Dealing With the Size of Your Contracting Firm

Just a few thoughts on company size, customer service, etc., that Mike Murphy's opinion piece ("Small Company, Big Company, ... Good Company?" April 17) brought to mind:

1. One mark of a company that has become "too big" is whether the customer is recognized as an individual by the service dispatcher when they call, or whether they are simply a number (which is inevitable at some organizational size, regardless of how nice or well trained your dispatcher(s) may be).

2. One mark of whether a company is "too small" is whether it has enough personnel to juggle as needed to handle true emergencies.

3. Regardless of company size, are the owners directly involved in running work for at least some accounts? Or are they insulated by layers of other people who are supposed to be responsible? Insulated owners inevitably are offended when told that they are out of touch with their own organization.

4. Again, regardless of size, turnover is a killer (both in the office and in the field). Until a person is in place for a while, they don't feel confident that their understanding of "the rules" is good enough for them to make decisions without authorization from above, and that paralysis kills both productivity and customer service. Every company has a company culture, and it takes new people a while to learn it and become comfortable with their level of authority.

Keep up the good work.

Mike Gallagher
Owner, Service Dept. Manager, Western Allied Corp.
Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

The Incentives Behind Training

I enjoyed reading Mike Murphy's column, "Training - (The Subliminal Message)." As a member of the HVAC Learning Solutions team, I couldn't agree more with your point of view. Just as an addition to your article, the bigger challenge with training is creating positive behavioral change. All the skills and knowledge taught means nothing without the right attitude and habit formed behind it. Probably the biggest influencer of habit and attitude is money. OK, let's call them incentives. And it comes back to the question, is the price right to afford to incent the behavior change? In most cases, probably not. And it all circles back to leadership, execution, and accountability.

Lori Boyce
Regional Trainer, Lennox Industries, HVAC Learning Solutions
Morgantown, W.V.

Come Together, Right Now

I just read Mike Murphy's editorial on the great divide ["An Industry's Great Divide," June 5.] Wow, and I thought it was only me. Think, if as an industry we really promoted what we do, do you think we would have to concern ourselves with refrigerant reclamation, 13 SEER, and other government regulations? This [a unified industry body] is long overdue. Someone else once likened it to the California Raisins. How about "Got Comfort!" or "Get Comfortable!" [as slogans for an industry campaign].

I would strongly urge our leading industry associations to lead this effort. ACCA, ARI, ASHRAE, HARDI, PHCC, RSES, SMACNA, and even HRAI with NATE should form the CIA (Comfort Industry Association). How about "Making the World a More Comfortable Place - Through HVACR." What a great mutual effort for our industry to join forces.

Richard N. Foster Jr.
President, ZoneFirst
Elmwood Park, N.J.

Good for You!

I just received the note aboutThe NEWSbeing ranked in BtoB's top 100 trade publications. Congratulations on this well-deserved award. Though I'm no longer directly involved in Parker's climate business, I still readThe NEWSas often as I can. Air conditioning and refrigeration continue to be strategic and growing businesses in Parker's $9 billion global motion and control portfolio.The NEWSalways has the latest industry info, and 99.9 percent of the time it gets the story right.

Keep up the good work!

James R. Jaye
Manager, Business & Financial Communication, Parker Hannifin Corp.

Publication date: 06/19/2006