The Secret Sauce: Trane’s Light Commercial Unitary Support
Facing that daily grind, Turner is happy that Trane has his back. If he can’t figure out a solution right away, he knows Trane’s Light Commercial Unitary (LCU) Help Center and other Trane team members will get him the information or equipment he needs to get the job done.
“They take their job personally and do everything in their power to execute,” said Turner. “They don’t approach it as an eight-to-five o’clock job, and at 5 o’clock, you drop your pencil and leave it until tomorrow. They truly take a sense of ownership in what they do, and our problems are their problems.”
Eric Turner, Mechanical Solutions
The LCU Team Solves Problems
The help center and team support contractors who need immediate technical support or rapid replacements, focusing on units that are 25 tons or less. The team has 11 people from diverse technical backgrounds. Some have engineering degrees; others came up through the HVAC ranks.
The technical center is busy, fielding around a thousand contractor calls each month and receiving 15,000 website searches.
“The contractors we work with have their hands in the dirt,” said Commercial Account Manager Fernando Rodriguez. “We’re talking to people who need assistance right now. The unit is down, and they have to get it back up and running, or they want to diagnose it to see if it needs to be replaced.”
One of LCU’s primary goals is responsiveness. Three years ago, the team shifted from fielding incoming telephone calls to an outbound system wherein contractors choose how they communicate with the LCU. Contractors choose to submit queries via email, texts, voicemail, or a web form. This system benefits contractors because they don’t have to wait in a phone line. After the contractor submits a request, the ticket is triaged to the person or team who can best fix the problem, and the troubleshooting begins. The LCU group works to respond to each request within ten minutes.
“We’ll see a ticket come through the queue system, and it’ll give us a brief description of the issue,” said Technical Product Support Engineer Raymond Russek. “In our minds, we’re already going through the potential scenarios. Then we reach out to the requester and start a conversation to understand the problem. From there, we work together on solutions.”
One of LCU’s many strengths is that Trane experts can, almost literally, work on the same equipment with the contractor as they speak one-on-one. They have hands-on access to a wide range of systems to help them rapidly identify the issue and offer practical steps to rectify it.
“We can go through scenarios, set up a board in a specific way, or test specific inputs and outputs,” said Russek. “I can say something like: Touch the lead to this part of the board, and you should be reading this output or input. I had variable frequency drives next to my desk for the longest time.”
The LCU desk also has more than 500 reference articles at its fingertips, many designed to answer frequently asked questions. But often, the best resource is other team members.
“We’ll use internal messaging apps, and we’ll talk amongst ourselves while we’re in the middle of a call, asking for input from other agents who may be more of an expert on that particular subject,” said Russek. “We’re all really good at some things, but nobody knows it all.”
Another strength is experience. Many on the LCU team have been in the business for a long time. They’ve personally witnessed some of the issues and helped solve many others. Sometimes, they know what the contractor is going to say before they even say it.
“I had a guy who couldn’t figure out a low suction pressure issue, which was making the unit freeze up,” said Russek. “I’ve heard this same question a million times, and I know how to help. We resolve these issues around 99.9% of the time.”
The LCU group leads with expertise and efficiency, but they also have their fair share of empathy. They know the person on the other end is on a hot or cold roof somewhere, and that person’s number one goal is to get the job done and get home to their family. But the bottom line is making sure the problem has been fixed.
“We follow up to see if we’ve answered their questions,” said Unitary Technical Service Manager Tom Butcher. “We want to make sure we’ve helped them solve the problem, and people don’t always have email onsite, so we give them a call to make sure they’re ready to go.”
Like Eric Turner, Landon Thurgood – who runs Thurgood Mechanical, a small HVAC shop in Idaho Falls – has had many helpful interactions with Trane’s LCU Help Center. In one case, he was installing four dehumidification units and needed technical assistance. It took a couple of exchanges, but the problem was solved in less than an hour.
“That worked out really well because the local Trane rep, Fernando Rodriguez, understood the urgency,” said Thurgood. “We had installed them and were ready to do a start-up. The client was going to start producing the next day, so we only had a narrow window to get this equipment up and running. We got it done, and the customer did not run into any delays on their manufacturing.”
Eric Turner also has high regard for Rodriguez and the rest of the LCU team. “He understands from top to bottom, and they simply execute. It’s not one thing they’ve done. It’s everything you can count on them to do every time you call.”