Mike Moore, founder and director of training at HVAC Learning Solutions, a company that provides training for HVAC managers and technicians, spoke to The SmartVan about three keys to build lasting skills and grow business. Rule #1: “Hire and retain quality employees,” Moore says.

Given your experience, what are the three most important pieces of information you pass along during your training?

The number one issue is to be able to properly recruit and train individuals. Being in the service industry, you have to make it attractive for people to want to come and work for your company. You have to show them that there’s a career path. If you want to recruit good people and keep them, you have to have a career path for them.

Number two is to make sure they have the proper training. When they go out to the customer’s home, you want to make sure they get it right the first time. You don’t want to have to go back and do a recall because that hurts customer satisfaction and, quite honestly, it hurts your business.

Any specific examples of dos and don’ts when it comes to customer service?

It’s important to go into the customers home and to treat the female customer with respect, which is particularly critical nowadays because a lot more of the decisions in this industry are made by women. I’d say 80 percent of the decisions are made by women as opposed to men. So working with the techs to help them understand what that approach should be is very, very critical.

And number three?

Number three would be to make sure that, in this day and age, the people in your company have economic literacy – so they understand the finances of the business. They don’t have to understand the whole operation, but they need to see how they fit into the operation, and how they affect the bottom line.

Mike Moore is the Director of Training at HVAC Learning Solutions and one of the original founders of the organization. He has been an integral part of the Lennox family since 2000. He brings fourteen years of HVAC and ten years of corporate training experience to the table. Read more of Mike’s HVAC industry insights on his blog.

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San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.