Top tips for installers to build stronger relationships with their customers

Steve Lister – Sales & Marketing Director for Worcester Bosch – discusses why trust between installers and homeowners is key and how you can build stronger relationships.
Today every profession and business is built through trust. Customers who trust brands or people are more likely to return.
Recent research shows that customers are just as brand and reputation conscious in selecting business partners as big consumer brands are. The situation for installers is no different, and while the installer may not think they have to worry about their ‘brand’, replace that with the word ‘reputation’ and you get the picture.
Installers do have long-standing customers, but what can you do to help evoke trust and show professionalism to a potential new customer? There are a number of things, and the impression you give when you arrive is key.
First impressions count
Recently, I was chatting to an installer who had quoted for a boiler replacement that had come in at £200 more expensive than another quote – a big hike when consumer wallets are tight.
Naturally, the customer asked him to drop his price, but he stuck to his guns.
As well as explaining what the customer’s long-term savings would be – from product quality, to warranty to after-sales support – he was also reassuringly professional in all aspects.
For example, when visiting the customer for the first time he was on time, well-presented and friendly. He put shoe covers over his boots to protect the customer’s floors. He reassured the homeowner that their pets were no trouble and took time to listen to their concerns. All of these simple considerations demonstrated why he was worth the extra cost and resulted in him winning the job over lower-priced competition.
Tidy cab = tidy mind
In every profession there is an essential tool. For a footballer it’s their boots for a doctor, their stethoscope and for a journalist their notepad. For installers, it is their vans and what they contain, parts and tools.
Many of you reading this will already know the importance of your equipment, from van to tools, keeping them up-to-date and pristine.
However, recently a van-driver was fined and given points on their licence because their van was so untidy it was dangerous. The footwell was covered in rubbish, so much so that there was a risk of restricting the pedals.
This is, of course, extreme, but something the officers put on the report resonated with me: “A tidy cab = tidy mind.”
If you arrive at a house in a visibly dirty van, the customer will take note. It might not be the deciding factor over selecting a competitive quote, but it could cause them to have an unfair idea about you before you’ve even entered the house. Also, having a clean well maintained van with logos on it, contact details and service offerings on is a great marketing tool when you’re out and about… you never know who might be looking.
Drive off with £10k of prizes
Worcester Bosch has teamed up with Installer for our Pimp My Van competition, offering installers a chance to win a mega haul of prizes, worth a staggering £10k.
You can win a complete van makeover and service from Worcester Bosch, along with a brand new toolkit and a Greenstar 8000 Style to boot!
Click here for your chance to win.
Be prepared
Once you are talking to the customer, make sure you have everything at your disposal.
For example, technical brochures, videos and customer testimonials. This will help show off your knowledge.
If you win the job, then ensure that you have the relevant parts to hand in the van, as well as the correct tools for the job. Just so you don’t have to disappear to get them and take up more of your customer’s time than necessary.
On the subject of time, it is best to be ahead of schedule instead of behind. When delays do happen, a quick phone call to let the customer know your ETA is vital and an apology is never wasted.
I was talking to one customer recently who told me that an installer not only came out on Christmas Eve, but they came back again with a replacement part later that evening, providing brilliant customer service, well beyond expectation.
Quality counts
I must say, I do feel like I’m preaching to the converted. Installers are one of the only professions where you have to retrain every five years – at that kind of regularity any homeowner should know that they can trust an installer.
But when buying a boiler, it can sometimes be forgotten that people are not just paying for the product, but the installer and service that comes with it. A high-quality boiler should come with high-quality service, so why not demonstrate that from the very beginning when you drive up in your van?
Installer’s Viewpoint – Matt Hughes, Platinum Boiler Installations, Walsall, West Midlands.
How do you help your customers?
I always carry ID cards – both the company’s and my Gas Safe card. This means the customer knows exactly who they are dealing with and shows I am fully qualified.
I suggest they go on Trustpilot or Which? and do their research on both the boiler I’m fitting and their old one. That way they can make an informed decision.
I also believe overshoes in a customer’s house are essential.
What does professional mean to you?
You have to look the part on arrival. Branded workwear and a fully branded van are a must. You definitely have to be clean – first impressions always count.
Also having an information brochure shows you are professional.
When replacing a boiler there is a lot of information for a customer to take in, such as different systems or different boilers. You don’t want to overwhelm or confuse them, so I always leave a brochure. It gives them the knowledge they need to choose the right boiler.
Another thing is to treat each house and customer differently.
The customer may want to operate the new boiler in a certain way, or there may be a high demand for hot water. Being professional means being flexible with your work. Also, everything needs to be checked thoroughly and no corners cut.
One massive one for me is to have your landline number and address visible on your website or van. For my customers, this means they know I’m not only local but also they have my address so if there is an issue they can find me. It builds that little bit of extra trust with the customer, which is essential.

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