Heating, Ventilating & Plumbing
Work smarter, not harder
Published:  28 September, 2015

Carrie Young looks at how installers can make the most of their smartphones or tablets and the business support tools available to them

In our modern society we are constantly looking to improve the way we work and fit more into the working day.  In recent years, smart phones and tablets have completely changed the way we conduct our business, communicate with customers and complete our admin. Smart phones and tablets are invaluable tools for installers to help keep track of their businesses when they are out at work.

Information at your fingertips                        

There’s a wealth of information to be accessed online from your smart phone or tablet wherever you are working. Manufacturers’ websites often feature product information including installation guides, information videos on current industry topics such as ErP and booking information for their training courses. Product manuals, infographics and leaflets are also widely available and can be downloaded and emailed directly to your customers.

Many modern websites are optimised for smart phone and tablet use meaning that all the information appears in the same way that it would on a regular PC screen, making finding what you need is quick and easy.

Connect with customers

The popularity of smart phones and tablets means that the world of social media is an enormous resource for installers. While tradesmen often still rely on word of mouth for new business, the evolution of the likes of Facebook and Twitter mean there is a constant stream of engagement and conversation on the day-to-day happenings of the world around us.

Social media is a quick and easy way to bring in new business, particularly during slower times of the year, and setting up a profile takes no more than a few minutes. Websites such as Buffer and Hootsuite offer a free scheduling service for tweets and Facebook posts meaning you can engage with your customers and promote your business even when you are busy on a job. Loyal customers will often tweet about excellent service they’ve received as well as recommending you to their online followers.

Social media sites are also great for keeping up to date with industry hints and tips as well as the latest product information. Many manufacturers use Twitter to engage both installers and endsuers providing an additional avenue of communication. Facebook also has many discussion groups such as Gas Chat where you can engage with your fellow installers to discuss current industry happenings.

Better Business Apps

Business apps are also a great way to increase the efficiency of your working day. For example, some manufacturers have apps which enable you keep up to date with registering your customers’ boilers while you’re still in their homes. Admin tasks such as warranty registration, Gas Safe notification and claiming loyalty scheme reward points can be completed in just a couple of minutes rather than waiting until you are back in the office.

With the introduction of the new ErP regulations, manufacturers are also including ErP calculators within their apps. Fault-finding tools, product literature and installation assistance such as flueing information and product dimensions are also often accessible via manufacturers’ apps.

A vast proportion of business tools you may already use and be familiar with for scheduling appointments or managing your accounts are also available in app form. There are even apps available to enable you to take a customer payment via your phone. Such tools are invaluable for time saving and enable you to book a job or issue an invoice without having to wait to be back at your office.

Keeping one step ahead

The heating industry is a constantly changing environment with ever advancing technologies and changes in regulation. Staying ahead to succeed demands knowledge and a savvy approach; it has never been more important or a better time to make use of the resources available to you to work your business hard and get the most out of it. The heating season will rapidly be upon us and the tools you need to make this the best winter yet for your business are not just the ones in the back of your van!

Carrie Young is head of marketing at Ideal Boilers