Even in the Efficiency World, Quality is NOT Unidimensional

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Quality = Energy Savings. Or, more refined, Quality = Energy Savings v. Savings Prediction. So proclaim the efficiency elite.

Now you won’t find me arguing against either energy savings, or savings delivered v. savings predicted as very important elements of quality. But they are not the only ones. Too often, we energy nerds ignore other important measures, including those that our customers and potential customers care about.

Consumer Reports listed a few of these in a 2012 article:

  • “Failing to show up was the top complaint.” I’ll add into that broad category, failure to get back to the customer with audit reports and proposals in a timely manner. Three weeks isn’t timely. Two weeks isn’t timely, either.
  • Not taking the time needed to do the job right. Hey, that does relate to energy savings. But it also relates to comfort, plumbing condensate lines properly, making sure the right amount of air is delivered to rooms, and much much more.
  • Not listening to the customer or trying to understand their questions or concerns. This doesn’t just impact satisfaction, it decimates sales.
  • Leaving a mess. That’s dirt or dog poop from your shoes left on the floor. Cellulose in the bushes. Fiberglass on the floor under the attic hatch. Old fittings lying about. Even messy caulk around the window.

Add to that promises about rebates not being delivered on, scary appearance and behavior, disappearing in the middle of a project without explanation, whether for hours, days or weeks, and it’s no wonder than homeowners often don’t relish dealing with contractors.

You’ve got to overcome this. If you ignore the basics, you’re annoying your customers, and your business will suffer as a result. It’s much more difficult to save energy when you don’t get invited to houses or when leads don’t turn into sales.

Yes, quality matters. It’s critical. It’s just not limited to energy savings.

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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+

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