Hot Boxes, Cold Boxes or Wet Boxes!

“There are hot boxes, cold boxes and wet boxes, it is all you really need to know. Period!” 

Two quick sentences delivered as a fierce rebuke at a training meeting. Slammed at a technician who dared reveal his frustration with the technology revolution and that the way it affected his world, as an appliance technician. True and overly simplistic it had its’ intended purpose “Shut up and listen” Might have been just as effective for the technician crossed his arms, turned off his ears and for all intense and purposes left the meeting.  

“When I was servicing it was a lot simpler. If it was off, you turned it on. If it was on, then you turned off.” Fast forward twenty years. Different trainer, new technician same frustration, kinder response. Overly simplistic again, but true and hard to argue with.  

As fun as it would be to examine the method and delivery of the two responses. What is really interesting is the fundamental truth about each statement and the way they affect the vision of the appliance repair industry.

Manufactures still build boxes that keep things cold the same way the same a manufacture builds boxes that heat things up. Now they might add a camera to a cold box and hook it up to the internet so that the customer can tell if door is open to long, or worst case the unit is not cooling. The hot box can be turned on as the customer leaves the office and then cook away, using one of ten different algorithms. Still at the core a hot box and cold box. 

Educate and upgrade in 2019, remunerate in 1970.

The industry and customers vision of the appliance technician is still in the binary world of if it’s off, turn it on, simple. The current appliance technician has to be a generalist like never before. In an analog world the technician had to be part plumber, part electrician, part installer, part domestic servant and all technician. Today they still have to be those things but also must be electronic specialists, internet savvy and tech speak translator. Far more sophisticated than “ole lonesome” the current technician is trapped between the perception and reality. They have resolve themselves to the “catch 22” of their new world, educate and upgrade in 2019, remunerate in 1970. 

Some manufactures like Sub-Zero, Wolf, Cove are doing there best to keep technicians up to date. Training and tools for the new reality are streamed out. Fundamentally believing that the new electronics will diagnoses them selves and the technician will revert to from diagnostician to parts replacer. Only the rubber hits the road technician will check to see if error 05 is really the reported thermistor error or a control board got it wrong error. Only the dedicated technician will use his knowledge and experience to determine if an intermittent fault is, box a or part b. The truth is, the simple solution is to replace box a and c as well as part b dramatically increasing the repair cost rather than actually diagnosing and replacing just what is needed. Of course, many manufactures and consumers want and expect option a, without the realization that “yesterday tech” is not prepared or incentivized to provide that service. 

In our little niche of the market. We are very fortunate to have Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove providing the best tools and back up available. As specialists we focus our experience and knowledge on a narrow range of the industry. We are far better prepared to handle the complexities than those companies trying to fix too many brands, with too little back up. Even still we see technicians come and go, who cannot resolve themselves to the current industry model. 

The answer will only come from outside the boxes!

 How we evolve as an industry my well diverge, individual companies in select portions of the market evolving one way, the industry as whole another. The question is how do we keep the industry relevant, providing the service everyone expects and get fair compensation for our services? The answer will only come from outside the boxes! 

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