While choosing a product that is easy to install and cost-effective with optimum energy efficiency credentials is high on the agenda for many contractors, how can they take advantage of services beyond the product? Andy Green, Technical Director at Baxi Heating explains how value-added services can help contractors to stay competitive and prepare for the future.
In a recent survey, Baxi Heating found that 71% of contractors are conscious of competition growing in their sector. In such a competitive market, and especially post-COVID, it makes perfect business sense to try and standout. While ensuring team punctuality, unparalleled customer service and quality installs are all essential to earn customer loyalty, it’s important to note that good manufacturers will offer additional services that can bring considerable advantages to contractors. From making the most of manufacturer training to accessing telephone and on-site technical support as and when necessary, contractors should be aware of these additional value-added perks.
A critical aspect of staying ahead of the competition is keeping abreast of the latest products, services and legislation. While our survey found 53% think there should be more certification and compliance to keep standards high, 68% of contractors agree certification and compliance is going to take up more of their time. What’s more, 58% of those surveyed 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 to help to ease concerns.
During lockdown, manufacturers like Baxi Heating have provided live online product training courses to enable installers to keep their knowledge up to date while adhering to physical distancing guidance. As restrictions ease and purpose-built training facilities re-open, commercial heating installers can refine their skills and gain practical experience on how to correctly install and maintain products in a real-world environment. 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.
Lengthy warranties provide the end user with welcome peace of mind. Many manufacturers are able to offer free extended warranties and free warranty registrations, making the process simpler and more cost-effective. It’s often the case that if a heating system is commissioned by the manufacturer, then the warranty is more substantial.
Genuine Parts Availability
Unlike domestic boilers, 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.
Opting to use genuine parts ultimately helps to ensure the reliability and longevity of a heating system as the components are designed, tested and approved to work alongside the specific products. As such, these official spares meet the required safety and quality standards and will play a part in validating a boiler’s warranty. What’s more, genuine spare parts are guaranteed to fit better and more easily, saving installers valuable time and costs.
It’s also worth noting that some manufacturers offer installers comprehensive service kits – including only genuine spare parts – for their products that contain all the components required to complete a full recommended boiler service on the first visit. Potterton Commercial, for example, is currently offering free service kits as well as free commissioning and a free extended warranty with its wall hung and floor standing boiler ranges to help its installers maximise efficiency savings for building owners and end users in a timesaving, cost-effective way.
The level of technical support available, pre- and post-sale, from providing help during the initial planning stages of a project right through to installation and aftersales is hugely important. Contractors should look for manufacturers that offer 24-hour telephone support and on-site assistance depending on the circumstances, 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 as quickly as possible.
Above and Beyond
While the above outlines essential offerings that contractors should be looking out for from heating equipment suppliers, this list isn’t exhaustive. 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.
The importance of being able to access additional and evolving manufacturer support and benefits shouldn’t be underestimated as these services help contractors resolve daily demanding challenges and assist them in attracting, rewarding and retaining their customer base.
Price, speed and ease of installation are all primary considerations for contractors and installation teams. But support outside of the core product, such as after-specification, purchase and sales support are equally key when it comes to deciding on what commercial heating system to specify, buy or install for a new project. And in today’s challenging times, identifying and making use of these value-added services is arguably more significant than ever.