When Perceptions exceed Expectations!
What does it take to “delight a customer” these days? Well, it’s outlined in the Expectation Confirmation Theory which says: expectations, coupled with perceived performance, lead to post-purchase satisfaction. This effect is mediated through positive or negative disconfirmation between expectations and performance. If a product outperforms expectations (positive disconfirmation) post-purchase satisfaction will result. If a product falls short of expectations (negative disconfirmation) the consumer is likely to be dissatisfied (Oliver, 1980; Spreng et al. 1996).
So, in layman’s terms, to delight a customer: perceptions must exceed “>” expectations. It seems so easy, but from unfortunate experience, delighting a customer is often as elusive as a dream. However, our recent experience with Gunther’s Comfort Air is one that we will not easily forget
In May of this year, we decided it was time to install completely new AC & heating units in our home (2 AC & 2 Heating). Our AC units were just about dead and hadn’t been changed since they were installed in 1976. Our heating units were newer (80’s) but on their last leg. To make a long story short, we secured 9 (and that’s not an exaggeration) bids. I learned more about AC units, HVAC systems then I ever wanted. Here’s a short list of those we asked for bids:
- Any Hour
- ABT Mechanical
- Absolute Comfort
For a few tips on what to ask for, and how to secure a proper bid for your house, read my next blog here. As for our choice, Gunther’s. Here’s how the experience went & why we were delighted:
1. Expert Understanding –
Gunther’s was our 9th of 9 bids. By this time I thought I knew what I wanted. Typically in any system, you want the biggest baddest boy out there for the best price. In the world of HVAC that is not true. You need a system designed for your situation. I’ll spare you the technical details (you can read more about that here), but the knowledge & experience provided by Dwight Aitken at Gunther’s was second to none. On our first meeting he spent over one and a half hours detailing how a correct HVAC system is designed. Granted, 25% of it was over my head, but I captured enough to know that a system must be designed correctly. (For example, Questar & Rocky Mt. give rebates if your system is designed correctly. It’s some “static” test done once you system is complete).
Upon “being enlightened” by the multiple bids we received, we knew we needed a team of experts to design and install our system. Gunther’s was the experienced and logical choice.
2. Prompt and Frequent Communication –
Aside from being available by phone, our communication expanded into email. I have evidence of over 13 communications that took place, and the responses were all returned on the same day. I never waited more than 12 hours for a response. More importantly, was the fact that Dwight often initiated the communication. He was on top of our situation, concerned for our project, and invested in its success. We never felt that our project was any bit less important than the other work they had, and communication was always prompt and courteous.
3. Accurate Timing & Expectations –
Too often in the services and construction world we get “OPUDed” That is, over promised, under delivered. How many times has a contractor stood you up, or missed a deadline. It’s almost become the norm. That’s where Gunther’s was different. Every timetable was met. It was nice that they would give us a time frame that made sense (such as 10 – 11 in the morning); not “sometime today.” Again, a narrow accurate timetable greatly exceeded our expectations.
4. Over the top Service & Responsiveness –
The installation team was courteous and friendly. They laid out mats across all our floors to ensure no dirt was tracked. They cleaned up messes and worked quickly and efficiently. I was worried when the job was 95% complete and we had to wait for “parts to come in.” (We’ve all been there before). But to my surprise, they informed me when they arrived and scheduled a time to complete the job immediately. Dwight also recommended a way to receive more rebates, and instead of “selling” me on more services they could provide; he taught me how to make the changes myself, supplied me with the parts, and waited patiently until I completed the work, saving me hundreds of dollars.
Best yet, Dwight takes care of all the rebates for you. He registers your units and applies for your rebates. That’s just cool!
5. Competitive Pricing –
In our bidding process, Gunther’s was 6th of 9 in terms of price. They were not the lowest price, but after learning how much longer and more efficient a correctly designed and installed system would benefit me, I chose Gunther’s.