer. The homeowner, still wanting to proceed with the purchase, declined to make the changes. The representative left the building without providing any explanation. The home-tech was stuck fixing water heaters that did not work.

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