Finding value outside the box

Heating product choices should be based or more than just what’s behind the casing. Andy Green, Technical Director at Potterton Commercial, explains how a manufacturer’s value-added services can help contractors to stay competitive and prepare for the future.

In the competitive commercial market, it makes business sense to take advantage of manufacturer resources that will help you stand out in the crowd. While things like punctuality, customer service and quality installs are all essentials to earning customer loyalty, there are additional services provided by manufacturers that contractors can take advantage of, particularly in the light commercial space. From making the most of training to accessing phone and on-site technical support when necessary, contractors should be aware of the additional perks that heating manufacturers offer.

Training edge

A crucial aspect of staying ahead of the competition is keeping abreast of the latest products, services and legislation. In a recent survey undertaken by Potterton Commercial, it found that 53% of contractors think there should be more certification and compliance to keep standards high, and 68% agree that certification and compliance is going to take up more of their time. What’s more, 58% admitted that keeping up with new technology is going to become harder. As such, it is crucial for contractors to make the most of manufacturer-led training which can help to ease these concerns and is often run free of charge.

A typical training course will offer practical installation, commissioning and maintenance tips alongside advice on specifying the correct appliance for requirements and legislation updates to help installers to stay up to date and remain compliant. It’s also a great way to network with like-minded individuals to share knowledge and advice.

It is also important to opt for genuine parts to help ensure the reliability and longevity of a heating system Use components designed, tested and approved to work perfectly alongside the specific manufacturer’s products. Official spares meet the required safety and quality standards and will play a part in validating a boiler’s warranty. Most manufacturers will have a dedicated spares offering, and in the case of Potterton Commercial, thousands of genuine replacement parts are available for the entire product range, for up to 10 years after a product has been discontinued.

Genuine spares

Commercial heating installations tend to have a minor and major service on an annual basis as a minimum, with various other checks likely to take place. Given this and the need to avoid downtime in commercial buildings, commercial contractors should ensure they have reliable and speedy access to genuine spares, as and when they need them.

When choosing a commercial boiler, lengthy warranties are crucial to giving the end user peace of mind. Many manufacturers are able to offer free extended warranties and free warranty registrations. Often is the case that if a heating system is commissioned by the manufacturer, then the warranty is more substantial.

Technical support

The level of technical support available pre- and post-sale is hugely important. Contractors should look for manufacturers that offer 24-hour telephone support and on-site assistance, but also those that offer a range of technical literature such as maintenance guidelines, technical specifications and installation guides. With a contractor’s reputation based on how well a piece of equipment runs from the moment of installation, this two-pronged approach will ensure the most appropriate solutions are chosen for customers and if problems do occur on site, they are resolved quickly.

In addition to all this, contractors should seek out manufacturers that go above and beyond. The importance of being able to access additional business support and benefits shouldn’t be underestimated. At Potterton Commercial, the likes of design services, a solid BIM offering, online tools/apps, and dedicated area sales managers all help to support contractors in their day-to-day role and to encourage customer buy-in.

While price, speed and ease of installation are all primary considerations for contractors and installation teams, support outside of the core product such as after-specification, purchase and sales support are important factors when it comes to deciding on what commercial heating system to specify, buy or install for a new build project. As such, these features are equally important for manufacturers to consider too.

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