Posts By: Susan Brown

What to do with a new tech who has more enthusiasm than experience

Posted on September 9, 2015 by - Business Talk

Ready4TrainingLet’s say you have just hired a bright, energetic, and enthusiastic person who shows a lot of promise but lacks seasoning as an appliance repair tech. What’s the best way to bring this new hire up to speed in the ever more complex field of appliance repair?

Obviously, training is paramount. We’re assuming this person has gained some familiarity in a trade — perhaps welding, electrical, or plumbing, for example. Those occupations have less to do with technical troubleshooting and repair and are more about installation, fabrication, or simply replacing an obviously bad component such as a faucet, outlet, or switch. However, the skills and work ethics your new tech learned in other shops demonstrate an ability to learn and adapt — valuable traits in an appliance repair tech. What the new hire needs now is specialized training in appliance service repair.


Here’s what we recommend:

1. Enroll your new tech in the online, self-paced Tech Bundle (Fundamentals, Refrigeration, Advanced Schematics, and Professional Development) at Samurai Tech Academy. This formal training should start in the first week of employment, if possible.

The courses in the tech bundle will not only lay a solid foundation for the essential skills and technologies your new technician will encounter, they will also expose the rookie to the modern, advanced computer-controlled appliances with multiple electronic control boards. By demystifying the inner workings of those appliances, the tech can avoid the all-too-common “Hail Mary pass” — replacing the control board and hoping they're right — a desperate strategy too many so-called technicians fall back on today.

2. Assign a mentor (maybe the owner). It’s imperative that the rookie have a seasoned technician (who ideally has also taken the Samurai Tech Academy courses) to show him or her the ropes — not just where the break room is, but the ins and outs of your business, technical and otherwise. An interested and supportive mentor will greatly improve chances for career success as an appliance repair tech. In a smaller multi-truck operation, this mentor may be the owner himself.

3. Start running calls as an assistant. A critical component of learning any skilled trade is actually doing it. It is vital that any book learning be accompanied by time spent as an assistant to an experienced tech on actual service calls. That way, the rookie can learn the hows that accompany the whys presented in the online training. Plus, putting course lessons into actual practice really speeds up the mastery of a topic or skill.

4. Review and correct. The mentor or senior tech observes, comments on, and corrects not only the rookie’s performance on real-life service calls, but also reviews the trainee’s progress in online training. It's actually very motivating for a tech student to know that a mentor, manager, or owner is available to help with questions that arise in coursework or on the job and periodically checks on the trainee’s progress in both. Nothing says “get to work” like your boss asking “how's it going on ___?”

5. Expect mistakes. Even the most experienced of us make mistakes, hopefully fewer and fewer as we gain knowhow. But remember back to your own fledgling days and expect your new tech to inevitably screw up something. When that happens, keep in mind that we humans often learn more through failure than through success, and losing your cool in the face of a trainee’s (or employee’s) mistake never makes anything better. Explain the error matter-of-factly and patiently, demonstrate the correct way to perform the task, and move on. Trainees who know you won’t blow your stack at every little flub will learn better and faster, to the benefit of your business in the long run.

Finally, how can you be sure you won’t lose your new tech once you’ve invested in all that training? This is rarely an issue if your business provides a positive workplace and has a competitive compensation plan — and providing training as part of the compensation package is a good way to instill loyalty to you and your company. However, if you’re worried your new tech will jump ship, you can have the technician pay for some portion of the training, to be reimbursed in the form of a bonus or other compensation at some time in the future.


7 Tips for Becoming an Excellent Public Speaker

Posted on September 4, 2015 by - Business Talk, Career Talk

As an appliance tech you may not have to stand at a podium and speak very often, but every day you are dealing with customers, and that is also a form of public speaking.

Check out this cool infographic and think how these tips can help improve your customer interactions. Each one of these corresponds in some way to your communications during a service call, such as knowing what you need to say about your company's way of doing business, being calm, pacing yourself appropriately, being confident (even if you don't always feel it!), and judging your "audience."

The "soft skills" of customer relations require study and attention just like the "hard skills" of technical training! We cover these skills in both the Professional Development for Appliance Repair Technicians training course and Operating a Profitable Appliance Repair Business course. If you enroll in a course bundle, you'll receive one of these courses at a deeply discounted rate!



Why is it so hard to find good help these days?

Posted on August 1, 2015 by - Academy Talk, Business Talk, Career Talk

cost-of-bad-hire-chartIf you’re an appliance repair operator with a fleet of service trucks, you may be finding it difficult to keep them all on the road these days — not because your trucks are broken down but because you can’t find skilled service technicians to staff your growing business.

Why are qualified techs in such short supply? Because, unfortunately, ready-made appliance service techs with the background, experience, technological knowhow, and interpersonal skills you need to keep your business flourishing are nearly as rare as unicorns.


It’s not just the appliance repair industry that’s feeling the pinch of skilled trade scarcity. According to the National Association for Business Economics, there's a shortage of skilled technicians and mechanics across all sectors of the U.S. economy. The Association reported that in July 2015, 44 percent of small businesses came up short in their search for qualified technical personnel. That adds up to a lot of jobs going unfilled — and in our industry, appliance repair business lost.

A lot of this talent shortage can be blamed on the too long and too recent “Great Recession” of the first decade (plus a few years) of this century. So many people who lost jobs simply gave up looking for work and remain unemployed or underemployed to this day. How many of those people, properly motivated and trained, would find excellent and rewarding careers in the appliance service industry? This is a subject ripe for speculation.

Another real problem is the 20th century emphasis on four-year college as the only valid pathway to achieving the American Dream. Thousands upon thousands of young people who took this mantra to heart now find themselves with expensive educations and crippling debt, but no real skills to enable them to pursue rewarding and productive careers. What if a significant proportion of those young people had been encouraged to train for technical or trade jobs that didn’t require the magical BS or BA degree but did offer intellectual stimulation, job stability, good pay, and personal satisfaction? If they had, the jobs outlook for the long-term employed might not look so dismal today — and our industry would be able to find the qualified techs we need, when we need them.

Of those young people who did find themselves in the appliance repair trade, many if not most have learned on the job. Unfortunately, that means they may not be trained to a level that allows them to cope with the increasingly sophisticated electronics and computer-controlled mechanisms of modern appliances. As a result, the appliance repair trade is full of parts-changers calling themselves technicians. Too many of them are really good at taking things apart and (maybe) putting them back together, but troubleshooting, schematics, circuits, and the expanding complexity of 21st century home appliance technology are far beyond their ken.

And to be blunt, some of the blame for lack of good help must rest with repair service owners themselves. Some owners are very skilled and up to date on current and emerging technology but don’t have the time to pass on their knowledge to their techs. Other owners may not have kept their own skills current so can’t properly train their staffs. And a certain percentage of owners simply don’t see the value of comprehensive training or think they can’t afford it.

If you fit into one of those categories (we won’t ask which one), Samurai Tech Academy can help you develop the your technical team’s skills. We are a reliable resource that is convenient and effective, and our courses are offered online so techs can complete modules at times that fit with their work schedule. We’ve found that having a trainee spend an hour or two a day working on the courses, then spending the remainder of the day alongside an experienced tech, gives them an ideal combination of theoretical and practical experience that improves learning and knowledge retention.

A trained, skilled workforce may be easier to find than you think. Samurai Tech Academy can help.


Multi-truck appliance repair companies: Invest in online technician training now, reap the benefits for your business’s lifetime!

Posted on July 7, 2015 by - Business Talk, Career Talk

tech-group 400For most service companies, summer is the busiest season in the appliance repair business. Refrigerators especially seem to need attention during the hot months, possibly because customers want to keep the condensers dust-free and the gaskets tight to keep the motor running efficiently — or perhaps because they forget to do just that and their fridge gives up the ghost from overwork.

Whatever the reason for your busy season, during the summer months your appliance repair technicians are probably booked from clock-in to quitting time covering service calls, which leaves little time to attend appliance repair schools to update their training.


But as experience tells us, summer’s hectic service call schedule will taper off when the temperature begins to drop. So now’s a good time to plan for continuing technical education that your techs can take when their workloads are more manageable and your entire operation swings into a more relaxed mode.

At Samurai Tech Academy, we specialize in on-demand, self-paced online appliance repair training that your techs can take at any time on a learning schedule that works best for them.

You can use our courses to train newly hired appliance repair techs this year or fill in knowledge gaps and enhance the skills of your seasoned service staff ten years down the road. Our courses are updated continuously to incorporate the latest systems and technologies, so they’re always up to date — and there’s no extra charge!

Check out our website today for more information about Master Samurai Tech appliance repair school online training. Pay for your courses now, when business is booming; use them later, when techs have more time flexibility.


Multi-Tech Operators: Can your techs fix these three washers?

Posted on June 12, 2015 by - Academy Talk, Business Talk

If it seems like laundry technology is advancing faster than you and your appliance repair techs can keep up with, fasten your seat belts, because we’re taking a fast ride into a future that is here right now. Here are three examples of innovative laundry systems your team may be called on to service in the not-too-distant future:

Whirlpool Smart Washer/Dyer Combo

Whirlpool's Smart Dryer

Whirlpool's Smart Dryer

Whirlpool’s Smart Front Load Dryer takes advantage of the Nest Learning Thermostat to integrate a home laundry system into an energy-saving mode that senses when a home’s residents are away and automatically reduces dryer heat and drying time to conserve energy. A sophisticated electronic control panel guides decisions about what materials and colors can be washed together or separately and automatically controls water temperature and volume based on load size and content.


LG Twin Wash System

LG Twin Wash System

LG Twin Wash System

Double ovens have been around for a long time, but double washers are a fresh out-of-the-box innovation. LG’s Twin Wash can manage two loads of laundry at once. Imagine the convenience of being able to simultaneously wash delicates in one gentle cycle while a heavier load of towels or jeans gets a thorough cleaning in another — all in a compact, stacked appliance. The dryer unit recirculates heat to save energy, helping keep utility costs under control. If the owner likes to iron clothes right out of the dryer, a steam function within the dryer sprays a fine mist directly on the clothes to keep them at the perfect all-over dampness level for easy ironing.

Samsung activewash

Samsung activewash

Samsung activewash

Samsung’s newest washing machine harkens back to great, great grandma’s washboard — and that’s a good thing. A small sink-like compartment on top of the washer lets users soak or gently hand-scrub fabrics ahead of washing, offering one-stop convenience on laundry day. No more running back and forth to the bathroom to soak delicates in the sink.

Although products like these are so new to the marketplace they probably won’t need service immediately, it’s a good idea to bring your appliance repair techs up to speed before that time comes so they can perform flawlessly when called on. With ahead-of-the-curve training they’ll have the knowledge and confidence to quickly diagnose problems and make needed repairs, keeping customer satisfaction high and company services running smoothly. And having your techs fully trained early in the game will enable them to perform warranty services your less-prepared competitors may have to pass on.


Master Samurai Tech specializes in developing custom continuing education programs designed to keep appliance repair technicians on the cutting edge of technology. Beginning with the Master Samurai Tech Fundamentals of Appliance Repair Course and continuing through the Advanced Schematics Analysis and Troubleshooting Course, you can be assured of thorough, comprehensive training on the ins and outs of home appliance repair — customized to your unique needs, if desired. All Master Samurai Tech training courses develop your employees’ knowledge base with the exact information needed to have a handle on modern appliance technology.


Best of all, Master Samurai Tech self-paced continuing education programs are available on-demand, so your techs can complete the coursework at a time and a pace most convenient for them — during lunch periods, slack times during a work day, or at home on weekends and evenings.

Please call Scott, the Original Master Samurai Tech, at 603-290-5516, so we can understand your needs and help your techs to be prepared for any new model that comes their way.

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