What can we learn and use from world class organizations, and how they got there? How does this apply to energy efficiency rating and auditing?

The bottom line: They produced and sold what the customer actually wanted and was willing to pay for. There are a lot of other things they did, but all complexities funneled back into the purpose of delivering something that the customer valued and would pay for. Example: make a phone with a "touch screen that actually works, and has an iPod too!" All of the sudden, people would show up in droves to buy them even for extra cash. Example: Cars and trucks that are priced right, durable and last a long time. (Not to mention the new Tundra trucks are really apealing to "guys.") To be sure these organization had worked on and developed "process efficiency strategies," and core to those processes was that the "produced results" lived up to the customers expectations.

Customer "Benefits" and "Values" are the key words here.

If the customer can know the benefit is possible, and puts a good deal of value on that benefit, they will pay valuable money to obtain that benefit.

I know for sure in my early days of home energy auditing I spent a lot of time and effort getting the measuring and reporting very fancy. We spent countless hours on putting nice bindings and color pages, etc. ... lots of work on financial reports, and inflation adjusted graphs. Unfortunatly all the while, we did not pay enough attention to the customer. I did not put this together for quite some time later, and eventually I figured this out becuase of the success on the jobs I did sell.

This led me to eventually re-gear my marketing and sales strategy altoghether as well. 

Here are some important questions to be asking yourself about the customer with relation to energy efficiency:

1) What does the customer value?

2) What benefits does the customer want?

3) What does the customer think about what we do in relation to the benefits and values?

4) Does the customer have "confidence" they will get the benefits and value from what you do?

Note those parts are inside the customer, and are not parts of the shell, lighting, or HVAC system. But the customer attitudes are the most important part of the retrofit, because unless those parts are unlocked the door does not open for further work.

"The customer is always right." I would like to modify this to: "The customer is always right for wanting." 

So the thought I would like to inspire here is thus: "Energy Efficiency" --  bridge the gap between what we do and offer to the customers ideas of what they want.

I have found good success with this, and as an example I now will spend 3/4 of my time of the "audit process" talking with the customer mostly about comfort issues, drafts, cold floors -- and very little time talking about energy comparisons to other houses, etc. I would even go so far as -- I dont even fix things just because they are in a $ savings payback pecking order, I fix things based on what the customer values and sees as a benefit; because that is what they want.

 

www.UpKey.co

 

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Comment by Christopher Cadwell on November 22, 2011 at 9:34am

Thanks Carlos - this is exactly true. Rick Chitwood in my interview with him and talking with him over the weeks he has been here keeps bringing up a good question. -- How do we get paid to do it right? -- This is something I will blog about very soon and is the basis for a series I want to develop about best practices for marketing and selling high performance retrofits and installs.

Comment by Carlos Espinoza on November 22, 2011 at 1:32am

Reading Josh Linkner's blog[ http://www.fastcompany.com/1794942/how-to-be-distinctive-christian-... ] he states: "If you stand for great service, low prices, fantastic quality, speedy delivery, stylish design, and being environmentally friendly, you actually stand for nothing. You customers...won’t understand your true value proposition." Simplifying to a core message for a homeowner to desire will be a cornerstone for success. What attracts me to the touchscreen phone, as you used for an example, is the brilliant functionality....would I want, say, a HVAC system to fit that mold(?)---yes. Great topic.   

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