Are You The Pilot? Mechanic? Or Both?

Pilot By John Burwell, Service and Sales Coach

As students of all ages begin their school year, our thoughts in the contracting business turn to the upcoming heating season. The first signs of the season are the pre-season tune ups and inspections we provide for our customers. There are two roles involved in the pre-season tune up and inspection process. These two roles are very much like the roles that a pilot and a mechanic play with regard to airline travel safety.

Let me clarify the responsibilities of each.

First let me ask you, what is one thing a pilot always does, before ever flying the plane? That’s right, the walk around inspection. This is a visual inspection of the planes exterior. He is looking for anything that doesn’t look right. Following a detailed checklist he will document any findings so there’s a record of this inspection tied to this specific plane. If the pilot finds something wrong will he grab tools and fix it on the spot? No. He will contact the repair mechanic to make the necessary repairs or maintenance. He may be capable, but that is not his role at this moment, his role is pilot. We know the main purpose of this inspection is for safety; safety of the passengers and crew.

In this case we have two distinct roles played by two different people. One is the pilot and the other is the mechanic. As a service technician however, these two roles are performed by one person. So, the question is, how do you give each the time and attention needed? It’s easy to get so caught up in the inspection that you find yourself making minor adjustments or small fixes that you tell the customer about after the fact. We know this is not in line with how we systematically approach a customer service call. We know that we’re not helping the customer with their buying decision. And we know in most cases it damages the personal connection we have made with our customers; however it happens. How can we prevent this situation and add to the ultimate service experience? By always playing each role completely and separately.

Let’s take a simple look at how the roles break down.

Pilot and Inspector Table

Playing both of these roles can be a challenge for even the best service technicians. It’s important to be mindful that blending them at the same time can be overwhelming to the customer. Take your time and help your customer to better see the why behind your recommendation as their pilot and mechanic for this flight.


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