There are a lot of people who like to ride bicycles in Southern Arizona where the weather is often pleasant enough that they can ride almost year-round. And, there are a lot of people who drive cars and trucks (let’s just say vehicles)  in Southern Arizona who don’t like to encounter bicycle riders on the roadways. Unfortunately, those encounters are sometimes dangerous for the bicycle riders, and, sometimes, there are even confrontations between the bicycle riders and the vehicle drivers.

From the perspective of the bicycle riders, this shouldn’t happen. After all, their philosophy is that all they want from vehicle drivers is to share the road. There are even signs on the rural highways frequented by bicycle riders that have a picture of a bicycle on them, along with the phrase “Share The Road”.

I saw several of them on the rural road I drove along earlier today, and it occurred to me that these signs could be the reason that vehicle drivers are not happy about their encounters with bicycles on these two-lane highways. It occurred to me that the vehicle drivers don’t think that the “Share The Road” signs are really telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It occurred to me that from the perspective of the vehicle driver, they’re not really “sharing” the road as much as they are “yielding” the road to bicycles.

Consider it from this perspective:

…A person is driving a vehicle down a rural roadway, on which the speed limit is 55 MPH.

…They find themselves coming up on a person riding a bicycle, which is not capable of achieving the 55 MPH speed limit.

…At the same moment, another vehicle is coming from the opposite direction in the other lane.

When this happens, the person driving the vehicle that has come up behind the bicycle, naturally has to avoid two things: 1. Running into the bicycle, and, 2. Moving into the other lane which would risk a head-on collision, or force the oncoming vehicle to go off the road. It’s possible that, instinctively, from the vehicle driver’s perspective, this is not “sharing” the road with the bicycle, but rather “yielding” to the bicycle. Which means that they (again instinctively, and not consciously) don’t think that the signs with the pictures are telling the truth,  the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Which means that there is a simple solution to this problem. Replace the “share the road” signs with signs that read “Yield To Bicycles”, a sign that will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And when vehicle driver’s see a “Yield To Bicycles” sign, and they encounter a bicycle on the roadway in the situation described above, they’ll instinctively know that they’re being told truthfully what is necessary, and they’ll be willing to do it. No more dangerous pass-by’s for bicycle riders, no more confrontations that are a result of a misunderstanding between the people that ride the bicycles and the people that drive the vehicles.

And, what if we were to apply this idea, not to bicycle riders and vehicle drivers, but to technicians and customers?

Is it possible that there are times when a technician is, from their perspective, communicating correctly with a customer, but there is, in reality, a misunderstanding from the perspective of the customer, making them wonder if they are being told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

As a technical professional, it’s our job to be sure that the customer has a complete understanding of the service we’ve performed for them, why it costs what it costs, and why we were sure it had to be done the way we did it. Always make sure that the customer is certain that we’re telling them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, even if it means you have to explain the same thing to them in more than one way, and ask them several times if they have any questions you can answer for them.

Until next week…..

Learn from yesterday….Live for today….Look forward to tomorrow

Jim

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