Client Satisfaction – It’s a hug!

Mrs. Schroeder met us at the door in her thin, cotton housecoat with a welcoming smile. She lives in a small, bungalow on a back street in Trenton, NJ. It is a single story house with two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, and a room that serves as the primary storage for a lifetime of magazines, newspapers, Christmas decorations, and other stuff.

Mr. Schroeder built the house – a cozy, story-tale nest for his family and a lifetime of memories. He died a couple of years ago. He believed in ventilation and bathroom fans and installed one in every room in the house venting into the attiSchroeder Bath fanc. The attic floor is covered with fiberglass insulation that had settled to a dirty, dusty, two or three inches. The furnace in the dirt-floored basement is crowded into a corner with more stuff and a washing machine and dryer.

Mrs. Schroeder lived there comfortably for fifty years. But then Mr. Schroeder died, winters seemed to get colder, money got tighter. You know, they say that if you put a frog on a pot of water that it will stay there happily. If you turn the heat on and gradually bring up the temperature, the frog will keep sitting there until it boils, not noticing the change in temperature. “It used to be okay! It was okay for years!” Mrs. Schroeder wasn’t comfortable any more. She wished that everything would go back to where it was.

This is what we face in many of the homes that we weatherize. The homeowner is comfortable for years. It’s their home – their memories, their castle, and the weatherization crew is disturbing that. The crew needs to respect that. The crew needs to respect the client’s possessions as though they were their own. Would they do a sloppy job if this was their mother’s or daughter’s house or where their grandchildren live? There are all the mechanics of measuring, testing, air sealing, insulating, but to the occupant, it is home.

As a Quality Control Inspector or Crew Chief you have to be able to communicate with clarity and empathy with the client or homeowner. You play a dual role: on the one hand you will be representing the client or homeowner in construction process. On the other hand you will be representing your company or your agency. It’s a difficult line to navigate. In the process, you will have to satisfy the client without damaging the reputation of the organization that you work for or your fellow crew members. Hopefully, you will come into this dichotomy being appreciated and respected by the crew. But you will have to establish a rapport with the homeowner. Add to that mix the noise, dust, and intrusion of the crew invading the house.

Mr. Schroeder liked bathroom fans, but they broke through both the thermal boundary and the pressure boundary and blew heat from the house into the attic. Mrs. Schroeder was proud of her husband for his skill and his cleverness. We left the fans in place, sealing in them, around them and over them. Making them into dormant ceiling ornaments.

How do you know if a client is satisfied? It’s as simple as a grateful hug. There’s more to comfort than temperature.

If you are planning to challenge the BPI Quality Control Inspector’s certification, you might find the Quality Control Inspector’s Residential Handbook helpful.

QCI Handbook Cover copy


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