I am one of the millions of Americans who is spoiled by today’s high-tech gadgetry. But don’t mistake me for a techie. I am anything but. I don’t read any magazines on the latest electronic and wireless technology, nor do I have any close friends or family who bend my ear on the latest technology. I just know that I am spoiled.

I was on a trip recently and rented a car through my usual company - who shall remain nameless - and was disappointed with the car they reserved for me. It was barely bigger than the old ’64 VW bug that I once owned and had only a couple more conveniences. When I drove up to the security post at the rental car exit, I tried to find the switch to lower the window. There was none. But there was a hand crank.

A hand crank? What was up with that? Upon further investigation, I discovered that all of the door locks were push button and in order to lock my door, I actually had to use my key. Give me a break. I felt like the cave man in the Geico commercial: so simple to operate that even aNEWSbusiness editor could do it.

After venting my disgust I had to laugh. I really am spoiled. A bigger car would have helped, too.


Now imagine the same reaction that some of your customers would have if you replaced their programmable thermostat with the good, old one-function circular model that they grew up with. They probably wouldn’t be too happy. And then suggest that they go back to the old five-headed furnace monstrosity that relied on gravity to send heat throughout their old house. Your customer would probably send for the men in white suits to take you away.

The point is your customers should be spoiled with all of the bells and whistles associated with today’s HVAC equipment. They should expect the very best in home comfort and safety because you only sell the latest and greatest technology.

I am amazed at the leaps and bounds our trade has taken in the last decade in the areas of controls, zoning, IAQ, and high efficiency, just to name a few things. Our trade has not stood still and watched the world pass us by. But watch reports of lowball contractors who operate with little or no training or licensing/certification; and witness the declining number of people getting into the HVAC trade, and you would think that we are still frozen in the ice age. It’s no wonder our trade gets such a bad rap in the general media and among high school educators.

We can all complain until we are blue in the face, but maybe it’s time to turn our energies into saying how much we spoil our customers.


We all know that the best advertising is word-of-mouth. Happy customers make the best spokespeople for your business. A customer who is satisfied with good service will likely refer you to someone else if asked. That’s great. But you can do better.

I am willing to bet that a customer who is spoiled with high-tech HVAC gadgetry will talk about it without being asked. That’s because so much of our new technology is amazing. Being able to program the temperature and humidity settings for individual zones in each home from a remote location have always been a cool bell and whistle to me. Being able to monitor particulate levels in the air that could affect the health of the home’s occupants is very cool, especially when a parent is talking about the health concerns for a child.

And what about the customers who are impressed that you or your tech took the time to listen to their concerns and then explained just how their problems would be fixed? The old-fashioned way was to repair or replace the equipment. The new way is to offer whole-house solutions in order to provide the most comfortable and safest indoor environment. That’s called fixing the customer. And that is the ultimate way to spoil them.

In my example, a different rental car with automatic window controls and automatic door locks may have corrected the problem but I would have been happier with a bigger, more comfortable car. And if the truth be known, I am happy being a little spoiled.

Just think how happy your customers are being really spoiled.

Publication date:07/09/2007