Darran Smith of Alpha Heating Innovation explains the importance of a good manufacturer warranty and how it can greatly impact on customer retention.
From the outset, it is crucial to understand the customer’s lifestyle in order to provide the best advice when they are choosing a new boiler. Under-specifying will lead to the boiler being unable to match the demands of the household; but be careful not to over-specify either, as this will waste energy and make the boiler less efficient.
Demonstrating your expertise in these initial discussions is crucial to building a long-term relationship. If your recommendation proves its worth, the customer will be more likely to put the seal of approval on your business.
What lies beneath
All boilers might look the same to the average customer, but they need to recognise what lies beneath the skin. Installers should consider explaining the size of the boiler and its output. An energy hungry boiler, for instance, will be unsuitable for a one-bedroom and it makes no sense choosing a boiler with insufficient kW output to cope with the heating and hot water requirements of a family home.
There should be benefits to the installer too, which is why product development can focus on making the installation and maintenance processes easier. The compact E-Tec range from Alpha has been designed with the installer in mind. For example, by positioning the majority of components towards the front of the casing, commissioning and servicing is quicker to carry out.
The backlit LCD display and push button controls also mean operation is straightforward for the homeowner, while it has a Class 6 NOx rating, and is Opentherm compatible, so is ideal for use with the latest in energy saving controls.
Customer peace of mind
For the UK market, warranties are often vital to a customer’s decision making process. Being able to offer a longer warranty gives peace of mind and can influence their boiler choice. For example, a wall mounting jig is an accessory that can add either two or three extra years to the warranty of the boiler.
Alpha’s PremierPack comes with a host of features that make boiler installation quicker and easier, such as an integral pipe clip plate with variable fixing points. Once in place, piping-up can be completed prior to the boiler being hung. The boiler fits onto the jig’s shelf bracket and is easily connected. Furthermore, a boiler mounted magnetic cyclone filter uses both centrifugal and magnetic force to remove debris from the heating system and fits directly to the boiler, where it sits neatly and discreetly.
The premier package on the new E-Tec Plus 28/33kW combi boiler will also take the standard 10-year warranty to 13 years. When combined with an annual service, these longer warranties will provide assurance for customers. It’s important to fully explain what the warranty covers and its requirements for validity.
A new App from Alpha, designed for engineers, is currently available for Apple and Android devices, which makes it easier for installers to register their customers’ boilers – an important process to ensure that customers’ warranties are valid. The installer can then be safe in the knowledge that they have provided all the information the customer needs to ensure the warranty remains intact.
This builds a strong relationship with both the customer and the manufacturer, with transparent guidelines ensuring responsibility is understood at all levels. This will, of course, play an important part in retaining repeat business in the long run. Plus, a happy customer will likely recommend an installer to other people.
For any successful heating and plumbing business, the ability to understand a customer’s needs will go a long way when it comes to the selection of the most appropriate heating systems. It also creates an opportunity for installers to up-sell accessories and additional services – generating more income.