OK your looking to upgrade your heating/cooling system this year and your looking for a contractor to do the work. You have certain expectations in mind like even temperatures throughout the house summer and winter, good humidity control and a good filtration system. Its all about providing a healthy, comfortable place for you and your family to live where you can breathe clean air containing the proper amount of humidity. Once you choose the contractor keep in mind that you need to be a part of the “Team” to make the project a complete success.
There are articles about customer satisfaction in the trade magazines, on the internet, on TV and in the newspaper. It is certainly a good thing and needs to be the focus of any successful organization but customer satisfaction is a two way street. It takes a “Good” Customer and a “Good” Contractor working together to effectively install, operate and maintain a new or existing HVAC system for Customer Satisfaction to be achieved from the Customer’s Perspective and from the Contractor’s Perspective. Below are a few thoughts for consideration.
My worst nightmare is a potential customer that doesn’t want to see a brochure, doesn’t want to visit our showroom to view and discuss the equipment, doesn’t read the proposal we carefully prepare, looks at the price and accepts it based on price and reputation alone, gives us the keys and says “Do it, I’ll see you later and will call you if something goes wrong”. You the Customer needs to listen to the presentation, read and understand the proposal and ask lots of questions so you can envision the system that is about to be installed. It is important the Contractor explains the system and it is important the customer understands the system that’s proposed so once installed, there are no surprises. Beyond that you the customer needs to operate it responsibly by keeping filters clean and alerting the contractor of anything that appears abnormal.
If a “Good” Customer is Away from Home for an extended period of time they always have a trusted neighbor or relative check the system occasionally depending on the temperature and weather conditions. They may also choose to purchase an optional WiFi thermostat that can be checked and adjusted remotely from a computer or cell phone. If a problem develops and it is a concern they know where to shut off the system until the contractor can be contacted. Many contractors have “emergency only” service after business hours but a “Good” Customer has backup electric space heaters to get them thru the night so they can call during regular business hours. This is the most effective time for contractors to help because should they not have the part in stock, supply houses will be open. Also, if your system is beyond the labor warranty period you won’t incur any extra overtime charges.
I can remember recently a customer woke me out of a deep sleep at 4am in the morning. It was above freezing and we open daily at 8am. Once I got my senses together I told the customer to call our business at 8am and they will schedule a service call. I later discovered that this customer had electric baseboard which could have easily been utilized to keep the house up to temperature till we arrived.
To install a HVAC system successfully and achieve true customer and contractor satisfaction everyone needs to be involved. You count on the contractor’s design and installation expertise and he counts on your partnership in the project.
Curt Bierly is president of the bierly group incorporated of which Stanley C. Bierly is a division. He graduated from Penn State with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and is the chair of the Penn College HVAC Advisory Board. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.