It’s easy in the HVACR business to get caught up in and maybe even a little overwhelmed by all the technology and regulations and rapid-fire changes — especially in the refrigeration sector. It’s important, however, not to let all the pandemonium make you lose sight of the human side of the business.

I was reminded of this by recent conversations I had with individuals who represent two important types of clients for refrigeration contractors: restaurant owners and hospital administrators. Both gentlemen were at least vaguely aware of some of the challenges their refrigeration contractors face (although they certainly weren’t aware of the one-two EPA-DOE punch that is in the process of being delivered to the refrigerants industry), but the fact is they face their own challenges. The restaurant business is notoriously tough, and hospital administrators face literal life-or-death decisions going on under their roofs every day.

The common theme in the conversations was that when these businesses have a refrigeration or HVAC need, they need help right away. They may be aware of and even sympathetic to the challenges that their refrigeration or HVAC contractors are facing, but their businesses understandably come first.

These individuals are not unreasonable. They both talked about how valuable their refrigeration contractors are to them, and they both stressed how much they appreciate their contractors’ efforts in the clutch. But they both also mentioned that it would be nice to feel as if they had more of a partnership with their contractors than just a business relationship. These are human beings in stressful professions, and sometimes they can rest just a little better at night knowing that they can call and rely on “Joe and his team” rather than a faceless refrigeration company whose number they dial only when under duress.  

Everyone appreciates working with an efficient, competent, well-run business — but to some extent everyone also (rightfully) expects that. Go beyond the business side to the human side. Take a look at your clients and see which ones might have the need for a little bit more of a human touch. Contact them not only when they need something, but also when they don’t. Check in and make sure all is well. Ask them what other services they would like from you.

Running a good business that other businesses can count on is great. Being a friend and partner who runs a good business is even better. Technology and regulations may grab the headlines, but don’t let those headlines blind you to the fact that this is still a people business.