The Benchmark app was launched earlier this year, digitising the scheme. We caught up with Chris Jessop, Chair of the Benchmark Steering Committee, to find out how the launch has gone.
The Benchmark Checklist became digital in March this year. How has the transition away from the paper-based system gone?
The launch of the app has been well received by industry so far. As with any big change, there are learnings to made and actioned along the way, but it is also worth highlighting that this initial launch is very much the first version of the app. Updates are already under way in the background, which will seek to incorporate emerging and alternative heating technologies.
Transitioning away from the paper-based Benchmark system is something that is important, not least in keeping pace with the rapid digitalisation across much of the heating and plumbing world. It is a significant change for the industry, which is where it is important that we support heating engineers to adapt. It is heartening that we are already seeing an enthusiastic response to this move away from the more traditional paper and pen system, as the many benefits of doing so become increasingly clear.
What kind of reaction has there been from heating engineers?
Overall, there has been a positive response from those who have incorporated the Benchmark app into their day-to-day work. There is an understanding of how it will create a more streamlined process and encourage a greater awareness of servicing among homeowners – which can serve as an additional revenue stream for plumbing and heating engineers.
As is the case with any new digital platform, there have been challenges, and areas of functionality that need to be adjusted to enhance the user experience. This is where the feedback from the installer network has been, and continues to be, invaluable in shaping the future of the app.
There are two apps – one for installers and one for homeowners. What’s the state of play with each?
Since the installer app launched, the uptake has been good, and it continues to grow. The homeowner app is close to completion – it is currently being tested and is planned to be launched in the coming months.
It will serve as a kind of ‘boiler passport’ for consumers, providing access to their own boiler history and engineer details, raising general awareness along the way. The homeowner app will help to generate more registrations, as well as offer a friendly reminder when a customer’s service is due, saving engineers the legwork of reaching out.
Are you planning any amendments or improvements to the app?
Work is already underway on improvements and updates to the app, which are predominantly based on feedback from the installer network, as well as the manufacturers who have supported the venture thus far. This is alongside the planned additions as part of the next phase of the project, largely centred on introducing a greater range of compatible heating systems.
The Benchmark Installer app is very much a live piece of software. We intend to continuously update it as and when required – whether that’s emerging technologies or based upon user feedback. Ultimately, it is there to improve standards across the industry, and help plumbing and heating engineers to meet their busy schedule, ahead of what is sure to be a busy boiler season.