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5 Ways to keep customer relations at the optimum.

We all want to keep our customers happy, but sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees here's 5 simple tips that will help you keep your customers happy and coming back for more. 

1) Keep in regular contact with your customers, send them an email or SMS at christmas just to let them know you still exist, things that are really cheap but keeps you in their minds. Don't always go in for the sell.

2)  Keep them informed of any changes, most of the time people can deal with something when they know the script, by keeping your customers in the dark that for example your going to be late, just infuriates them, if they know you're not turning up they can plan to go out etc.
3) In Your Gas Reports, Invoices or Emails always thank them for their custom, its not much but the little things start adding up.
4) Give good terms in your Quotes or Invoices. Let them know exactly what is expected of each other, be totally transparent and ask them to sign job sheets and invoices. If they signed it, it means they agreed at the time, they can't change their mind afterwards.
5) Offering discounts, there are always many theories on this one - everyone likes to reward good customers, in your invoices offer a discount even if its negligible, some of our users even inflate the price to then offer the discount, if the discount can be seen it makes them feel special, everyone likes to feel special.
The moto here is keep your friends close but your customers closer.



The use of smartphones and tablets in the plumbing and Heating industry

As we begin 2014, we can feel a real shift of the momentum of the use of smartphone, tablet, iPad and iPhone software for recored keeping, business running and gas certification.

5 years ago you may well have seen the adverts in the gas magazines for the very expensive software which would run on a very expensive PDA. You probably phoned up to enquire of the cost and most probably fell off your chair.

Thanks to a small company in America things have changed. This company offered a brilliant platform to create mini softwares using an intuitive platform with absolutely no bounds.

It probably took a year or so before people were thinking of a system that could be built which would make it easier and faster to create records such as Invoices, Gas Certificates, Job Sheets and other documents for the plumbing and heating industry.

Such was the popularity another small American corporation decided to launch an alternative, these are now known as iOS (Apple) and Android (google).

Its inevitable that year on year we will see more and more people shifting from paper to electronic and why wouldn't you? Why would you consider sticking with the mundane paper trail when electronic has so many benefits. If your still cautious or indecisive about the shift you should really read on.

So Why are Electronic Gas Certificates and Reports so much better than paper?

Don't get me wrong we love paper, you can draw on it, write on it and fold it to make paper aero-planes but its time is over in the gas world. Paper is actually a hindrance as you have to file it, copy it, store it, and retrieve it....all these are hard to do when you're busy.

Anything written on paper is a waste of time. The data is static which means it cant be lifted and therefore worthless....Well not worthless but to make it onto something valuable will require an expensive resource called staff.

This is where the power of computers and technology is really making a huge difference - inputting data - every packet of data you enter is then stored and can be lifted and used in future. So this saves time with repeat manual entry.

This data is extremely important as each packet can be stored on the device and in the cloud. The data contains important information about your job and your customer. Gas Checker pulls this data for you and presents it back to you in an easy manageable system.

Gas Checker takes your clients details (packets) and stores them in a customer database, it then also takes the core gas certificate packets and generates annual reminders from those packets so you constantly get fed jobs you did 11 months prior. From this reminder we integrate SMS messaging, email and letter printing which quickly allows you to contact the customer to re arrange the appointment bringing repeat business in one big never ending loop.

These are all automated features that Gas Checker has that you don't even realise is happening. All the big corporations do this and now have automated systems working in the background and processing data that would only happen by employing manual labour if using paper.

Slowly but surely paper will disappear, we can see it happening in every are you ready? Or are you going to wait until the very last minute? We ask you to take a serious look at our software. The features already help lots of independent heating companies in the UK to fight the big corporations like british gas, help link and eon who are muscling in on the industry with their big budget adverts and astronomical prices.


Scrap Metal, Recycling and the effect on Gas Engineers and plumbers

2013 saw a big shake up in scrap metal world in the UK, so Gas Checker went to see James Varley (Director) at one of the UK's most successful scrap metal recyclers  Morecambe Metals to find out what this all means for Gas Engineers, Plumbers and Heating Engineers. Twitter @morecambemetals

Gas Checker put a series of questions to James to clarify exactly what's new and what it all means.

 1)   So what has changed in 2013 in the scrap metal world? 

The biggest change is the introduction of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.


2)     Why has the Scrap Metal Act 2013 been introduced?

 The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 came into force on 1 October 2013 in England and Wales and replaces the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and the Legal Aid, Punishment and Sentencing of Offenders (LAPSO) Act 2012 (where the banning of cash payments for scrap metal came into force). The changes aim to remove the rewards that make metal theft such a low risk criminal enterprise for metal thieves and unscrupulous dealers.

 Any business that buys or sells scrap metal must be registered with their local authority as a scrap metal dealer under the 2013 Act- trading without a licence is a criminal offence.


3)  How does the new scrap laws effect Gas Engineers, Heating Engineers and Plumbers?

 Tradepersons will not require a scrap metal dealer's licence if buying or selling scrap metal is an incidental function of their business (eg being a plumber).


4)    What is a waste transfer license ? 

 From January 2014, you need to register as a waste carrier if you regularly transport waste as part of your business. You can be fined up to 5,000 if you don't register.

You must register as a waste carrier, broker or dealer if you do any of the following as part of your business:

1)     transport your own waste regularly (from January 2014)

2)     transport construction or demolition waste (even if it's a one off)

3)     transport or dispose of waste for someone else

4)     buy or sell waste

5)     act as a waste broker (arrange for someone to handle other people's waste)


 5) Do Gas Engineers, Heating Engineers and Plumbers recycling Scrap metal such as copper need a waste transfer license?

 Yes you need to purchase a waste transfer license



 6) Do you need ID as in a passport or driving license to to sell scrap metal?


 Anybody selling scrap metal needs to provide the appropriate identification;

a valid UK passport; or

a valid passport issued by a European Economic Area state; or

a valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland photo-card driving licence; or

a valid UK biometric immigration document;

provided the document referred to contains the person's full name, photograph and residential address; or, you may refer instead to one of the above documents which contains the person's full name, photograph and date of birth, together with one of the following supporting documents, containing the person's full name and residential address:

a bank or building society statement;

a credit or debit card statement;

a council tax demand letter or statement;

a utility bill (e.g. gas, electricity, water), but not a mobile phone bill

provided that the date on which the supporting document was issued is not more than 3 months before the date when the scrap metal is sold.



 7)   Can you still get paid cash for selling scrap metal to a scrap metal merchant?

 The overriding requirement is for transactions to have traceability and to provide an effective audit trail. All transactions therefore must be either by cheque or an electronic transfer of funds, both of which mean that the payment will be linked to a readily identifiable account, for the payee and the payer.



Manufactures after your customers?
Gas Checker has been getting calls, email and tweets regarding manufacturers trying to poach customers away from the very hand that feeds them - the installers.

It's becoming apparent that when you notify a boiler install or register a guarantee the manufacturer will add your customers to their central database and roughly 12 months later will send them a nice letter or email to say they need their boiler servicing and that they should sign up their maintenance contact.
This just isn't right and its a bit naughty, thats why Gas Checker has developed its Automated Annual Service Reminder. Gas checker has built a brilliant system that allows you to send SMS, Email and Letter reminders to your customers exactly 11 months after you last visited your customers property. This will give you enough time to book in any service or job before the manufactures letter turns up. All the emails and letters are fully customisable with all your logo's and company information so they look really professional, you can also change the wording to suit your companies needs.


DON'T let the big boys take over lets group together and fight these guys who try and muscle in your business and customers.


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