Everywhere you look these days the news is grim. Is anyone else as fed up with the COVID Pandemic reporting as me? As a member of the media, I cannot begin to tell you how tired I am of the sensationalist and irresponsible reporting I see on national television, in our newspapers, and especially via social media outlets.
Be that as it may, I have no doubt that this pandemic has changed our world and will leave its impact for a long time to come. It has changed the social discourse and created a fear ethos that impacts the service trades as a direct result.
But the good news is, at least in the HVAC Industry, we are fleet-footed and adaptable, and can quickly find ways to accommodate these changes for the betterment of our customers and our businesses.
History of Rolling With the Punches
Frankly, we have a history of this. Examples include finding alternative refrigerants in response to ozone depletion and global warming, overcoming oil market and housing crashes, and dealing with the after-effects of the 911 terrorist attacks.
Why should a pandemic be any different?
Despite the fear being caused by so much over-reporting of pseudo-facts, this industry immediately began finding ways to ensure consumer safety and at the same time, their comfort.
It’s simply amazing how quickly the concepts of virtual service, sales, and the technology behind them have cropped up.
Most HVAC training organizations quickly embraced this and now offer contractors a variety of virtual technical and soft-skills training using current technologies. Contractors can now help keep employees and customers safe while still providing vital HVAC system maintenance and service.
My email inbox practically explodes each day with training opportunities from manufacturers, VoTech schools, and other organizations.
The NCI Response …
In fact, in early April, National Comfort Institute (NCI) converted the Cleveland training center into a video studio in just a few weeks. It is complete with professional sound equipment and multiple cameras, most of which are pointed at hands-on setups that use working equipment and test instruments. It’s all tied together with a robust online training platform.
NCI’s curriculum development team simultaneously reconfigured several in-person classes into live online classes, complete with quizzes and hands-on sections. NCI has been doing live-online training virtually every day since early April.
Does it work? Just based on NCI’s experience, more than 80% of the participants said that while initially uncertain, some even fearful of the experience, they were pleasantly surprised by how much they learned. Most said they would gladly do it again.
All of this is really impressive and makes me proud to be a member of this industry.
Furthermore, it truly brings to light the importance of measuring, testing, diagnosing, and resolving comfort and energy issues in homes and businesses. Finally the world recognizes that the HVAC Industry is vital to people’s lives and well being — a fact we’ve known all along.
So now is the time to communicate to customers how important your services are and what steps you take to protect them AND your co-workers as we move forward. The more you ease their minds, the easier it will be to get into their homes, measure their systems, and solve their comfort, health, and efficiency issues.
This is how we adapt and keep moving forward.
And that is why I feel this industry is one we all should be very proud of.