Over the course of 2009, 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 Is your research finding more proof of the value of service agreements to an HVAC contractor?

A In this issue there is an article written by HVAC contractor Robert Wilkos and myself, covering the value of service agreements (SAs). This space expands on that article.

Service agreement customers are not sure what they've bought until your technician completes their first service agreement audit. Based on that first session, will your customer believe the following statements?

  1. SA-oriented technicians are the “new guys” at the company who are in training.

  2. SA technicians are non-communicative — just check the system and leave a 14-point check sheet.

  3. SA technicians are too sales oriented.

  4. SA technicians are just there to find something to fix that may not require fixing.

  5. SA technicians are your company's systems experts and home comfort consultants.

Take a good look at your technicians. Have they been trained to “consult” with the homeowner? Do you have idea boards that contain the various ideas they can discuss with homeowners? Do you have observation/feedback forms for them to complete and return to your office, forms that are added to your customer's home “biography”? Until your service agreement-oriented technician becomes a vital element in your consultation efforts with your homeowners, you won't be contractor helping improve your customer's home comfort the way you should. Once technicians become a part of the process, you can help (sell) even to those homeowners who are “very much satisfied” with their central heating and/or cooling systems.

Garry Upton, of Decision Analyst, Inc., based in Arlington, TX shares his interpretations of its 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 gupton@decisionanalyst.com.

Most desired home comfort improvements from those home-owners who are “very satisfied” with their central HVAC systems include:

  • Better humidity control: 15%

  • Reduced noise: 17%

  • Improved airflow: 14%

  • Improved temperature control: 13%

  • Improved air quality: 24%

  • More even temperatures: 29%

  • Greater energy efficiency: 43%

Source: Decision Analyst, Inc.