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Richard Harvey, commercial director for Wolseley Plumb & Parts, discusses the practical advice for installers to share with their own customers in order to give them the time to focus on the most profitable of jobs.
With temperatures dropping and the number of people working from home continuing to rise as coronavirus restrictions continue, we are set for one of the busiest and strangest heating seasons yet. With installers’ diaries expected to be overflowing with jobs, many are feeling the pressure of the anticipated winter workload, so it’s important that what little time we have is spent well.
Avoid the brr-eakdown
Most homeowners already know that their boiler needs servicing annually but not every homeowner goes ahead with the recommended annual service. To help a customer avoid winter breakdowns and costly repairs, installers can educate them about the potential causes of breakdowns and what they can do to prevent them.
Installers can limit the amount of emergency callouts by talking to their customers about common boilers problems. If you’re fitting a new boiler for example, educate your customers on why it will need servicing every year and ensure they understand the benefits of doing so.
Aside from annual servicing being far cheaper than repairing their system in the event of a breakdown, discuss with them the efficiency benefits and the money that can be saved on their energy bills. Remind them of their responsibilities with servicing and how missing services will affect their warranties.
Instead of just relying on your face time with a customer to talk about boiler breakdown preventions, start writing tweets and Facebook posts about central heating top tips. Whether that’s how to fix a leak quickly and efficiently, or how customers can bleed a radiator safety and securely at home. Focus on the low value, small jobs that you usually get called out for which realistically, customers can fix themselves.
Boilers can leak for a variety of reasons, whether that’s due to faulty installations, internal component corrosion or simply old age.
Complaints about a loss of pressure from customers are common but don’t necessarily always need urgent attention unless there is an obvious leak. They’re common in new boiler installations but before getting your customers to call you out unnecessarily, show your customer how to repressurise the boiler and bleed their radiators. This can be done via video calls or over the phone to ensure the customer knows what they are doing but saves the time of a physical call out.
Cleaning is key
Suggesting that your customer has a system flush is a great solution for cleaning the heating system. System flushes improve efficiency and reduce the likelihood of a breakdown caused by “dirt and debris” in the system.
As well as system flushing, and the addition of inhibitors or demineralisation, installers should also ensure that sludge doesn’t enter the boiler’s heat exchanger by fitting an inline filter in all closed loop systems.
Some DIY articles suggest that customers tackle sludge by removing radiators giving them a hose through in the garden, although this clearly is not the recommended course of action. As an installer, it’s important to educate customers on the benefits of having a professional flush system to combat the build-up of sludge.
Power flushing, with its origins in the maintenance of commercial systems, uses specialist equipment to rid the system of corrosion debris and decrease the risk of it happening again and while this method provides exceptional results, it can be a time-consuming task that many customers are unwilling to pay for.
Where’s the heat?
Some customers may call an installer to say their radiators aren’t heating up, or they may even say it’s only the bottom half of the radiator that’s warm. When this happens, it’s fairly easy to fix and 9 times out of 10, it does not require an installer to fix the problem.
If customers are complaining that certain parts of a radiator aren’t getting warm, it will be worth talking them through how to balance the system before you make a visit. It may be handy to create step-by-step videos or documents that you can share with them via social media or text. This allows you to respond quickly and visit customers in more urgent need.
Despite winter being our busiest season, educating customers with some simple tips can prevent common problems from pressure to heat loss, giving you the time to focus on more profitable jobs.
For boilers and heating suppliers, plus a wide range of other plumbing products, visit www.wolseley.co.uk or pop into your local branch.