Building Air Quality December 2018

THE CHICKENOR THE EGG? Why Nurturing Employees and Customers Is the Key to Retention Who comes first: employees or customers?When posed this classic business question, Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher had an easy answer: employees.“If employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right,”Kelleher explained. As Kelleher knows well, employee- customer relations are a cycle—one that fuels recurring business. Engaged employees deliver service that converts to sales, a fact backed up by a Gallup report. Gallup cited a 20 percent increase in sales as a result of this process. Even as you’re courting leads, you can’t ignore your existing customers. Likewise, even (and especially) as you grow, you have to nurture your employees. The cost of losing either is too high. In the holiday rush, it’s important to not lose sight of your priorities. Get them hooked on your service. Have you ever asked a client why they return to your business? Do you think it’s because they can’t find your product or service anywhere else? Probably not. Think about the last time you returned to a restaurant. Was it because it’s the only place in town that makes amazing Thai food? Maybe, but it’s more likely that you enjoyed the welcoming host, attentive waiter, and positive experience you had there. Starbucks is a great example. Even with thick competition, they deliver consistent service and quality products to customers, whether in Oregon or London. And they do this by providing competitive wages and benefits to their employees along with training and learning opportunities. Employees who are knowledgeable and excited about what they are offering pass their enthusiasm on to customers. Own up to mistakes. Even the best businesses make mistakes. When it happens, own up to it. There’s probably been a time when you put in your order at a restaurant, only to receive the wrong thing. How did the business handle it? Did they admit their mistake and offer you a newmeal? How a business treats customers when things don’t go smoothly is a good indication of how they’ll handle adversity in general, and that reaction starts with employees. Set the precedent for employees that a mistake is their opportunity to go above and beyond. A transparent environment will make employees feel more comfortable, which will make customers excited, rather than apprehensive, to engage with your business again.

Don’t Misdiagnose an IAQ Complaint Why You Need a HOBO Data Logger Some years ago, we were called out to a courthouse in Corpus Christi, Texas, where mold was growing on the ceiling of a three-story atrium. They’d cleaned the mold, but it kept growing back. We suspected the air at the top of the atrium was reaching dew point, causing the condensation that enabled mold to grow, but we needed to figure out why it was reaching that point. To get the data we needed, we got on a lift and attached an Onset HOBO MX1101 data logger to the atrium. This portable Bluetooth enabled device is used to accurately measure changes in temperature and humidity in certain parts of a building over a period of time. We left the HOBO up for a little over a year to collect data. When we came back, it took just a press of a button to download all the data onto an iPhone. Then we could see all the patterns of temperature and humidity fluctuation. With this, we determined the culprit was a maintenance engineer who was under the impression that bringing in large amounts of outdoor air would help the indoor air quality of the building. The problem is that, down near the Gulf of Mexico, the outdoor air is full of moisture. The building’s air conditioning system was not equipped to take out that amount of moisture. It got too humid inside, and mold was free to grow. HOBO data loggers aren’t just for IAQ experts to determine when well- meaning maintenance engineers are letting in too much outdoor air. They also come in handy when determining if you really have an IAQ problem on your hands. You’d be surprised how many thermal comfort complaints are misdiagnosed as IAQ troubles because people don’t have the vocabulary to express their issue. They feel hot or cold, clammy or dry, and assume the discomfort must have something to do with air quality. If you had a HOBO in your tool kit, you’d be able to confirm that nothing was wrong with your air conditioner, or that the complaint is actually due to the tenant sitting next to a window with the sun shining through. Anyone can get one of these devices. If you’re a building owner or a property manager, you should definitely have a HOBO on hand. This portable, relatively inexpensive device can help you determine if there’s really a problem with your air conditioning system before you pay an expert to come out. That said, if you don’t have a HOBO and aren’t in a position to get

one and you think you might have a humidity problem in your building, give us a call at 281-448-1100. We have several HOBOs available to come out and investigate your building.

2 Protecting the Built Environment

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