Massive advertising budgets, outsourced labor, established distribution networks, and the financial legal muscle to trample over patents, small HVACR companies often need more than just a solid product to survive against large, established corporations.
But while owners and inventors can’t hope to out-muscle industry giants, they can take advantage of new communication advances such as social media and smart phones to inspire a more direct relationship between their business and market.
For Doug Lockhart, the founder of Digi-Cool, a small digital refrigeration company, personal involvement with their customers has helped them to compete against some of the world’s largest HVACR corporations.
The company first entered the market with their patented “dynamic bar-graph display,” which is a digital display that shows small valve and refrigerant modulations. However, Mr. Lockhart says that while technical innovations give you industry credibility, techs also really look for and respond to personalized, authentic interactions.
“Direct interaction with techs through things such as blogs, tradeshows, and even our toll-free support line is something which has really helped Digi-Cool over the last few years,” says Mr. Lockhart. “If a tech asks a question about us online, I can answer it personally in the forums—that interaction is something large corporations have a tough time competing with.”
Digi-Cool also offers techs the ability to buy all of their digital analyzers and products right from their website, allowing the company to sell at a lower cost to techs.
“People just rave about that personal touch. For example, our toll-free Tech Support line can be patched right into my blue-tooth. I’ve had techs standing on a roof-top across the country. They call and get transferred to me, and are back running in a few minutes.”
Before starting Digi-Cool, Mr. Lockhart was, and still is, a refrigeration tech himself. Over 24 years ago, he hand-crafted Digi-Cool’s first proto-type in his garage at night, working during the day as a tech.
With the release of Digi-Cool’s AK-900 this year, Mr. Lockhart says that he will use more social media and direct selling to make sure that his company maintains their focus on supporting techs—combining technical research and his own daily experience on the job.
For more information visit www.digi-cool.com.