British Gas has developed and fitted nearly 200,000 Hive units, Google is in the marketplace with the Nest thermostat, and both are backed by heavy advertising campaigns. There has never been a better time to get on board with smart technology, capitalise on the growing market and avoid being left behind.
Approaching that customer and making a sale is not as daunting as it might sound, if you know the right questions to ask.
First, find out what concerns the customer has over their heating. Would they like more control? Are they looking for a more convenient way to manage it? Did they notice an increase in their energy bills last winter and does this worry them for the winter ahead? Are they looking for ways to reduce their heating bills? Do they know what smart thermostats are?
It is worth highlighting the convenience of having a smart thermostat in a home and the control it will give to the customer and their family.
Many homeowners have a programmer that they do not know how to use, and a smart thermostat will mean that they have a simple way to manage their heating through a standard slider menu from their smart phone. Never again will they have to look in a dark cupboard and try to figure out how to adjust their heating!
They may tell you they rationed the heating last winter, but have no idea of how much they actually saved. In this case, you can discuss the options they have to effectively reduce their heating bills over the long term and prepare themselves for the winter ahead.
Customers are increasingly recognising that having an “intelligent” home will allow them to reduce energy use and save money, and savvy consumers will want to be organised before the winter arrives.
Demand for smart thermostats is high, especially because of the convenience factor, and many homeowners are looking to installers for advice on these devices. While the investment could cost anywhere between £100 and £200 there are considerable savings to be made in the long run, as with a smart thermostat the heating can be turned off by using a phone or tablet when out of the house. They really do give homeowners control back over their heating.
Often, customers are worried that the installation will be messy and complicated. They will be reassured to know that installing smart thermostats is pretty straightforward – in fact, not entirely different from fitting other controls. Once installed, one of the main benefits is that customers should be able to recover the cost within 12 months.
Consider the low-cost investment, speedy payback and the convenience of a quick, simple and tidy wireless installation – a real win for installers as well as customers. Offering another product to consumers is a great way to turn more boiler installation estimates into jobs.
Peter Northwood is director at HomeServe Alliance