028 HPM 0517

HPM May 2017

In the first of HPM’s newest column, Robert Harrison, installer and co-director at Marvel Property Solutions, rants about the importance of punctuality Right then, before we kick off I want you to admit that you’re at fault. No excuses! Oh and if it’s in bold, yes it’s important. If a job has taken longer than you anticipated, the traffic is horrendous, or you have had a family emergency, when it comes to your customers, none of these matter. You aren’t where you have said you were going to be – helping the customers sort their problem. Be under no illusion. To your customer, their dripping tap could appear to be the end of the world. Therefore, you need to suck it up and treat it with the urgency they feel it deserves. If you can’t get there to save the end of the world just stick to the facts and FFS no bullsxxt. ROBERT ’ S R A N T S It’s all about timing Tell the truth. You can spot a lie a mile off. Oh and by the way, 28 telling a customer you can’t get to them because your van has broken down has to be the worst excuse going. What does this say about you as a tradesman? That you can’t maintain your own van! Why should that customer have any faith in your ability as a plumber? It also suggests that you’re not doing so well at plying your trade and that you’re driving a clapped out banger – not the best way to make a good impression. Call the customer if you are running late. You’ll know way ahead of time that you’re running late. You may have had an issue with a job or maybe nightmare traffic (everyone in London will attest to this, the M25 is without a doubt the biggest car park I’ve had the misfortune to find myself in). If you don’t let your customer know you’re running late you are pathetic and you don’t deserve to be in business. Chances are you probably won’t be for very long. You will certainly never get out of the ‘oneman band’ arena, if that’s what you’re deluding yourself you’re going to do. Be the next Pimlico Plumbers, make loads of money – not a chance if you start this way. It is common decency to let someone know if you’re running late. Here is a thought, if you are running late give as much notice as possible. Suggest a two-hour window and say that you will call when you’re 30 minutes or an hour away. Whatever works best for your customer. Why not even say: “what would work best for you?”. After all, you only have a job if you keep your customers happy. As I’ve mentioned, there are thousands of plumbers out there and surprise, surprise they can also fix that leaking tap. You have to be better at making the customer happy with the whole experience. Ensure nobody is waiting around, wondering and hoping you are going to show up. The classic for this one are the big boys on the block. Those guys in the blue vans say they will arrive between 8am and 5.30pm. The customer is expected to take a day off work, wait in the house all day (so you can’t even make the most of this time), and the icing on the cake, if there is no parking within 100 yards they won’t hang around to find a space. We hear horror stories from our customers but I’d love to hear more. It’s like that sick part of your brain that slows down to look at the crash on the motorway (yes the one that’s caused you to be late again). Using the enquiry number at the bottom of the page, send in your atrocious customer experience and the best/worst (well you know what I mean) and win a free service worth £150 from Marvel. Right then, in summary. Don’t over promise and under deliver. I know it’s tempting to fill your day to the brim with customers and make the most you can in the day, but if you don’t leave yourself any breathing space your customers will get let down. It is far better to say that you can’t make it and give them a number of another engineer than not show up. So another top tip is ‘buddy up’. We all know other engineers. Find one that has the same values as you and help each other. Be the hero and help them find a decent engineer. Yes, you don’t get that money, but you will never get it again if you mess someone around. Your buddy will thank you and likely send you some custom when they are flat out. Keep your customers in the loop and treat them as human beings. Call and let them know what is going on. Offer options and above all, remember that you don’t have a business without their business. Find Marvel on Twitter: @marvelplumbers www.hpmmag.com May 2017 Punctuality is always appreciated, but if you are running late, be honest with your customer about it “If you don’t let your customer know you’re running late you are pathetic” enquiry number 118 Make sure to keep your customer informed, and never over book yourself


HPM May 2017
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