Try to Catch a Break on IAQ Products

[Editor's note: This letter is in response to Mike Murphy's editorial "IAQ - An Unfulfilled Dream," July 31.]

Your point is well made and correct. Growing sales of IAQ products in retail and the high level of innovation are proof of consumer demand, so why the continued focus on ‘heaters and coolers' in the contractor channel? The answer probably lies with the equipment OEMs, not the contractors.

In a given year, if dealer A increases his purchases of UVC lamps, humidifiers, and air cleaners by 100 units, while dealer B increases his purchases of furnaces, a/c systems, and/or heat pumps by the same amount with the same wholesaler, it is much more likely the latter will get noticed and have more leverage to negotiate a better discount. In turn, the wholesaler can take that added volume to his OEM supplier to secure a lower price from which he benefits across all his dealers.

Just like GM would rather sell you an Escalade than a Chevy Malibu, the big equipment OEMs get a much quicker return on investment by encouraging a wholesaler to buy 100 more high-efficiency furnaces rather than 100 more humidifiers. This is further reinforced by the OEM sales force compensation plans, which are naturally aligned with this objective so down the line it goes all the way to the contractor.

Peter VanderPlaat BSc, MBA
Desert Spring Products
Mississauga, Ontario

Load Calcs in Practice

[Editor's note: This letter is in response to Barb Checket-Hanks' article "Engineers Get an Earful on Load Calculations," Aug. 7.]

Good job on the loads article. I can tell you that virtually no municipality in my four state region has a requirement for load calculations. If they did, they wouldn't be able to enforce it because they don't understand it. That lacking comes from low wages that don't attract the best candidates, and unqualified people getting the job through political connections. Hey, it's the East Coast, what can I say.

In the end, the load calculations wouldn't do much good if the air distribution system didn't get the right air into the right room; so an air balancing report would be needed in addition to a load calculation. I like the idea, but it would be objected to because of the roughly $500 cost, and it would only work for a new house or addition requiring a full system. In a retrofit, the air balancing report would be unfair because of the pre-existing situation.

It's been nice to see some serious articles.

Ted Boyle, Senior Territory Manager
York Air Conditioning, A Johnson Controls Company
Elkton, Md.

Make a Customer a Lifelong Customer

I read Mike Murphy's recent opinion column, "Customer Service: The Bad Mistake" [Sept. 4, 2006] with great interest, especially as it aligns with my customer service industry focus. The anecdotes in the column are well written.

It is a given that mistakes will arise due to the human factors involved in doing technical work. But what most companies fail to get is the opportunity that surfaces when problems arise. The data to support the "problems are opportunities" strategy goes back to the early 1980s in a study that was published by the Technical Assistance Research Programs Institute (TARP). The TARP report surfaced a completely new approach for corporate America to think about consumer complaints.

The TARP report noted that when major complaints - i.e., over $100 loss - were resolved quickly to a customer's satisfaction, 82 percent of the complainants reported that they would maintain brand loyalty. Among those whose complaints were not satisfactorily resolved, 19 percent indicated they would make a future purchase. But, only 9 percent of those who did not complain at all said they would repurchase.

If you could reach out and contact the noncomplainers, with the 9 percent retention rate, you could more than double the retention rate to 19 percent. And all it takes is a phone call. As in most everything else, followup is a key factor for business success.

Keep up the good work!

Steve Coscia, President
Coscia Communications
Havertown, Pa.

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Publication date: 09/25/2006