Comfort FAQ

Over the course of 2011, this space will identify opportunities within customers' homes that you may not have observed in the past. The opportunities are based on a recent homeowner survey conducted by Decision Analyst, Inc.

Q: How important is it that I consider a customer to be part of my "team"?

A: I've been in meetings where I've heard a contractor pride himself on what he got away with at an installation, and others where the contractor has prided himself on building more into the homeowner purchase than was actually expected.

In this industry, where your homeowner relies on you and your team for their home's environment and their personal comfort, you must include the homeowner as a part of your team. If you don't, a single "win" can easily turn into many failures.

The industry norm for installations isn't a good one. Based on homeowner responses, three in 10 installations require the contractor back at the home before the system works to their expectations. Sometimes keeping the homeowner a part of the team can cause initial duress, but it is often worth it.

For the most part you're working with an uninformed and anxious team member who only wants their problem and you to go away. Most want to put your visit behind them, and try hard to forget all they learned while you were there. It's essential that your last contact after a major installation include PR expertise. It's also important to stay in contact with your uninformed and anxious homeowner team member over time, keeping them up on things that are important to them.

When was the last time you informed your homeowners of government and/or utility energy programs that they might take advantage of? When did you last share the information you have on their home products, and ways they can improve their environment (with or without added purchases)? Have you kept up with your homeowner's changes?

In the last 12 months, our research has shown that only 39% of contractors followed up with a complementary call after being in the home on a service call. And, less than 20% of all homeowners were asked to share their e-mail address. Maybe it's because you already have all of their e-mail addresses . . . is that possible? Obtaining email addresses is an effective, inexpensive way to keep up with your anxious, uninformed team member.

Garry Upton, of Decision Analyst, Inc., Arlington, TX, shares his interpretations of Decision Analyst's American Home Comfort Study of homeowners, and explores what customers look for in HVAC contractors. To learn more about this study, or to purchase it, contact Garry, at [email protected].

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