Word of mouth recommendations are usually highly trusted, so why are more companies not using this communications vehicle?
Someone once remarked that it was a pity that all the most eloquent politicians were busy driving taxi cabs or cutting hair. To those categories you might add plumbers. In my previous blog I drew attention to the surge in one man businesses, companies without other employees. Plumbers are right in there and as with other skilled trades you can learn some interesting things. For a start, they don't come with an apprentice any more. They have scaled back on the size of van they drive, rather than carry lots of spares they use a local stockist as required, just popping in for even the smallest item. When it came to marketing, this plumber had a web site acting more as a testimonial, stressing his experience, but not offering an email. The preference for telephone contact was partly to avoid requests for 'free' quotations which experience showed were often time wasting. He was not aiming to be the lowest priced in town. He also advocated an industry wide adoption of charging for quotes, refundable on acceptance. He had zero expectation of this ever happening of course.
Interesting too his lack of enthusiasm for trades approved web sites which are investing heavily in brand building on TV to act as a portal of preference to people searching for a plumber, heating engineer, electrician etc. Although these trades portal type sites showed up on page 1 of the search, as a customer somehow I wasn't convinced. Instead I searched for local guys who seemed to concentrate on the work I needed doing rather than offer a wide range of additional services.
Know what? I picked out the few likely prospects and asked if anyone knew them. They did. It is not just about price - it is all the service related factors including advice, quality of work and guarantees.