The Customer in the Equation
Either scenario could be more likely now that the minimum efficiency of unitary systems produced in the United States is 13 SEER.
What you want to do is use the experience to gain your customer's trust; become an adviser. And one of the best ways to do that is by educating the customer.
Consumer EducationFirst of all, have plenty of handout materials that explain the 13 SEER minimum efficiency and the date it went into effect. Make sure that all employees who interact with customers, whether in person or on the phone, have access to this material.
During a heat wave, it's hard to find time to sit down with customers. That's why it's so important to have printed materials to leave at the house. You may want to have temporary cooling equipment available for rental while the customer decides what to do, repair or replace.
Make sure your invoice indicates that the customer requires a follow-up call.
Presenting the OptionsWhen you present the options of repairing vs. replacing the old equipment, don't assume that the customer wants the lowest cost option. When presented with all the facts, the customer may in fact choose a higher cost option if they see the benefits.
Remember the customer worksheet we discussed last month? Its use will help customers reach their best financial decision by weighing the variables. Again, let them fill out some of the information, while you fill in the rest (i.e., estimate, accommodation, and labor information):
Age of the system: _____
Frequency of past maintenance: _____
Potential repair: _____
Estimate for repair: _____
Location of indoor coil: _____
Planning to move in near future: _____
Monthly utility bill: _____
Your salesperson can then sit down with the customer to discuss their options. When the customer fills out the worksheet, it gives him or her a sense of control. It also shows them that there may be definite benefits to replacing their old system instead of repairing it, based on these variables.
In short, you want to present the facts, give them the information they need to make the decision, and gain their trust by helping them make the best decision for themselves. You will be an advisor.
Of course, you can still install lower-efficiency unitary products if you can get them. However, due to last year's hurricane repair efforts, stocks of those products may be hard to come by. Your customers need to realize this, and know that it's a problem that affects your competitors, too.
Finally, make sure you are prepared to discuss financing, as you would in any replacement scenario.
For more information, click on the Emerson Climate Technologies logo above.