When your business receives a call for service, what does your technician do? Do they just go out and make the repair that the homeowner needs, or do they also make note of conditions needing attention? Do you see your company as being in the HVAC business or the indoor climate business? If you’re in the HVAC business, you typically make the required repairs during the service call and check out the system to make sure it is operating correctly in all other areas. If you’re in the indoor climate business you do this as well, and you also take note of conditions relating to filtration, energy efficiency, temperature, control systems and humidity. Note that this involves more than just the heating and cooling system, it also involves the building itself. An acronym to remind yourself of this is FETCH. (Filtration; Energy efficiency; Temperature; Control Systems; Humidity) “But I don’t want my service technician to be a salesperson,” you say. Well, that’s the thing. They don’t need to be. All they need to be is observant, and make note of all of the items contained in the acronym. Let’s look at each of these in a little detail.
Filtration: Ask the homeowner if they have allergies. Note if they have any animals, if there are lingering odors or if it looks dusty in the home. Make note of what type of filter they have on their system, and what condition it is in. Also make note of the condition of their evaporator and condenser coil, to make sure they are not blocked by debris.
Energy Efficiency: Capture the model and serial number of the furnace, evaporator coil and condensing unit. From that you can determine equipment size and age, matching compatibility and energy efficiency ratings. Also make note of basic envelope issues affecting thermal efficiency such as the amount of insulation in the walls and attic, whether or not a radiant barrier is present, general condition of the windows, the square footage of the home’s footprint and the home’s age and geographic orientation. (North/South/East/West)
Temperature: Ask the homeowner if there are any areas of the house which are hot or cold during winter or summer. Also asked them if they are typically comfortable where the thermostat is currently set, and make note of that temperature setting. If they complain of inadequate cooling, make note of the load conditions that might be causing that.
Control Systems: Make note of the brand and model of thermostat they have in their home. If it is a setback type thermostat, ask the homeowners if they make use of the program in the thermostat to save energy. Also asked them about their general occupancy schedules. Keep in mind that according to one recent study, only 30% of the people who have a programmable thermostat actually use them and 23% don’t have a programmable thermostat at all.
Humidity: Take a humidity reading in the home, and make sure that the device you’re using is regularly calibrated. Ask the homeowner if they feel comfortable when the air conditioner is running or if they get shocked during the winter, knowing that humidity levels can be a factor in home comfort during both winter and summer weather.
Just think of the powerful information you can gather about a homeowners needs just by making notes and asking a few basic questions. This only takes a few minutes of the technicians time, but the information gathered is invaluable in helping your company build a relationship with that consumer based upon their specific situation and needs. In the future when you contact the consumer through your marketing efforts, you will be helping them open their eyes about targeted solutions for needs they may not have consciously recognized. The consistent application of this process will help you FETCH more lifelong consumers for your business, and all of it starts with the technician simply paying attention during a routine service call.