The Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International are helping its members get certified as counter specialists with some online help.

Customer service expert Steve Coscia is offering classes that help employees to listen better, handle difficult situations, improve relationships and ultimately increase sales, while meeting HARDI’s requirement for its counter specialist certification.

HARDI member APR Supply, a wholesale distributor in Pennsylvania for more than 75 years, used Coscia’s customer service course to achieve HARDI level 3 counter certification.

“Coscia’s online customer service training meets HARDI’s requirement for counter certification,” said S. Rene Numer, director of human resources for APR Supply. “It provides exactly the right content and it’s easy to access.”

West Chester, Pa.-based American Air Distributing, another HARDI member, sought out Coscia to train its counter staff.

“Our employees are No. 1 in delivering customer service and Coscia’s e-learning lessons have helped our counter staff achieve this status,” said Karen Eaton, office manager at American Air Distributing.

The company has been working with Coscia since 2003 and has scheduled additional sessions for 2010.

“Not only are the e-lessons educational, they are lively and sometimes even whimsical,” said Eaton. “We learn something new every time we watch them.”

HARDI officials say that a company actively participating in this program benefits from fewer returns, reduced warranty expenses, decreased customer wait time, increased customer dependency, increased repeat business and increased employee satisfaction.

Coscia has authored HARDI’s “Counterline” newsletter since 2004, and he counts numerous HARDI members among his clients.