As we adjust to what the ‘new normal’ means for our daily lives and how we operate our businesses, Tom Hood, UK sales director from ADEY shares some thoughts and advice on how installers can maximise the business opportunities available as lockdown eases.
After a period when many installers will have been working purely on emergency breakdowns, and routine heating system services will have been cancelled or postponed, there is an opportunity to re-engage with customers and re-educate alongside professionalising their business.
With many homeowners now tightening their purse strings, they have become increasingly aware of the costs involved with household appliances, that said, there is a need for vital assets such as central heating to last as long as possible. With this shift comes an opportunity for installers to have more insightful conversations with their customers about what is causing any issues they may have and, ultimately, what solutions they can offer to future-proof their system.
With many homeowners confined to their properties since March, they may have become increasingly aware annoyances with their heating system such as water not getting hot or radiators not working as well as they once did. With this new awareness comes an opportunity for installers to have more insightful conversations with their customers about what is causing these issues and, ultimately, what solutions they can offer.
To help encourage and unlock these conversations, ADEY is providing online content aimed at homeowners for installers to use and share on their own websites and social media channels.
So, what can installers do to increase earning potential in these challenging times?
According to independent research carried out by ADEY, 80% of all boiler breakdowns in their first five years are due to sludge, resulting in 6 million service callouts per year, ultimately costing the UK over £700 million in unexpected bills annually.
Despite these statistics, there still exists the obstacle of upselling additional services that will guarantee a healthier system and longer life of their heating systems, such as a new filter, system flush or chemical treatment, with consumers naturally more careful about expenditure during this uncertain period.
MAKING THE PROBLEM VISIBLE
The problem with dirty water is that it is inside heating systems and hidden away from the eyes of homeowners who would likely be horrified at the sight of sludge build-up inside their system. But out of sight means out of mind. Consequently, it’s up to heating engineers to bring the issue of dirty water to light, for example, a solid approach is to set up the problem and then offer the solution; in other words, help the householder to understand sludge and how it affects poorly treated heating systems.
Use of the ADEY RapidTest magnet, an ADEY Quick Test inhibitor strip, or using items such as ADEY’s MagnaClean demo jar gives the homeowner a visual demonstration of what’s happening inside their system.
PROTECTING THE UK’S HEATING
The next step is to help the householder understand the damaging effects that corrosion can have on heating systems, and what it means for their comfort and pocket. Of course, there are potentially many problems that can arise, including radiator cold spots, breakdowns, loss of system energy efficiency, excessive noise, invalidation of boiler warranty, or even complete boiler failure. These can cost householders hundreds or even thousands of pounds in extra expenditure. Adey has developed a simple leaflet which can be used to explain sludge and the damage it can cause.
Once customers are aware of, and understand, the problems associated with dirty water, they are much more likely to be interested in hearing about best practice water treatment services that can prevent them.
FUTUREPROOFING YOUR BUSINESS
In addition to working harder to educate homeowners to accept added value products which protect the home for longer, in the wake of such uncertainty, many installers will also be thinking about how they can evolve the ways they offer products and services to generate recurring monthly revenue and provide more stability. There are opportunities to ‘future proof’ their businesses by using remote system monitoring, implementing monthly service plans and better management of personal finance.
Introducing bespoke servicing and monitoring plans are an ideal way to retain customers between servicing and guarantees a regular income during the quieter months. A service and monitoring plan can also give customers the peace of mind that their system will be looked after and maintained, whilst at the same time helping to spread the cost over a period of time.
You may think this is only possible for big companies, but it isn’t. Service and monitoring plans can be simple to introduce and a great way to grow and retain income with the right partner to help you do so.
With the ADEY MagnaClean Professional3 Sense filter, installers are now able to remotely monitor their customer’s heating system of sludge which as we have said, is the number one cause of boiler breakdown. This service does not have to come for free and can be added on as a small charge to a monthly service plan.
Whilst it is encouraging that we are now moving into more of a bounce-back phase, it’s vital not to become complacent when it comes to safe practices such as social distancing and hygiene. To protect the safety of both the installer and homeowner, work should only be carried out in a household which is not self-isolating or at risk of contracting coronavirus. The exception is to fix a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency repairs and the customer consents to the installer carrying out the work.
Despite the current climate, there are still opportunities for installers to grow their business and prepare for the future, and with so many homeowners now acutely aware of potential issues or peculiarities with their heating systems, installers should re-engage now while they are still front of mind.