The Thanksgiving season is not too far away, and I have been giving it some thought. This is going to be a very unique year when it comes to giving thanks. Of course, it has been a very unique year in many ways.
Some people who you talk to, through masks and at a social distance, are quick to say that they will be thankful when 2020 is over. In fact, there are probably many that fit that category. However, I am writing in the HVAC industry, and I believe we need to take a look at the big picture and offer some thoughts to those among us who feel that 2021 cannot come soon enough.
So where do we start giving thanks? I believe the first is that regardless of your political feelings on the issue, we can be thankful that the COVD-19 virus has not, in itself, caused a massive percentage of our population to lose their lives. Remember when the initial reports came out, that was a concern. That’s certainly a spot to begin being thankful.
What about the HVAC business this year? For most everyone in the industry, the situation has resulted in us having better than expected results in 2020. For reasons frequently discussed on the pages of this magazine, the need for conditioned homes has been greater than ever. We can be very thankful that we are in an industry which not only was not negatively affected by the pandemic, but in many cases was strengthened because of a greater need for our services.
I personally am not offering apologies to anyone that HVAC is having a good year. Those who’ve been in the business a few years will remember the period from 2007-2012, when we suffered through some extremely difficult times. As with many things, cycles change, and now it has been a chance for us to enjoy some success.
Let’s take the thank yous down the chain. Did you have to work your people extra hard this summer to keep up with the unexpected demand? Now would be a good time to find a way to express your thanks to them for helping you make it through these times. I know some folks out there will say, “Our guys have work, and they’re getting paid — and in many cases, overtime pay — so they should be happy.” That is a short-sighted approach. Thank your employees for the time they were away from their families to make an installation or perform an extra service call. You’ll find going out of your way like that will repay itself many times over.
What about your vendors and suppliers? We have all heard about and experienced shortages on many types of common equipment and products this summer. Has your supplier done everything possible to find ways to take care of your needs? I believe most are not getting many compliments right now, and I urge you to consider thanking them for making an extra effort on your behalf.
Let’s not forget the most important piece in our puzzle — our customers. Many, if not most, have been going through turbulent times in their personal lives, and yet they remembered to contact you to help them through whatever crises they were experiencing. How you go about thanking them may be difficult, but I have found that no one is ever upset about receiving a sincere thank you note. Now, note that I said sincere. That doesn’t mean a thank you followed by an attempt to sell them something else. I’m suggesting a genuine thank you, which really means that you appreciate the business they have given you.
Our entire population has been affected by the issues of this year. Perhaps a few kind words from you will help a few people feel a little better about themselves and the world they are living in. A simple “thank you” is a good start.