How do I ensure quality upgrades to avoid call-backs and enhance our reputation?

Customers put a high value on quality home improvements, and satisfied customers are more likely to tell friends and family about their experience, which can lead more participation in your program. Conversely, dissatisfied customers can dissuade neighbors and peers from participating, thereby making acquisition of new customers more challenging and expensive. Managing quality starts with managing your relationship with  participating contractors.  Many programs organize an orientation not only to explain the program requirements (e.g., workforce standards, quality assurance process, and code of conduct) but also to learn about each contractor’s skills and experience.  That information can you connect them with needed training (e.g., technical, business, or sales). 

Developing a quality assurance plan is essential to ensure that you meet your quality goals including providing good customer service in a cost-effective way.  Most plans include verifying a consistent level of quality in completed home energy upgrades. Programs have used different approaches to verifying quality.  One common approach uses a tiered approach, in which the program inspects the first several upgrades completed by a new participating contractor and then changes the inspections to a random sample after the contractor has demonstrated proficiency.  More programs are finding that clearly defined and easily accessible technical specifications can remove ambiguity around program expectations and improve completed upgrade work. Quality assurance plans may also include customer satisfaction surveys to assess customer experience.

Learn more with the following resources:

Topical Resources

Examples

  • This case study of Arizona Public Service (APS) and Arizona’s HPwES Sponsor, FSL Home Energy Solutions (FSL), focuses on their continuous improvements designed to elevate customer and contractor experience while boosting program cost-effectiveness.

  • This video explains how Better Buildings for Michigan's performance metrics and quality assurance enabled them to encourage high-performing contractors, to help underperforming contractors improve, and ultimately to dismiss some contractors.

  • RePower in Bainbridge Island and Bremerton, Washington developed this manual as a set of rules and requirements for acceptable materials and installation procedures for energy efficiency measures installed in existing homes.
  • This document details the procedures for identifying, documenting, and responding to performance problems associated with contractors in the RePower Program in Washington. It includes example forms and a draft letter to contractors.

  • Efficiency Maine created a code of conduct for contractors to follow when working in homes. The code is available for download on the Efficiency Maine website, and dictates guidelines for respecting homeowners' property and communicating with the homeowner about appropriate information. Users on the Efficiency Maine website can search a list of vendors that have agreed to follow the code.

  • To deliver the most effective residential energy efficiency programs possible, NYSERDA implemented a quality assurance process to verify that projects meet all program requirements while maintaining healthy and safe conditions for the occupants.

Handbooks

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