October 22, 2014

Is it the AC or is it the house?

Once the whole system checks out, where do you look next? Jose De La Portilla, Senior Technical Training Consultant of HVAC Learning Solutions tells you what to look for, beyond the usual, to answer this common complaint from customers.

October 16, 2014

How to handle new management

shutterstock_145613917From time to time, a company will experience a shift in management or leadership. Whether that be due to growth,retirement, or — in many cases in the HVAC industry — the succession of leadership from one family member to the other, taking on a new leader can lend itself to challenges for both employees and senior management alike.

Here are three basic, but sometimes overlooked, tips for handling a new manager.

  1. Give them the opportunity to learn. A leader still needs the chance to learn the ropes, even if they are promoted internally. By giving them the chance to learn the new position and helping them along the way, it sets the example of cohesive synergy across the company.
  2. Give them feedback. New leaders are going to make mistakes, so it’s important that you be there to give them constructive and helpful feedback to help them succeed. Just stick to the golden rule — treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
  3. Set them up for success. New leaders may not have worked all the jobs that they will be overseeing, so take time to schedule a one-on-one with the new leader and give them a basic overview of what you do, what your job entails, the schedule you work, how you learn, and how you best communicate.

I give daily advice for HVAC dealers, technicians and comfort advisors on my Facebook, Twitter, and Google + channels. Join the conversation today!

October 14, 2014

Do you know the history of the industry?

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In order to know where you’re going, it’s important to know where you came from.

From the first use of the phrase “air conditioner” to the creation of the modern technical terms we use daily, the history of HVAC is beyond interesting, and vital to the future of the industry.

Here are a few key HVAC terms and the fascinating history behind their name.

  • Amp – An amp, or ampere, is a reference to electron flow or measurement of electric current. It is named after Frenchman André-Marie Ampère who discovered the amp, or the relationship between voltage and how many electrons would flow past a given point at a given time.  Fun fact: 1 amp of current is equal to 16.2 quintillion electrons in a second.
  • Hermetic compressor – Abbreviated as “HERM” in the HVAC industry, the phrase “hermetic” actually refers to Homer’s The Odyssey. In the story, Odysseus is traveling to get home to his family and the Greek gods send Hermes to protect him. Hermes then encapsulated Odysseus in a special incantation to prevent weapons from the outside world of hitting him. With the hermetic compressor, we are paying tribute to Homer’s The Odyssey because the units are hermetically sealed, meaning nothing can get in them.
  • Volt – The volt, which refers to the electrical flow of energy (or EMF, electro motive force), was named out of respect for the creator of the battery, Alessandro Volta.
  • Air conditioning – The original patent for what we now know as an air conditioner was originally called “an apparatus for the conditioning and treatment of air.” Then a cotton farmer by the name of Stuart W. Cramer, while at a big agricultural convention, stood up and said, “If only there was a way to air condition our warehouses, our cotton would last longer.” This was the first reference to the phrase “air conditioning.”
  • Ohm – The word ohm is named after German scientist Georg Simon Ohm, who discovered the relationship of different materials and their ability to resist electron flow. Fun fact: Without Ohm, we wouldn’t have been able to create electronics, since we wouldn’t know whether an element was an insulator or conductor of energy. 

D.W. Norris, who purchased Lennox Industries from Dave Lennox in 1904, once said, “Build the best product to get me the best salesmen. The best salesmen will get me the best dealer. And the best dealer will give me the most business.”

Keep the history of the industry alive in your dealership and educate your comfort advisors and technicians on stories behind the products, technical terms, and industry we love so dearly.

For more lessons on the HVAC industry and technical training, check out my videos on YouTube at www.youtube.com/HVACLearning.

October 9, 2014

Using Technology to be More Effective

shutterstock_51955312Staying on top of technological advancements is a big part of our profession. HVACLS offers a number of tools that can help make your job so much easier. Here’s a breakdown of what’s available.

Tools for the job.

DaveNet® No Boundaries is an invaluable resource, and when they say “No Boundaries,” they mean it. You can check availability of parts, warranty coverage, current pricing, and reference documents from any device. This means you don’t have to call in or carry a laptop or manual with you—all the answers you need are right in the palm of your hand.

Tools for the office.

HVAC Learning Solutions has a few tools designed with your success in mind. There’s a resource for any job and any level of experience, from our Virtual Build-a-Tech® program, which lets you train and improve your skills online while still working in the field, to our Sales Lead Tracking Tool, which helps you run your business in one comprehensive sales tracking system.

Tools to use with clients.

Get visual. Infographics turn data into visual aids designed to help you educate your customers. You can use infographics, illustrations, and photos to offer another way to help put your customer’s needs into the proper context. They might not know the technical terms, but if you are showing them a step-by-step procedure as you explain what they need, they are more likely to understand the process and appreciate you more.

Using technology in a positive, efficient, and productive way is almost second nature to our business. With just a click, you too can be a more effective technician.

To check out more of the courses, tools, and resources offered by HVAC Learning Solutions and DaveNet® No Boundaries, visit us online at www.hvacls.com.

 

October 7, 2014

Why Excellent Customer Service is a Must

shutterstock_65825875Customers are our lifeblood, and customer service is the heart of our business. With top-notch customer service skills, your employees can set themselves and your company apart from the competition in a way that cannot be topped.

So while there are “born salesmen,” those skills need to continually be developed. And for those who were not born salesmen? Well, they need the structured training of experienced HVAC experts. HVAC Learning Solutions has comprehensive sales training for every level of expertise.

So why is excellent customer service a must? Here are three reasons you might not expect.

1.You are more than a technician. When you go to someone’s home, discuss the products and recommend services, lay out a service agreement, answer all questions and concerns, and accept their signature on the bottom line, you aren’t just representing the company—you are the company.

2. Let customer service define you. When you have several businesses that are similar and service the same area, you really want to emphasize the things that set you apart from the competition. A strong focus on customer service is a positive way to define who you are and how you are different in the local market.

3. Quality customer service pays off over time. It costs more money to get a customer than to keep a customer. With every new customer you have, you have an opportunity to create a long-term relationship that will keep revenue coming into your business in the form of repeat clients and referrals.

At HVAC Learning Solutions, we have the classes to teach you the proper skills to excel in all areas of customer service. Comprehensive sales training will not only bring you better employees, it will give you happy long-term customers too.

For more tips on customer service and how to improve your company’s customer service skills, follow me on Twitter @HVACLearningSolutions.

  • Meet Mike Moore

    Mike Moore isn't just an HVAC expert;
    he also knows a thing or two about
    HVAC employee training. As one of
    HVAC Learning Solutions founders
    and Director of Training, his biggest
    goal is to help HVAC leaders and
    technicians grow their business
    and build lasting skills. This
    University of Kansas grad has
    a contagious personality, a lot
    of knowledge, and a knack for
    providing HVAC training
    and development.