This year, the efficiency of our home heating and hot water systems has been more important than ever - with most of us relying on them now 24 hours a day. Here Richard Geldard, our Customer Service Director, outlines what we have done at Alpha, and continue to do, to ensure that we can provide the highest levels of support for our customers.
So far, 2020 has been extremely challenging for everyone. Minimising the impact of COVID-19 on our installers, homeowners and commercial customers as much as possible will continue to be the top priority for the foreseeable future. As such, we have taken steps to guarantee the highest level of customer service. From the very beginning of the pandemic, we ensured that our helpline team would be ready to work remotely, with a level of flexibility that has allowed us to respond as the situation evolved over the weeks and months.
The Head Office Team
As soon as we were able to, we made the decision to move half our helpline team back to the head office meaning that tasks which could only be completed from there, such as mailing out documents, could be completed. With the other half of our helpline team still working from home, we effectively created two ‘bubbles’ that could then be switched if needed. During the most recent change in restrictions, we moved the majority of our helpline team back to working from home, while keeping a minimal number of staff in the office to support those working remotely.
Despite these changes, customers calling our helpline will have noticed very little difference. This was our aim from the start and was only possible through the hard work of our IT team to equip us with the tools we needed and through the cooperation of our staff.
Establishing robust processes for working remotely has allowed us greater flexibility and in turn helped us to provide better service. For example, it has meant we are now able to provide a greater level of helpline support at weekends. This will be particularly crucial throughout the winter months when there is always more demand on heating engineers and our wider team.
Customers who have had an engineer visit over the last nine months will have noticed a number of changes to our procedures that have allowed the work to be carried out safely. For example, when arranging any home visit, our helpline team check that it is safe to do so and that the customer is happy for the engineer to enter the property. The engineer then checks again immediately prior to arriving and finds out where the boiler is and goes straight there. Members of the household are asked to remain elsewhere and then our engineer informs them when the work has been completed. This process has allowed us to carry out emergency fixes as well as recommence regular servicing and maintenance visits.
Another key part of our offering to installers has long been our product training courses. Although we are not currently able to offer in-person training, we have been able to work around this by creating more online resources for installers and developed new webinars for both our domestic and commercial ranges.
While this year has been challenging and far from business as usual, we have learnt a great deal about the support our customers and installers value and we have been required to look for innovative, new solutions to problems. As we head into the winter months, we believe this has made us a stronger team, with total flexibility to deliver the service our customers need going forward.