Andy Sharp, Commercial Manager at Stroma Certification, discusses the importance of demonstrating professionalism to ensure you build a positive, trusting, rapport with your clients.
All qualiﬁed electricians will have membership of an approved Competent Person Scheme, such as that operated by Stroma Certiﬁcation. These schemes, and TrustMark, the Government-endorsed quality scheme, exist to prove credibility and competence to a customer. It is a level of reassurance to employ an electrician whose work will be completed to a professional standard.
Professionalism should be at the forefront of any electrician’s mind. There’s no shortage of domestic or commercial competition within the industry. Should a customer view your business as unprofessional, there are many competitors which are readily available to choose from. Achieving the necessary professionalism amongst peers and customers is neither expensive nor time consuming.
The value of a contract to the customer is huge, but many electrician businesses still operate without basic documentary evidence of completed works. A contract should outline the terms of business and clarify what is expected from both the electrician and the customer; a Small Works Contract template can be acquired for a minimal cost online. For a small investment you can present a formal and professional document to your customer on every job.
Presenting yourself to a customer in a professional manner carries a lot of weight as there’s no physical shop window for an electrician. Customers gain an impression of your skills via your email/telephone manner, your website or by viewing positive reinforcement sources such as Stroma’s approved members search or the TrustMark website. Word of mouth travels extremely fast, especially in today’s social media friendly world. By acting professionally, an electrician can gain an immediate headstart over the competition.
“Presenting yourself to a customer in a professional manner carries a lot of weight as there’s no physical shop window for an electrician.”
Carol Brady, chair of the board of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and TrustMark director deﬁnes trade professionalism as, “Someone who puts the customer ﬁrst, who knows when they can and can’t meet customers’ demands, and has the right skills, knowledge and experience. They’re capable, competent, responsible and do what they say they will do.”
This deﬁnition encompasses a broad range of competencies and behaviours and is practiced by many TrustMark registered tradespeople and ﬁrms. They include:
● Corporate image – tradespeople are improving the presentation of their business with their branding, uniform, transport livery and digital tools.
● Business management – iPads are becoming the business management tool of choice to showcase projects, generate quotes and paperwork, and provide photographic project records on site.
● Growing the workforce and their competence – reputable businesses are faced with the challenge of training and retaining small teams, yet many are investing in their people, and boast loyal personnel.
● Customer collaboration – reputable tradespeople guide the customer throughout each stage of a project. Some businesses have developed tools and processes to do this, in addition to TrustMark’s, and its scheme operators’, advice for homeowners.
● Respecting the customer’s home and neighbourhood – it is not always possible to prevent the dirt, dust and noise during work, but many businesses have behavioural policies in place to minimise disruption.
● Professional project management – tradespeople have a responsibility to keep themselves, staﬀ and homeowners safe by minimising waste, responsibly disposing waste, limiting security risks, embedding safe working practices and collaborating with tradespeople, sub-contractors, suppliers and Building Control.
● Converting good practice into good business – satisﬁed customers, repeat business and recommendations can ensure reputable tradespeople generate work and receive the recognition they deserve.