Ask the Experts | When to Debrief Service Tech Performance

Question: How often would you recommend debriefing performance with each of your service techs?

Drew Cameron; President, HVAC Sellutions & Energy Design Systems, Inc.:

This is a great question. The reason it’s a great question: It’s probably going to result in the surest answer I’ve ever given on one of these calls. I’m gonna defer to Gary probably on this, because he’s more the operations guy in this area. But when I work back in my company, and of course when I work on the utility and service experts and with my clients, real simple: We debrief after each call. Meaning the technician has to call in and debrief obviously with the call taker or the dispatcher on each call.

And then I’ll do one-on-one debriefing on their performance, not as a group – again, one on one – for weekly performance coaching, or as needed. So on a day to day basis obviously you’re seeing the numbers. So if the numbers aren’t where they need to be, don’t wait for a week, or the end of the month. Sit down with the individual one on one, at least on a weekly basis, or daily, as I say, if performance is lagging.

Then weekly, you’re going to do a team meeting where you’re going to cover, obviously, whatever topics you need to do there. You might get into some training there but, again, individual coaching shouldn’t come at the team meeting.

You’re coaching individually at least weekly, then I would say, as a newbie, as a new hire, I’m going to make sure they have a ride-along at least weekly, to start, after they get through the training period. So they have someone shadowing them, or they’re shadowing maybe the first few weeks. But when they’re a newbie for that first maybe month or so, I might give them a weekly ride-along, and then I’ll ween that back to monthly, and then I’ll ween that back to quarterly.

No one should be above coaching ride-alongs, I don’t care how long they’ve been with the company. You can’t coach from the locker room, you’ve got to get out there on the field of play and see what these guys are doing. With that, I’ll toss it over to Gary, and he can throw it to Weldon.

Gary Elekes; Founder, EPC Training:

Thanks, Drew. I 100% agree with everything you said. Only small matter I would throw in there is companies of different sizes, different scales. So a small company, which I would qualify as $1 million and under, just for the size point of view you probably don’t have the resources to do what a company that’s $5 to $10 million might do. So how we spend time with people might change just a hair.

So the process on the under $1 million, would be you need to communicate at least weekly with the guys. If you scale up as a business, I would recommend that you move to the daily training model. So we share all the information, the metrics, and do role play and training each day, so the debriefing process absolutely becomes a discussion point every day.

And Drew’s 100% right: You’re going to debrief after every single call, and if there’s an issue that crops up inside of performance for an individual service technician, the daily training can correspond to the debriefing that happens the previous day amongst the techs. That could be product integrity issues, customer service issues, pricing issues, anything.

So I think the only real issue is just to scale the business and how often you want to connect with people on the training side as it attaches to the debriefing. But every single call for sure.

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