In a week that United Airlines had $180 million written off its value because of an item on You Tube that gave details in song about a broken guitar and received over 3.9 million views, 1st Action held a seminar which was attended by over 100 Plumbers and Heating Engineers in London.

Richard Clarke, the company chairman addressed the audience in Ruislip and stressed how the internet had empowered the consumer.
It had always been important for any tradesman who was working in a customer’s house to respect both the property and the privacy of the home but in 2009 it was even more important to maintain the goodwill of every customer.

He outlined the protection offered to consumers through Trading Standards, Consumer Direct and Citizens Advice and the role of TV programmes like ‘Rogue Traders’ or independent website directories such as ‘Trust a Trader’

‘It is now so easy for any consumer to register their dissatisfaction to the whole world through the internet’ he said.

‘It is against this background that you must build a good relationship with your customers. At 1st Action we have already increased our customer care department to ensure that whenever a plumber, heating engineer or drainage engineer has an appointment we keep the customer informed of his timing and whereabouts.’

‘Good communication is 90% of good customer relations’ he offered ‘The office works to keep the customers informed and if there are problems we try very hard always to deal with them as they arise’

The audience were told that the office will handle 25,000 plumbing, heating and blocked drains jobs over the next 12 months and every customer must be treated as a VIP.

Many plumbers in London have a poor reputation for their customer service but it was highlighted to the plumbers at this seminar just how much the whole company is doing to make sure that these customers are happy customers

In the case of United Airlines a badly handled claim for a broken guitar cost shareholders of United Airlines a $180,000,000 last week but it was good to see that these plumbers in London were aware just how important good customer relations was and also just how powerful the consumer can be on the financial health of a business in the age of the internet