Up near the top of the Door County peninsula in Wisconsin is a wonderful candy shop in the old Newport School House.  My family discovered this place many years ago while camping with our children.  It was run by 2 wonderful people, Uncle Tom and Aunt Marge as they wanted to be called. To Uncle Tom Collis, life was a labor of love for 82 years (he passed away in 1992?). The self-styled Socrates of Door County, Wis., Collis dispenses that precious commodity through verse and homespun philosophy to the thousands of vacationers who annually visit his fudge shop in a nearly 100-year-old rural schoolhouse.

Everyone who visited was treated to free samples of fudge and peanut brittle and everyone left with a free bag of pop corn. Everyone was also treated to Uncle Tom’s philosophy of  GRATITUDE IS ATTITUDE.  He especially liked talking to the children and explaining this to them. He would explain that the word GRATITUDE contains the word ATTITUDE  and that everyone should have this attitude as they go through life. That we should all be grateful for the things we have.

So, what has this got to do with the HVAC business? Too often companies feel that they are doing their customers a favor by servicing them and responding to their calls. That their customers should be grateful they are there. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

It should be that the company is grateful that the customer chose  to call them for their needs; chose to let them handle their equipment; chose to let them come into their house.  It is we who should be GRATEFUL  the customer continues to do business with us. Without customers, we wouldn’t be in business very long.

I learned this many years ago and it always stuck with me. Sometimes, just doing little things shows the customer you care. Have you ever picked up the newspaper at the end of their drive way and handed it to them when you came in? Do you put shoe covers on when entering their home? Do you address them by their name?  Do you walk on the sidewalk instead of crossing their grass? These may seem like trivial things, but to the customer, it shows you care.

So, whether you are a contractor, manufacturer, service tech, instructor, or whatever; you need  to remember and practice Uncle Tom’s philosophy of Gratitude is Attitude. Remember that the customer is the most important person out there. The customer is the reason we are in business. We need to be grateful for every chance we get to serve that customer and show that attitude to the customer.  If we do that, our customers will never find a reason to look anywhere else but to us for serving their needs.



About yorkcentraltechtalk

I have been in the HVAC industry most of my life. I worked 25 years for contractors on anything from residential to large commercial boilers and power burners. For the past 23+ years I had been employed by York International UPG Division ( a division of Johnson Controls) as a Technical support/Service Manager but I am now retired. One of my goals has always been to "educate" dealers and contractors. The reason for starting this blog was to share some knowledge, thoughts, ideas, etc with anyone who takes the time to read it. The contents of this blog are my own opinions, thoughts, experiences and should not be construed as those of Johnson Controls York UPG in any way. I hope you find this a help. I always welcome comments and suggestions for postings and will do my best to address any thoughts, questions, or topics you may want to hear about. Thanks for taking the time to read my postings! Mike Bishop
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  1. I agree with you 100%, however in the south skilled HVAC tradesmen often have too much work to properly handle, so it really becomes the opposite where the customer expresses gratitude for restored AC or Heat with a response of less than 48 hours. The key word above is “skilled” and not just a thinly disguised salesman trying to sell a new one if a repair is necessary or performing a “gas and go” if the evaporator is leaking.

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