An air conditioner should be operational full time because it's a 12-month safety and convenience system. Here's why. Many service writers and managers I meet complain about increasing difficulty in closing sales of air conditioner repairs around late summer. They cite the same customer complaints I heard when I worked the service desk: ``Why should I spend money fixing an air conditioner when there's only a few weeks of summer left?'' motorists ask.
Unprepared service writers can't overcome this objection.
Preparing yourself is as easy as learning several critical points about air conditioners.
However, you must keep in mind that most consumers and too many service technicians really don't know what they don't know about air conditioners!
First, arm yourself with a good cut-away illustration of an air conditioning system for show-and-tell purposes. If you don't already have artwork and pamphlets to explain and promote air conditioning work, any supplier worth his salt can provide these materials.
The evaporator is the heat exchanger located under the dashboard of the vehicle. Find the evaporator on your air conditioning illustration. When the air conditioner pumps refrigerant through the evaporator, the refrigerant evaporates, thereby absorbing heat.
You can liken the process to the swimmer who climbs out of the pool. As the passing breeze dries his body, he feels a chill because the evaporating water removes heat from his skin.
The refrigerant carries heat removed from the cabin up to the system's other heat exchanger: the condenser mounted in front of the radiator. The condenser dissipates the heat to the outside air.
Sometimes, emphasizing stress reduction is the best way to sell air conditioning repairs.
For example, were you able to tactfully determine how this motorist uses the car? If he or she endures a long commute to work or their jobs keep them behind the wheel a great deal, the stress-reduction value of a working air conditioner isn't expensive, it's priceless!
In other words, how do you put a dollar value on the soothing nature of cool, dry cabin air—not to mention the fact that the vehicle's interior is so much quieter because the windows are closed when the A/C is operating.
Motorists may not openly admit it, but the calming effect air conditioning has on their blood pressure easily justifies putting a $1,000 repair job on their credit card.
If the motorist balks at fixing his or her car's air conditioner, remember to ask this person about allergies. If the customer is allergic to pollen and/or dust, a working air conditioner reduces his or her misery.
You see, a functioning evaporator becomes the coldest component inside the vehicle. Therefore, any moisture inside the car condenses on the evaporator and drains off, taking a substantial amount of dust and pollen with it!
While we're on the topic of dust and pollen, remember to check the maintenance section of the owner's manual in all upscale vehicles. Many ``higher-end'' vehicles have a serviceable cabin-air filter that prevents most particulates from entering the cabin in the first place.
Some vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing these filters annually, so these filters represent yet another ventilation-related sales opportunity—and often an overlooked opportunity, at that.
What's more, a functioning air conditioner affects visibility and therefore safety, during colder weather. On most vehicles you service, operating a traditional windshield defroster or defogger turns on the air conditioner. The A/C system promptly dries the air before the fan blows it up onto the windshield. If the air conditioner isn't working, damp air can severely fog up or frost up the inside of the windshield, making overall visibility worse instead of better!
Try working some of these details into your A/C service sales approach in late summer.
I'll bet you'll close more sales and generate more repeat business.
Be sure to tune in next issue when I'll discuss why the longer a customer waits to repair the system, the more expensive the work becomes. See you then!