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HPM-04-APR-2016

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com BUSINESSFEATURE Knowledge in the palm of your hand For plumbing and heating installers, the latest apps, credible websites and social media are proving invaluable ways of making jobs easier, information is more readily available and even winning work. Victoria Willis, product manager for Geberit, looks at how to make the most of the online world... You’re on a job and you need to refresh your memory on the best way to complete a certain task – you may be well trained, but some things don’t crop up that often, and a bit of technical support will ensure you get the job done right, first time. In the past, you would have reached for the manual or picked up the phone to speak to manufacturers’ technical support. However, times have changed significantly. TECHNICAL INFORMATION With increasing regularity, manufacturers are making accessing knowledge easy, through the use of apps which allow installers to find technical information on any internet enabled device. Geberit’s own ProApp, for example, provides immediate access to product information. Not only will it help identify products installed, but it can also help find technical and installation details of the products about to be installed, putting know-how literally in the palm of your hand. Much more than just a product guide, the Geberit ProApp also links to the online spare parts catalogue, giving access to all the information about Geberit spare parts when it is needed most. Suitable spare parts can be easily found via the product identifier, and ordered, directly from an installer’s smartphone. And those paper installation manuals that all too often get thrown out with the packaging? They’re a thing of the past thanks to the barcode feature, which enables installers to get all the product details required for installation by scanning the product barcode on the box. Apart from Apps, there are thousands of online tutorials on YouTube – we have our own channel, again accessible via Geberit ProApp - plus installer forums where you can find answers to almost any question. You must be careful to check the information is reputable, however. Smart navigation, using only trusted sources, is essential for getting the best out of the web. AN IMPORTANT BUSINESS TOOL Social media is ubiquitous and what started out as a way to keep in touch with friends has fast become an important business tool. You can use it to attract new business and it can also provide a useful information source. Unless you get into paid for ads, social media is basically free, so you may as well give it a go. In the past marketing was one way and its channels were expensive, meaning many one man-band or small businesses were excluded from reaching a large audience. Social media has changed all that and if you can be helpful to customers both on and offline, there’s no reason you can’t pick up new work. Online reviews are critical. Encourage your satisfied customers to say something nice on your website, Twitter, or Facebook and be sure to tag in relevant manufacturer’s to spread that good word even further. When people comment, take the time to reply, the social world is a friendly one, where ‘thank yous’ go a long way. With pictures uploadable on to all its many forms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc – it provides a great way to show the good work you’re doing, in real time. Linking back to @GeberitUK with these good news stories will gain you a retweet too, so your pride in your work can stretch even further. Why not set up a blog on your own website documenting the work that you do? You can then direct social media posts to it and anyone visiting your site direct will get a better feel for your work. The key to making social media work is regular, relevant updates and lots of engagement, both with your customers and with your suppliers. If someone asks you a question, then you need to be getting back to them ASAP. Checking social media platforms a few times a day is ideal and with this a very easy task from a smartphone, it shouldn’t prove too time consuming. Above all, you need to stay professional. You could get the odd bit of negativity, if this is an unhappy customer try and deal with them directly and sort out their problem to diffuse damaging comments. If you’re helpful, you may be able to turn a bad situation into a positive one. ENGAGE WITH CUSTOMERS BETTER With online tools available to make your job easier, get information quicker and engage with customers better, there has never been a better time to embrace the internet and its benefits. Installers can enjoy access to Geberit product details and installation instructions directly from their smartphone, thanks to the Geberit ProApp. Giving installers fast access to the information they need, when they need it, Geberit ProApp users can scan the barcode on the side of a Geberit product box with their smartphone to find out its full details. The ProApp also links through to the company’s online product catalogue, giving installers up-to-the-minute product details and fitting instructions, even when they’re on the move, plus fast access to technical information and even click through to simple-to-follow installation videos, helping them to work more efficiently. The Geberit ProApp also simplifies the process of ordering spare parts. All an installer needs to do is identify the relevant parts and this will bring up all the details they need ahead of phoning, or emailing the order through to their nearest Geberit stockist. The Geberit ProApp is free to download from the App store, Google Play or by scanning the QR code on any Geberit ProApp promotional material. 26 APRIL 2016 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 123 The lastest apps, credible websites and social media are proving invaluble ways of making jobs easier and information more readily available


HPM-04-APR-2016
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