PMM Editor’s Viewpoint February 2018.
A couple of weeks ago, in the throes of the harsh British winter, my boiler stopped working. To say it was an inconvenience would be an understatement. After a few hapless attempts at diagnosing the fault myself, and after trawling through forums and YouTube videos for an hour or so, I gave in and decided that the job demanded professional attention.
Having never needed the services of a gas engineer, I had no previous experience of any companies in my local area and was therefore at a bit of a loss as to where to start. At this point, I decided that the only thing for it was to use a reputable online work provider to do the leg-work for me in selecting my tradesman. After filling in my personal details and some embarrassingly basic observations of the problem at hand, I was told that I would be contacted by a contractor in my area within the timescale I had stipulated.
“Whether it’s servicing a boiler, changing a set of brake pads, or simply providing assistance in a shop, standards of service vary drastically, and it often doesn’t take much to elevate yourself above competitors by going the extra mile.”
A mere three hours later, I was contacted by a suitable candidate and we arranged for him to pop by the following day. The engineer that turned up on my doorstep – bang on time, I hasten to add – was well turned out, personable and professional. He diagnosed the problem within five minutes (sparing my blushes, he did say it was a complicated fault) and explained to me in layman’s terms what the next steps were.
It quickly became evident that I was going to have to part with some cold, hard cash, but the way in which the engineer broke the costs down and explained every aspect of his quotation gave me absolute confidence that I wasn’t being ripped off. The parts were duly ordered, the fault was repaired the next day, and the engineer gave me a few pointers as to how to avoid similar issues in the future.
For want of a better phrase, my ‘customer journey’ was expertly managed from beginning to end. I was kept constantly informed as to what was happening, so I wasn’t left in the dark (or, more importantly, the cold) when it came to pricing and next steps. As a result, I gave the company a five-star rating on the web provider and Facebook. My business had been retained for life.
The whole experience brought two things to light for me. The first was that perhaps there is a place for online service providers in our industry, provided they adhere to sufficiently high standards. After all, if you don’t want to join one, you don’t have to. The second thing was that this was an unusually pain-free experience, and it struck me as odd that this was such a pleasant surprise. You’d think that any service provider worth their salt would strive to be punctual, professional, personable and easy to deal with. Realistically, though, how often is this actually the case? Whether it’s servicing a boiler, changing a set of brake pads, or simply providing assistance in a shop, standards of service vary drastically, and it often doesn’t take much to elevate yourself above competitors by going the extra mile.