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: Are HVAC field personnel aware of key customer relations/system assessment behavior areas?

A: How hard has this season been for you and your staff? Have you won the accounts you thought you would? The season is such a rush, it’s often hard to remember that the customer doesn’t know what your day or week has been like before you stopped at their house. In fact, they don’t care.

Your customers simply want a company that's ready, willing, and able to provide professional and dependable HVAC service.

But are you doing all you can upfront to ensure that you and your team are providing solutions? Here are the "Top 10 Customer Relations Dos and Don'ts" others were guilty of last season. How do you and your team stack up?

These responses were given to us by homeowners who bought all or a significant part of a central comfort system. Simply reminding your employees of the importance of their presence can do much to close more sales and keep more customers. (On average last season, each contractor lost one in 10 customers after completing the system installation.)

10) Conducted themselves in a courteous, professional manner: 27% did not

9) Were neat in appearance: 36% were not.

8) Had a professional demeanor that made me feel I would get a quality installation: 41% did not

7) Had appropriate signage on their vehicle: 46% did not.

6) Displayed a professional presence that calmed my fears about letting a stranger into my house: 53% did not

5) Had appropriate signage on their uniform: 57% did not.

4) Presented a business card: 62% did not.

3) Stood back from the door upon greeting me until I felt comfortable with them: 74% did not.

2) Focused more on the task at hand rather than discuss my home comfort needs with me: 77% did.

1) Asked about members of the home with asthma, allergies, and other indoor air quality challenges, such as smokers and pets: 82% did not.

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 guptom@decisionanalyst.com.