Keeping customers happy

Here at Access Training, we help you to learn the skills and theory needed to potentially start your own business as a professional tradesperson.

However, with so many different skills to learn, its easy for newly-qualified tradespeople to overlook one of the most important parts of their new career: customer service.

Luckily, this blog post is dedicated to that very topic. If you're hoping to start a trade business and be your own boss, read on and take note - this one's for you!

 

Keeping customers happy

Whether you've trained as an electrician, a gas fitter or a plumber, a big part of running any successful business is the ability to keep your customers happy and meet their expectations.

Providing top-quality customer service and maintaining a high standard of work is key to retaining customers and generating repeat business. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

 

Understanding your customer

Any good customer service training advisor will tell you that knowing your target demographic is a wise move for any business owner, particularly those in a trade where competition from other specialists is high.

Understanding the individual needs of the customer is the easiest and simplest way to provide them with the service they want and expect. Researching your target demographic and the industry you're in can help you to identify this.

Do your homework on the industry you're entering, and identify best practices to ensure your own services tick all of the boxes. Take time to find out what your customer wants from a business like yours and how they expect you to meet their needs.

 

Interacting with customers

While customer service is often overlooked in favour of the job-specific fundamentals and skills, it can be just as important in terms of the success of your business. After all, even top-notch workmanship can be sullied by rudeness and a bad attitude.

Naturally, Joe Public will warm to you more if you treat him well, being both friendly and courteous throughout the job. It can also make the overall experience a lot more enjoyable and pain-free for all parties involved.

Meanwhile, don't be afraid to ask questions when speaking with the customer. Hearing their needs and wants straight from the horse's mouth can go a long way in helping you tailor your service to their needs, while the courtesy can also leave you and your business smelling of roses.

 

Meeting customer expectations

Above all else, the quality of your work should speak for itself. The customer is paying for a service, and that service should be of the highest possible standard.

Don't settle for mere adequacy - always aim to go above and beyond, and try to leave every customer feeling valued, satisfied and content.

 

Dealing with issues

There will inevitably be times where things don't quite go to plan, and how you deal with these issues can help you salvage your customer relationship and keep your clients from looking elsewhere.

If you encounter an issue during a job, take time to reinforce the fact that you will strive to rectify any problems as quickly and effectively as possible. Doing so in a friendly and open manner can endear you to the customer and help to improve customer retention.

Provided you leave the customer with an end result that fixes the issue and does so with minimal impact to them, any issues you've encountered or hiccups along the way can usually be forgiven, while your efforts to fix said issue can actually strengthen the relationship further.

Interested in learning a trade and becoming your own boss? Take a look at our range of trade training courses below!

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Good customer service: everyone thinks they offer it; no one will admit to bad service unless they have to. But, how can you differentiate ‘good’ from ‘great’ customer service that gains you glowing online reviews, fantastic testimonials and customer recommendations left, right and centre?

If you’re considering training here at Access Training and have aspirations to be the best self-employed tradesman you can be, here are a few tips on how to measure your performance and how you can improve your customer service: More...


Career Change at 30

If you’ve landed on this post, then it seems you're looking for a career change at 30. You may have got to a stage in your life in which your current occupation just doesn’t feel fulfilling - financially, spiritually or physically. You’ve found yourself stuck in a rut in which your working life lacks productivity, stability, motivation and more importantly enjoyment.

But don’t worry, very rarely do people find the right job for them the first time around. Often, people venture down one route only to discover that it hasn’t led them to their desired destination. And if this scenario sounds familiar, it isn’t too late to change your career and take a different route, even at the ripe old age of 30!

Taking the decision to change your career can seem daunting but it’s the most important step towards a more enlightening working life. By not making this step you may be hindered from reaching your true full potential and it might be something you come to regret later down the line.

If you want to find a new career at 30, which is full of enjoyment and fulfilment, read on. 

Tips for a Career Change at 30 

The Biggest Obstacle is Yourself

Changing your career at 30 would be a far easier task without the fear that is brewed by overthinking. But that’s something, as humans, we will always do when faced with an important decision like this.

When making the decision to actively change your life in a dramatic way, the first obstacle to surpass is your own conscience - to let go of the fear of the unknown.

The Question Won’t Be Answered In Your Head

A question which concerns important life-changing situations will naturally provoke much thought. It’s understandable that loads of questions whizz around your mind in long, endless cycles when considering a career change at 30.

But these cycles offer no resolutions. The only way of coming to any definite conclusion is by carrying your motives out in practice. Otherwise, you have no real way of knowing what will work.

It’s Never Too Late!

One of the most deflating thoughts concerning a career change at 30 might be that you’ve missed your chance, that starting again is impossible and that there’s no point in risking your current compromise for another attempt.

This is certainly not the case; the longer you think about it, the longer you do nothing about it, and the longer that time passes. One day, you might find yourself years, perhaps decades, into the future and realising regretfully that it was never really too late!

Here at Access Training, we accommodate a wide variety of accredited trade skill courses for people of practically any age, so don’t let such excuses stop you from making the leap.

Don’t Go it Alone

Big decisions like this require the support of family and friends. Without them to talk through your decisions and to help you out, financially or emotionally, the right path will be much harder to come by.

Whether you talk to your friends asking for career recommendations, or even simply to unload the burden of your thoughts, you will have a far less load to carry on your shoulders. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Do Something, At Least

The worst thing you could do after reading this article is to carry on living complacently in your state of comfortable discomfort.

It doesn’t matter specifically what you do. The vital thing is that you do something, at least. It matters not how big the step is or whether that step is even the right one to take. Just start to build your momentum - even the smallest action will contribute towards something and could even get you that dream new career at 30.

If you are reading this article then chances are you aren’t happy in your current occupation. If this is the case, enquire today about a trade skill course with Access Training and take a positive, and happy, step forward in your career. Our friendly advisers will be happy to guide you towards the right career path.

 

As a parent, your child’s future is of paramount importance to you, especially in today’s unstable working climate. This is why alternative career paths are becoming increasingly popular over the traditional university path. 

Parents around the country are to be forgiven for putting all their faith in universities to provide their child with a safeguarded future. It is believed that university is a way of guaranteeing a successful, or at least stable career.

However, this used to be true, but it sadly isn’t the case today. With so many people now in higher education and gaining degrees, the market is so competitive that those with degrees no longer have the edge they once had. Nowadays, the apparent safety of the university option is much weaker than it used to be which is why so many are considering alternative career paths.  

In fact, university often causes the following concerning questions;

 

  • How will we fund the extortionate cost of our child’s university education?
  • Will our child ever be able to pay off their student debt? 
  • Will they be able to find a job after their degree, even if we do manage to afford it? 

 

University is not necessarily the best way for a school leaver, and certainly not the only way to guarantee a secure, successful career. 

University Does Not Suit Everybody

Over the last decade or so, schools and governments have emphasised the importance and benefits of a university education - but the truth is, it isn’t suitable for everybody.

If your child isn’t particularly academic but has thrived in more practical, hands-on subjects at school, then it might be worthwhile looking at an alternative career - for example, a career in trades.

The UK Trade Industry Is On The Rise

The UK trade industry is currently rebuilding itself at a rapid rate, enjoying strong job security and healthy wages. However, it is currently starved of workers in the UK and is suffering a huge skills shortage. It requires a new surge of labourers to supply a new generation of tradespeople.

With several large-scale projects proposed by the government in the next five years and thousands of homes being built to accommodate the rising population, both demand and wages for tradespeople are very high - it’s more a matter of jobs seeking tradespeople than tradespeople seeking jobs.

It Works Out Cheaper Than University

Studying at an alternative career path in a private college, such as Access Training, works out far cheaper than it’d cost for a three or four-year university degree.

With universities costing thousands upon thousands per term, today’s students are lucky to graduate without being thousands of pounds in debt.

At Access Training, a plumbing, electrical, or gas course cost a fraction of the money needed for three or more years of university tuition fees and all the other costs such as rent, food and bills.

It Takes Less Time to Become Qualified

A typical university course lasts three years - that’s three years of studying before your child gets the opportunity to start earning. And even then, finding well-paid work soon after university is difficult. Chances are, your child might also be in a mountain of debt.

A course at Access Training takes just a matter of weeks and, equipped with a work placement at the end of the course, your child will be propelled into the working world, as a fully qualified trades worker. 

So in the same amount of time it’d take to complete a university degree, you could re-earn the money paid for a training course in an alternative career path ten times over. The question won’t be how long until I’ll be debt free?, but rather how long until I make back what I invested into the course?.

It’s Financially Rewarding

Not only is the demand and job security high in the trade, but tradespeople are very well rewarded for their services. Average wages for plumberselectricians and gas engineers are around £27,000 a year on average, but there are increasing accounts of tradespeople earning anything between £40,000-£100,000 per year, due to the sheer lack of competition and constant demand.

Take the owner of Pimlico Plumbers, Charlie Mullins, for example, the millionaire plumber’ who says that ‘demand for [his] services’ has ‘soared’ in recent years. But the workforce is struggling to keep up with that demand, meaning those who are in the industry ‘can earn up to £100,000 a year’. 

If ever there was a good time to be a tradesperson, that time is now.

Choose Access Training

Ultimately, unless your child has a clear academic motivation, studying at a university may not be the most suitable option. It could result in thousands of pounds’ worth of unnecessary costs, three years or more of valuable time, and all for a degree which may not guarantee your child a stable career or job.

The alternative is far cheaper, far more likely to result in a rewarding, secure career, and will take far less time to achieve. This provides your child with the chance to live and work independently, allowing them the dignifying freedom to be self-sufficient adults.

Does an alternative career path sound appealing to you? Enquire today about a course at Access Training or call us on 0800 345 7492. Our course advisers are always happy to answer any queries you may have.

With the planned building of millions of new homes across the UK well underway, many are also expecting a rise in new buyers over the next few years as Britain enjoys a well-needed construction boom. 

With this in mind, OFTEC - the group responsible for maintaining standards across the domestic oil heating and cooking industry, is offering some practical advice to those first-time buyers who may soon begin their search for the perfect home. This advice isn't just aimed at buyers of brand new homes either - it's especially geared toward those who may take on an existing home and not know what to look for in terms of their heating/hot water systems. Heating problems may be difficult to spot with the naked eye, especially to someone who hasn't done a plumbing training course or extensive gas training, but OFTEC offer these handy bits of advice to make sure you can walk into your new home with both buyer's satisfaction and peace of mind.

Be sure to check the boiler

Has it has had any problems in the past? When was the last time it was serviced? Boilers should be serviced annually for a number of reasons, mainly to make sure that is running efficiently and more importantly safely. If you are really unsure, it might be worth asking the current homeowner if you can have it looked at beforehand by a professional gas engineer.

Check the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

These give potential buyers valuable information about the property's typical energy usage and costs. An EPC grades the property’s energy efficiency from A to G and contains two particularly important areas - current features and recommendations for improving the home. The current features section lists the most significant energy-related features of the property and gives them a star rating based on cost. The recommendations give more information about each energy efficiency measure recommended and explains in general terms how it would improve the energy efficiency of the home.

How much do you know about the hot water system?

How is it heated? It might be worth checking the water pressure to make sure it is all up to scratch.

Know the warning signs

Occurances such as stained/smoke damaged areas around the boiler and flue are not to be ignored and should be treated VERY seriously. If any properties you view have these, make sure that a registered gas safe engineer doesn't just look at them for your safety - but also for the safety of the current homeowners. Other telltale signs of bad maintenance include leaks and staining on carpets near radiators.

Getting the house properly checked

OFTEC recommend getting valuations, an RICS homebuyer’s report or even a full structural survey. The valuation carried out by a mortgage company is not a survey, and will not inform you if there are any defects that materially affect the property’s value.

 

However the most important thing OFTEC recommend is trusting your instinct. if you think there is something wrong with the property, then don't just discard those feelings. However if you get a good feeling this may be the house for you - minor problems can easily fixed by competent tradespeople, but be sure to make sure the costs aren't racking up before you've even moved in!