SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Six hundred of the Trane Company’s elite Comfort Specialist dealers recently gathered here at the downtown Hilton hotel to attend the manufacturer’s fourth national dealer conference.

Unlike other HVAC industry dealer gatherings, this conference did not focus on product training or technical support issues. Instead, the meeting was designed to aid Trane Comfort Specialist dealers in their mission to do everything possible to better serve the diverse needs of their prospective customers. The theme of the meeting was “Live the Commitment.”


Dave Pannier and Dale Green, Trane Unitary Group Business Leaders, opened the seminar with brief speeches summarizing sales and market share accomplishments for 2002. Pannier and Green also congratulated the dealers for significant sales and market share gains in a year filled with adversity.

Pannier emphasized core values during a year filled with ethical scandals across corporate America, emphasizing the importance of “an ethical business structure in a relationship business with an overall guiding mandate to do what’s right to serve the needs of the customer.”

Keynote speaker Joel Weldon told the audience about a chance meeting he had years ago with a Memphis, TN, cab driver by the name of Willie Cooley. He told the dealers how Cooley had elevated his chosen profession to a new level by providing his customers with exceptional service and support. Weldon urged the Trane Comfort Specialist dealers to “use the Willie factor” and emulate the exceptional professionalism Cooley brought to his career in their day-to-day business activities, creating additional sales by treating customers right.

Breakout seminars were directed to help the dealers become better leaders, become better organized, and ensure customer satisfaction. Again, the emphasis was on helping Trane dealers improve and enhance their customer handling skills and business management savvy.


Green challenged every dealer to “deliver the highest possible customer satisfaction with every customer interaction.” He raised the bar in this regard by mandating a minimum 85% customer satisfaction rating for a dealer to maintain their elite Comfort Specialist standing. Attaining ratings at this level of the marketplace demands that each dealer “be accountable by virtue of their attitude and take action with any customer concern noted,” according to Green.

Green further shared with the dealers that in the past four years, the company has mailed out over 1 million customer satisfaction surveys and processed over 221,000 responses with approximately 8,500 requests being handled weekly.

The importance of customer satisfaction as a referral source to create new business will soon be promoted via the announcement of a new direct mail initiative starting spring of 2003. The program will solicit new business from the nearby neighbors of customers who have recently had a new Trane system installed by a Trane Comfort Specialist dealer.

Publication date: 12/09/2002