DIY HVAC Clients, A Recipe for Disaster

Nowadays, many consumers who are on a tight budget, are trying to fix or install parts that should be handled by HVAC, electrical or plumbing contractors. For the past few months, I’ve been hearing several horror stories involving DIY HVAC clients who, while trying to save some money, attempt to make repairs on their own.

The “Do It Yourself” Movement

As a matter of fact, Home Depot and Lowe’s aggressively advertise the “Do It Yourself” notion, which has helped it establish a stronghold in the consumers’ collective minds.

Recently, an HVAC company received a call from a frustrated client who complained about an AC unit that didn’t work. When the technician went on site and examined the equipment, he discovered that the customer had tampered with the machine, causing damage. When he asked about what had happened, the customer pretended to know nothing and provided only vague answers. It took more than 15 minutes of Q&A for the client to admit that he had tried to repair the unit himself.

Avoid The “Blame Game”

When professionals come across the “DIY” client they should keep the “Blame Factor” as low as possible. This means that if the technician is sure that the customer is responsible for the damage, avoid making things worse by blaming them.
It’s hard enough for customers that their good intentions had such destructive results. A good trader will take advantage of such situations, making sure that the customer feels better, thereby increasing the chances of doing business with them in the future.

Making Customers Feel Better

A good way of improving a customer’s mood is to compliment them. You don’t have to exaggerate. For example, you could say “You’re far more advanced than any customer I’ve seen handling a project as this. Sadly, most won’t call me before damaging their hardware irreversibly, but you certainly did things right when you called.”
As far as compliments are concerned, there aren’t any people who don’t like them. Don’t overdo it; be straightforward, concise and subtle instead. Then, proceed with the business at hand…

Look Ahead, Not Behind

Service professionals who become masters at keeping the blame game as low as possible, are more likely to succeed in persuading customers about the advantages of professionally conducted scheduled maintenance, which will keep their systems running fast and keep them from failing.
Technicians should avoid excessive use of technical jargon when stressing the advantages. Keeping a balance between knowledge and empathy while explaining, is a winning recipe. When clients interact with an empathetic technician, they tend to invest in long-term business relationships much easier. Customers couldn’t care less about how much you know, until you show them how much you care.

Times are tough for professionals, so keep the blame game low, even when customers really screw up. Customers are always right, don’t forget that. Keeping your staff up to date with this information will make your company stand out from the competition.

I hope this helped you learn how to help put out the fires of the DIY clients in your life.  Do you have an tricks or tips on what to say and do when you are faced with a client that wants to fix it himself?  Any horror stories of when a homeowner really made a mess of his system?  Let us know in the comments.