How to Introduce Indoor Air Quality to Your Customers
Many HVAC companies offer maintenance programs in which HVAC technicians visit their customers’ homes before the summer and winter months to make sure systems are working properly. With these programs, technicians will also change their customers’ filters, check their furnaces and possibly perform some light cleaning.
Technicians have an opportunity to talk to their customers about air quality as they’re already in the house working with the homeowner. Because of this, they’re often the first to identify significant air quality issues as well.
With a little training, HVAC technicians can recommend the best air purification solution to their customers. And helping customers improve their indoor air quality doesn’t have to put technicians in an awkward or forced sales presentation.
So, how can you start the indoor air quality conversation with your customers?
Communication is Key
First and foremost, technicians need to ensure that homeowners feel comfortable talking about their potential problems. Hopefully, there is already some rapport between techs and their customers with room to build upon that earned trust.
But most homeowners are not thinking about indoor air quality; therefore asking the right questions is often the way to introduce conversations surrounding air quality. In the same way that technicians ask questions about heating, ventilation and cooling, they should also inquire about air quality on every maintenance visit.
Ask general, open-ended questions such as:
- “Are you or your family experiencing any issues with your air or breathing?”
- “Do you know whether anyone is suffering from allergies from pets, surface mold or other allergens?”
- “What have you heard about air purification?”
- “Have you taken any steps to improve your indoor air quality?”
Homeowners may know what they’re allergic to, but they also just may be experiencing congestion, trouble breathing or sleeping without understanding why. In humid climates especially, a moldy air conditioner pumps out air that’s not fresh nor is it healthy. Many homeowners know that they’re using a HEPA filter, but may not understand that there are many contaminants still harming their breathing.
During such discussions, you can offer indoor air quality (IAQ) test kits to help customers know what they’re breathing in. IAQ test kits come with a petri dish that homeowners leave out for several days. It will collect any mold, bacteria and other contaminants in their air, showing clients what their air quality is truly like. If a customer is interested, you can leave a kit and air purification brochure to give them an opportunity to learn about their air quality, and solutions to clean it.
Implement Training and Incentivization Techniques
In order to get technicians comfortable enough to share IAQ information with customers without confusing them (or even themselves), it’s important to provide sound education. Spend time training technicians on air purification technology and solutions. Even more, strongly consider conducting training groups that leverage actual practice.
It helps to have an IAQ partner that offers training resources and information such as instructional installation videos and brochures. These resources will help techs learn more effectively and better communicate that knowledge to homeowners
It might feel awkward at first, but role playing with technicians through various scenarios can be extremely effective. This hands-on practice will help them handle different questions and lines of discussion. And it will boost their confidence and comfort when they face the same discussion points with real customers.
No training is completely effective without reinforcement, however. And that starts before the training begins. The most successful contractors truly create an IAQ practice within their overall business through incentives. You have to change technicians’ expectations, rewarding and recognizing techs for their effort and ability to discuss air purification with customer. Recognition and compensation inspires people get out of their comfort zone and to solve health and comfort-related air quality issues.
As we’ve discussed previously, there are many different air purification technologies. So staying current with the latest products and technologies is as important as the initial training itself.
Whether they know it or not, field techs own the powerful tool of intimate product knowledge – and it gives them credibility. Knowledge on the inner workings and science behind air purifiers can spark great interest from homeowners, and many customers will become excited to improve their indoor air quality.
“42.6 million Americans suffer from hay fever and/or asthma, and 87% of American homeowners are unaware that pollution may be worse inside their homes than outdoors.” Information such as this can turn a passive conversation into a truly dynamic discussion. And because technicians aren’t experts, they must be armed with helpful follow-up information, whether brochures, tech data sheets or white papers from credible manufacturers.
Stronger Relationships, Healthier Air Quality
The topic of air quality and purification shouldn’t be a sales pitch for a quick upsell. IAQ should be a conversation with homeowners about the potential risks of indoor air pollution.
People are not used to empathic technicians who are adept at communicating. When customers feel at ease with a service tech, they’re more inclined to share more about their families. It should be easy to exceed customers’ expectations and provide them with a positive experience.
Teaching technicians to communicate can not only result in more purifier installations, but referrals too. Helpful, informative experiences are memorable, something customers are more inclined to share with their friends. With the right information and the right approach, you can build stronger relationships and be an even greater resource to homeowners.
Want to learn more about indoor air pollution? Click below to download our infographic and learn eye-opening stats about indoor air quality.