As 4x4 wagon prices continue to skyrocket, Byron Mathioudakis reviews three affordable contenders for plumbers unbothered by badge or peer pressure.
If you haven’t already sensed it, the world is changing. And, like it or not, digital innovation is headed for the trade sector, award-winning plumber Matt Reynolds reveals how.
Digital innovation is rapid and it is going to change the way we do business. The internet is no fad and if technology can change the way we live, it’s certainly going to change the way we plumb.
Here are three of my thoughts on the future in plumbing:
Often, when we think about technology, we can go from a calendar reminder, to upgrading our phones, to robots taking over the world in just one sentence.
We can all relax, we’ll see a ton of product and tool innovation in the coming years, but no robots are coming for our jobs just yet. The trade sector is very early in the technology adoption phase.
Driverless cars were not a reality until after a reliable GPS was created and built. That’s where the trade sector is right now, we are starting to discover and build the best customer experience a plumbing company can deliver in a digital format. Robots, like cars, need an efficient system to operate off.
Take this as your official warning, you need to run your business from your phone. For the past 50-plus years, a few nice trucks on the road, a factory to work out of and a phone that never stops ringing were signs of a successful plumber. That is no longer true. The future of our industry will be owned by plumbers and plumbing companies who adopt the best software and create the best customer experience through a mobile phone.
You need to start thinking in reverse of the norm. For example, do you really want a phone that never stops ringing? I certainly don’t! I want my customers logging their jobs through my app, I want them in control and I want them talking directly to my management system because then I can serve them so much better. Phone calls take too much time. I don’t want emails with plans and I don’t want emails with photos either, again, it takes too much time to manage, I’ve got actual work to do. Think booking a taxi versus arranging an Uber.
It’s not about job management
There are hundreds of computer programs and apps available to run your business. Here’s the problem - your customers don’t care about the internal workings of your business. They care about how they interact with your business. You need to think about your customer’s experience when they use your service. A new computer program, better spreadsheets and the latest people management techniques couldn’t save the taxi industry from one simple idea: what if you could request a ride from your phone?
You can’t think like a business owner if you want to thrive in the digital world, you need to think like your customers. While taxi companies worked on themselves, they lost their customers. You need to think about reengineering the way you do business from your customers’ point of view.
Your success going forward will be your ability to save your customers‘ time and be the most convenient option available. Plumbers will always have a job right? Maybe. But remember, before you have a job, you have to get a job.
If technology can influence political elections and turn the music, media and taxi industries upside down, it really is only a matter of time for us plumbers.