Written by: Bill Molica, Technical Sales, Arzel Zoning
**Updated with App links!**
In the past few months I have had some interesting conversations with contractors regarding training. Most contractors I talk to agree that educating their employees about the products they sell is important. The issues they are running into are when and how to do the training. Most meetings are held early in the morning before the work day starts or in the evening after the employees have worked a full day. Neither of these times seems optimal for learning. The other issue is expense to the employer or demand on the employee time if they are not getting paid for the meeting. This result in less training being offered by a contractor or good employees leaving the company due to time demands.
So what is the answer to this issue?
More contractors I talk to are now considering spending less time teaching their employees about the products and more time showing them where to find the answers they need. The use of smart phones and tablets being used by technicians is increasing and these devices give technicians instant access to many resources for sales and support. With the explosion of apps for both Apple and Android, techs can enhance their knowledge and make better, more informed decisions on the fly.
Some of the best apps on the marketplace for techs and small businesses:
HVAC Buddy Load Calc
HVAC Duct Sizer
This app was voted favorite mobile app by readers of Contracting Business and performs simple duct sizing along with a range of duct sizes by specifying minimum and maximum friction loss and airflow values. It is available in both Apple and Android platforms.
Genteq Engery Savings Calculator
Available for both Apple and Android you can use the comparison tool to show annual energy use and cost of a wide range of heating and cooling systems. It shows you how quickly a new system will pay for itself in lower energy costs.
This app from White-Rodgers provided field access to product replacement information along with access to product wiring diagrams, sell sheets and installation and operating instructions. Available for both Apple and Android platforms.
Available only for the iPad, this app displays PowerPoint presentations with animations, fonts, colors and high-definition graphics. This award-winning app is easy to use as it can open files from cloud storage sites like Dropbox and allows you to download presentations without needing access to the internet. A great presentation tool for in-home sales calls.
The next generation of technician is more tech savvy than their predecessors and will be more responsive to this type of support. The other benefit of this type of support is it gives the technician the ability to figure out the issues on their own. Power point presentations and training classes are great but I believe most technicians learn more working through a problem and finding the answer.
The use of technology can be a time and money-saver by giving the technician instant access to the support materials they need. This keeps the technician on the job and they don’t need to spend time calling a technical support line and wait for them to send a fax or email with the information they need.
Contractors have invested a lot of time and effort to change their business strategies to meet the needs of today, it would serve them well to do the same with the way they approach educating their empoyees.
What apps do you use on the job? How has technology helped your training efforts?
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