Dealing Well With Units and Customers

Joanna Turpin’s column “What to Do With Nutty Customers” [Sept. 28, 2009] does bring back some not so fond memories during my tenure as a technician in the industry. We (the company) had one [customer] that swore she couldn’t breathe well when the system came on. Taking this very seriously, the first technician thoroughly checked the new furnace, including a new combustion efficiency test, checked the gas pressure, safeties, air distribution system, you name it, and could find nothing wrong. Having worked at the customer’s house before, he told her he had adjusted the O2 sensors (no such thing) and it should be fine now. Of course she took some deep breaths and assured the technician she could indeed breathe better now.

Two days later, same call. Next technician repeats what the first did and then called the first technician. The first told the second what he did, and the second was even more clever. He went to his truck, got a swab from his first-aid kit and an empty bottle, and informed the customer that he was taking a sample and having it sent off to a lab for testing overnight, and we should have the results back the next day.

He called the customer back the next day and informed her that the lab results came back and stated that the furnace was running exceptionally and that it was extremely safe to operate. This satisfied the customer’s fears, and we never got the complaint again. Of course there were no lab results, so thankfully she did not demand a copy of the results.

Honestly, though, the nutty ones are few and far between those with legitimate problems. Too often many in the industry jump to conclusions and don’t go into the call with the mindset that the customer has a problem, and I am going to find it.

Most companies can fix the boxes, that is what we are trained to do (or should be) but fewer know how to fix customers. Once you find field people that can do the latter very well, they are often more valuable than one that can do the former. One that can do both is extremely valuable and is assured of a place in the industry forever.

Paul Margwarth
Okmulgee, Okla.

Raise Your Standards

I am an HVAC business owner. I am appalled and disgusted by a recent “cartoon” in your newsmagazine. I expect an apology. A public apology is in order.

Your newsmagazine dated Aug. 31, 2009 has a cartoon by Jake Rohdy that is sexist, perverse, and disrespectful to professional HVAC contracting companies such as ours.

I sincerely regret that your people, as influencers in the HVAC industry, would perpetuate this type of unprofessionalism and blatant sexual exploitation which denigrates and demeans women. It is off-color at best and highly offensive at the worst. In a field that has become highly technical, highly competitive and professional, your offensive, sexist “cartoons” are out of place.

It’s time for you to raise your standards.

Robin Bloomquist
Arise Air
Cedar Park, Texas

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Publication date:11/09/2009