For any busy electrician, getting proper training can be a big commitment. Andy Mansfield, Marketing & Communications Manager at Honeywell, discusses why it really is worth the investment.
The increasing popularity of smart controls has opened up numerous doors for electricians; not least the opportunity to evolve to become a connected specialist themselves.
By expanding on their smart know-how, electricians can add more value for their customers, upsell more services and grow their businesses. What’s more, smart heating controls are just the beginning and the first rung on the ladder to fully connected homes, where even more business opportunities are available.
Inevitably, training requires some investment. However, understanding how smart thermostats can give a customer greater control over their heating will allow you to fit them with confidence. So when you weigh up the opportunities and reasons why you should up-skill, against the potential of missing out, it doesn’t make sense not to invest your time.
Manufacturers have even developed online training portals so those who wish to obtain training without losing valuable work-time, can do so from the comfort of their homes out-of-hours. Either way, the investment is worth it and is far outweighed by the benefits.
Delivering added value
Good quality, smart heating controls are actually just as easy – if not easier – to use, than traditional thermostats. They’ve been designed to be simple to use for any generation. However, being able to recognise which ones are the best for a particular customer comes with experience and, of course, training.
Many training programmes from manufacturers give a good grounding on the products available on the market and their capabilities. Understanding how the products work allows you to add far more value as a consultant, as well as an installer, to customers by recommending the right solution according to their lifestyle needs.
“The ability to talk confidently about which connected smart thermostats work with these products is a great way of introducing and upselling them to customers.”
Capitalising on market trends
Aside from learning about product features and speciﬁcations, training also helps with staying abreast of how related market trends affect customers’ choice of heating control. For example, people are increasingly using a central ‘hub’, such as Amazon Echo, to control their smart technology, rather than switching between a number of different apps.
As consumer products are available to purchase through retail channels, you may question the relevance of learning about these digital assistants. However, as these products become more popular, they’ll begin to inﬂuence homeowners’ decisions when purchasing thermostats and other smart home technology. As such, you’ll need to advise on which thermostats are compatible with home hubs and set them up to work together as part of the installation process.
This reduces the risk of disgruntled customers calling up because their thermostat won’t integrate with their shiny new gadget. The ability to talk confidently about which connected smart thermostats work with these products is a great way of introducing and upselling them to customers.
Extending technical knowledge
By undertaking professional training, not only can electricians understand more about the products available on the market, but also learn about heating system design – an area which is unlikely to be included in an electrician’s traditional training.
Both of Honeywell’s connected and non-connected training courses cover these key areas and allow participants to put the theory into practice with a practical wiring session on a number of different heating controls. The connected course also provides experience in wirelessly binding products and fault finding.
Those who receive professional training can also gain a better understanding of Wi-Fi systems and signal strength testing for more sophisticated connected heating controls, such as evohome. In practice, this means they’ll be able to configure the system in a way that best suits the homeowner’s needs.
Getting customer buy-in
In addition to having the technical and product know-how, having the ability to ask the right questions and answer customers’ queries in an easy-to-understand way is also key. After all, customers need to trust your advice to buy from you, so being able to demonstrate that you’re confident to both explain and install these types of products – a confidence gained through training – is vital.
When planning an installation, asking the customer questions about their lifestyle and what they want to get out of their heating control helps with working out what best suits their needs. Equally, having the ability to talk homeowners through the set-up process, ensures that when you leave the property the homeowner will be confident enough to get the best out of their new heating control.
The smart control business model relies on more than simply ‘install and go’. Installing smart heating controls now requires a new set of skills and knowledge. These are skills which can’t just be picked up overnight and require professional training to bring them all together.
Sure, there is a level of investment required to get there, but the benefits and return on this far outweigh the costs of being left behind in a world where smart technology is now the norm. By seeing training as an investment, the rewards will soon become clear and more jobs will come through.