Fight for Plumb Jobs – Evening Standard 4th Nov 2009

Letter from the Chairmans Office
London Plumbers argue in court

I was surprised and disappointed to see two London plumbing firms arguing in public over celebrity customers.

We would like to reassure all our 1st Action customers that their information is absolutely safe with us.

As one of London’s leading plumbing firms, 1st Action has been established in the capital for over fifteen years and we try to treat all our customers as ‘celebrities’

We believe our clients are quite free to use whoever they choose to provide them with the service to solve their plumbing or heating emergency and it is our privilege to be chosen.
25,000 Customers in London choose 1st Action

We are delighted that over 25,000 customers in London each year choose 1st Action.

We have very sophisticated computer software to protect the information that is given to us by all our customers and this information is never disclosed to any other parties.

All our administrative staff with access to this confidential information sign confidentiality agreements within their contracts of employment and would certainly be prosecuted through the courts if we had any evidence of such a breach. I have to say though that in fifteen years we have never had such a case.

We spend many hundreds of thousands of pounds each year advertising our telephone number in directories, the internet and newspapers to make sure that it is easily available to customers who will usually be needing it in an emergency.

I can understand that Mr Mullins would feel aggrieved if after such an expense his customers were being stolen or even being taken unfairly but I can’t help asking whether there is another hidden agenda in this action which he has decided to play out so publicly. We would not possibly condone theft of any confidential data that might give a commercial advantage and if this is the case it should be properly dealt with but I don’t think that it does any of us any favours to make the dispute so public before anything is proved.

The legal fees in these cases reach astronomic proportions and I recall advice given to me many years ago that such legal battles are either for the very rich or very foolish and perhaps Mr Mullins feels that he is now the former and feels he wants to eliminate a new upstart.
1st Action Undertaking

Just let me reassure all our own ‘celebrity’ customers that we respect your privacy and unless one day Her Majesty should give us a Royal Warrant we do not believe that you would wish us to publicise your patronage or that we were entitled to claim your continuing loyalty on anything but merit.

Whilst we understand that some high profile people in the world of films and TV believe that any publicity is good publicity we can’t believe that your publicist would choose to see you as a subject in a squabble between two plumbers who you may have employed to stick their heads down your loo.

We have been the chosen plumbers for hundreds of thousands of happy Londoners over 15 years and look forward to serving the capital for many years to come.

If you are looking for a Plumber in London to handle your emergency without a fuss and in absolute confidence call us.

Richard Clarke

Chairman

London Plumbers Seminar on Customer Relations

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

The Dangers of Badly Serviced Heating Boilers

A British Family hear that the court hearing into the tragic death of their two children by carbon monoxide poisoning is adjourned in Corfu
I am sure that our hearts went out to the parents of the two children who so tragically died in their sleep during the family holiday to Corfu.

This week they heard that despite a two year wait for the hearing in Corfu to establish the reasons for this accident, that the case was to be adjourned for a further six months.

Whether we are a parent or a landlord we can only imagine the terrible loss that this couple have suffered. They themselves had been in deep comas for five days, when they recovered to be told that both their children had been taken in the tragedy must have been unbearable grief .

In the UK it is the law that all gas equipment must be tested by a Gas Safe Registered heating engineer to ensure that such tragedies don’t happen here so it is so important that these checks are properly carried out.

Whether it is the heating boiler inn your own home or you are a landlord renting out your property don’t shirk your responsibilty. If you have even the slightest doubt call out a Gas Safe heating Engineer immediately to check you out. I’m sure no one could live with themselves for causing such a grievous loss.

Go to our customer advice page for the early signs that might mean your boiler needs a service or more – don’t take chances.
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London Plumbing and Heating Division move to New Offices

The London Plumbing and Heating Division of 1st Action along with the Groups Call Centre moved out of its temporary home into new offices in Northolt at he beginning of June. Following the fire at premises adjoining its Head Office in Cumberland Business Park that necessitated a very quick move into temporary premises, the division has now found a more permanent home in Northolt.

In smart new offices the company’s call centre staff are now back up to full speed again as all the telephone lines are back on stream and the company computers all operating fully again.

” Its great to be back and working in the same offices again” said Michelle Lasenby (Customer Relations) “It has been  difficult with the departments working from different venues and we have tried very hard to make sure that it has not affected our customers too much”

Shelley Hefferman (Allocations Manager) said “After the last few weeks it is wonderful to be in these new light airy offices. I’m sure that everyone feels the difference”

The New Gas Safe Register comes into force

On 17th March 2009 1st Action expressed our concern on BBC News Breakfast watch video that not enough was being done to make the general public aware that from 1st April 2009 the ONLY qualification for a gas engineer would be the Gas Safe Register and that CORGI was no longer a valid qualification to do the job.

We urged the Health and Safety Executive to make sure that it is made clear to the public that CORGI has been replaced by this new standard and that they must be just as vigilant in employing only a Gas Safe Registered boiler engineer as they were about CORGI.

They confirmed their intentions and stated in the interview that the main change in the future administration of the Gas Safe Register would be its investment in raising public awareness of the dangers of a badly fitted gas installation.

We welcome the raising of this awareness and the new television advertising campaign notifying the public of the changes.

All 1st Action gas boiler engineers are Gas Safe Registered and we hope that there will be an ongoing promotional campaign by the HSE to highlight the dangers that can arise out of a gas installation or repair carried out by an unregistered and inexperienced engineer

We cannot over emphasise the dangers of a poor installation of gas boilers and equipment.

Whilst properly installed and serviced boilers, cookers and gas fires are perfectly safe, badly fitted boilers that are not serviced regularly hold killer dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and explosion.

Don’t take risks with the lives of your family
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