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A few months ago we decided that with all of the various rebate programs available to us it was prime time to invest in a new home furnace. I had already researched furnaces a couple of years ago as ours was installed in 1980 and quite frankly we were surprised it had lasted so long. I decided that a Goodman high efficiency forced air gas furnace was the best value for my needs. Doing my due diligence I decided to ask three companies to quote.
The first call went to a contractor who had helped me with my air conditioning system last summer. He was originally referred to me by a neighbour. He was both personable and knowledgeable although he had a tendency to talk forever. I told him the furnace I was after as well as the features I wanted including a humidifier and air cleaner. He gave me an estimate over the phone based on the square footage of my place. He reminded me that most companies would have told me to replace the air conditioner unit rather than the simple fix he had recommended. I thanked him again for his integrity.
The second call went to a company that was referred by another neighbour. I told the women who answered that I was referred by a friend and she pleasantly remarked that we would need to schedule an appointment to assess our needs before they would give me a quote. When I asked if she could provide a ballpark estimate based on the specs from another company who had already quoted on the project there was a slight pause and then a total change in attitude as she explained that their workmanship was top quality and they would never be the cheapest. She asked what the other company had quoted. When I mentioned that their estimate was approximately $3500 she started to rant about needing to pay for quality and that anyone who quoted less than $5000 would do an inferior installation. She then went on to say “If you want a crap job why don’t you go to ‘Company X’ where they would do the same crappy job but at least you can get monthly payments’. I was amazed. Did she honestly think I wouldn’t report back to my friend who recommended them (who coincidentally is also considering the installation of a new furnace). I was further surprised to find out that she was one of the owners – someone who should understand that every touchpoint with prospects and customers alike effects their brand. Needless to say, they were instantly crossed off the list.
For the third quote I did a Google search for ‘goodman furnace installation toronto’ and contacted the company with the top unpaid listing – Cozy World. Their site was very informative – complete with pricing, testimonials, rebate and warranty information. That’s right – their pricing was listed on their site! Within an hour from sending my email I received a phone call from the owner who set up an appointment for my onsite inspection. He came by the house, put on his booties and went downstairs to check out the duct work etc. He recommended that we install a chimney liner as well as a water pump for the drain humidifier and listed the reasons why. He then talked me out of the electronic air cleaner I wanted by informing us that it wouldn’t effect the amount of dust that settles on the furniture. He handed me a written quote for the furnace, humidifier and air filter (which, except for the liner and pump was the same as his website showed) and informed me that his price included a 10 year parts and labour warranty. I asked him more about his business. How he got his leads. He replied ‘entirely Word of Mouth and my Website.’
Now I had two prices that were virtually the same except one included 10 years labour as well as parts in the extended warranty. It was a no brainer. While the company I found online had never done work for me, the professionalism he illustrated at my house and the investment he had made on his website reassured me that this company would be around for a while and I was glad to award him my business.
So what’s my point? I never would have found this company if the owner didn’t have the foresight to invest in SEO. Don’t get me wrong – Word of Mouth is the best form of advertising because it’s earned rather than purchased. It is your customers’ opinion of your product, which can fluctuate from very vocal with praise to very vocal with disdain. On the other hand, word of mouth can take a long time to cultivate. But a well developed Website will also deliver educated consumers to your doorstep who are ready to buy. Think twice before you tell your marketing partner or design shop that you don’t need search engine optimization because you get all of your business through Word of Mouth.