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Why our technicians aren’t incentivized to sell

By: Brian Schutt  |  July 21, 2021

heart transplant | Homesense

“It’s time to replace your AC (or furnace).” Maybe you’ve had an HVAC technician say this to you before with utmost certainty. Seems harmless enough, right? Sometimes it’s true, but would you trust a cardiologist who only gave you the option to have a heart transplant? Similarly, would you trust a technician that’s incentivized to sell?

At Homesense, we believe that you know what’s right for you better than we do. We didn’t need to do a focus group to come up with that, it’s just common sense. When you call us to your home, you’re not looking for someone to come make decisions for you. We believe you’re looking for someone with expertise you can trust and depend on to provide you the necessary information in a way you can understand, so that you can make the right decision for you and your home.

Our process is built around that belief, and therefore you won’t hear our technicians making the declarative statement “It’s time to replace your AC (or furnace)” without additional options for you to consider. What we will do is present you with the information you need to make that determination. We all know heating and cooling equipment brakes eventually. At some point, the best decision is to replace it. But we believe that you don’t need to be strong-armed by someone you just met into that decision, if it’s indeed the right one. You’ll know when it’s time, and we’ll be there to help you.

Methods of Motivation

In the fantastic book “How will you measure your life” by Clayton Christensen, he explores the two basic ways workers are incentivized within contemporary motivation theory. To quickly summarize, the majority of firms in heating and cooling use money as a carrot and demotion/firing as a stick with their technicians. They then send them out into your home under the premise that you’re talking to an objective specialist with your best interests in mind. But most times, they’re incentivized to sell and have their own interests in mind, resulting in less trustworthy recommendations and tactics. We’ve explored this frustrating paradox before, in that you get what you incentivize.

The other motivation theory views workers as humans. In that humans, while not immune to Pavlovian behavior modification, are far more complex and have much more depth. While the source is ironic, the quote attributed to Bill Belichick that “talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling” is the way we view our team. Our work as a company is to find people with great character, intrinsically motivated to do right thing every time, and create a structure that rewards that. The Heart of Homesense is our compass both as a a daily driver and as we look to hire new team members. We know that if our technicians live out these values, they’ll do well here and take good care of our customers.

Our Incentives

For that reason, we don’t use money as a carrot or firing as a stick. Our technicians are not incentivized to sell you a whole new system. Instead, we incentivize them to do excellent work and provide unmatched integrity in their customer service. We commit to be honest with you, which sometimes means communicating the possible need for a new system. But we also commit to provide options so that you can choose what is best for your home.

All of this is not to say that everyone else in the industry is out to get you. It is to say that if the first thing they recommend is the heating and cooling equivalent of a heart transplant, it might make sense to get another opinion before that surgery. Trust Homesense to give you that second opinion or to be the first team you call.

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