With the number of people “doing up” their homes rising significantly over the course of the pandemic, plumbers, electricians and trades of all kinds have seen a boom in business in recent months! With this in mind, at alldayPA we wanted to help support these businesses and tradespeople through this busy period, and have been doing some research into the sector. We’ve found the top 10 cities in the UK to work as a tradesperson, based on salary, demand and population.
Our data shows that the top 10 cities for plumbers and electricians to work in the UK, in order, are:
Nationwide, we’ve found that salaries for plumbers and electricians have risen over the last 10 years, from £34,655 for electricians in 2010 to £42,450 in 2020, and from £26,275 for plumbers in 2010 to £34,053 in 2020. The fact that people are spending their days working from home also means that their homes are being used more, resulting in an increased rate of regular wear and tear, and therefore an increased number of emergency callouts for plumbers and electricians. The rise in interest around home improvements over the last 18 months or so, sparked by the number of people spending more time at home, as well as people generally having more free time and less to spend their money on during the COVID-19 lockdowns, has also led to a rise in business for tradespeople nationwide, with many reporting that business is booming!
In our research, we’ve taken into account a range of different factors, including the amount of work that’s available to plumbers and electricians in these cities by population and by search volume, as well as the average salary of workers in these areas to determine the best places for tradespeople to work, or to relocate to if they are considering a move!
London comes out on top of our list, as, unsurprisingly, the volume of work available there and the number of searches in the area are exponentially higher than in any other city in the UK. Despite the high cost of living in the capital, the sheer volume of work and demand for plumbers and electricians means that the average salary in London is also considerably higher than elsewhere in the UK. This high volume of traffic and demand also means that demand for trade services is likely to be more consistent throughout the year, so there’s a much smaller risk for small businesses and sole traders in this industry being caught in a quiet period for months at a time in the capital.
The average salary for an electrician in London is £40,671, while for plumbers it sits at £36,504, which is the highest in the country. With the average salary for all Londoners sitting at £40,777, tradespeople in London are sitting at just below the regional average salary. However, as there is such a massive amount of work available in London, as evidenced by the more than 50,000 searches for tradespeople and emergency repairs every month, there is also potential for plumbers and electricians to maximise their earnings considerably.
As well as searches for London-based tradespeople, Londoners also searched more specifically, with areas including Clapham, Ilford and Chiswick making it into the top searches for tradespeople in London.
The UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham is also popular for plumbers and electricians, with a large population and over 20,000 searches per month for electric and plumbing services. Unlike some cities, the searches made by Brummies are quite general, looking for “plumbers near me”, “local plumbing” and “heating and plumbing”. There were also searches for electrical contractors, mobile electricians and private electricians in the local area, which are searches we didn’t find in all of our other top 10 locations.
With a population of just over 630,000, Glasgow is actually one of the smaller cities on our list, and certainly bucks the trend of populous London and Birmingham! Scotland’s largest city saw 15,400 searches per month for a range of different issues – popular searches included emergency and 24-hour plumbers, as well as local plumbers, and plumbers specifically in the West End.
When it comes to searches for electricians in Glasgow, there seem to be fewer emergencies, and instead more searches for reliable, qualified and affordable electricians, with popular searches including “find licensed electricians near me” and “reasonably priced electricians near me”. While Glasgow is considerably smaller than Birmingham, the average salaries for plumbers and electricians are actually a little higher – at £35,132 for electricians and £33,995 for plumbers.
Another smaller city in the top five cities to work as a plumber or electrician in the UK, Bristol has a total of over 14,000 searches for electricians and plumbers every month. For a city with a population of just under 500,000, there is a lot of traffic and demand for experienced tradespeople. Tradespeople also have average salaries of £34,732 and £31,007 for electricians and plumbers respectively. Emergency searches and callouts were high on the list of priorities in Bristol, with searches like “electrician near me emergency”, plumber near me emergency”, “emergency plumber in Bristol”, and “I need a plumber now near me” all featuring among the top searches in the area.
Edinburgh is one of only two cities in our top 10 where plumbers out-earn electricians. Interestingly, of the two Scottish cities to make the top 10, plumbers in Edinburgh and electricians in Glasgow had similar salaries (around 35k each), as did electricians in Edinburgh and plumbers in Glasgow (around 33k each)! Confusing, right? The population of Edinburgh also searched regularly for 24-hour and emergency plumbers, as well as highly rated registered plumbers, and top-rated electricians as well, implying that Edinburgh residents are willing to pay extra for high-quality tradespeople.
One of Nottingham’s top searches when it comes to looking for plumbers is actually “plumbers merchants”, which may tell us one of a few things – that people in Nottingham are keen on doing their own repairs, or that there are plenty of plumbers, and therefore increased competition, in the region. The average salary for a Nottingham electrician stands £31,430, while for a plumber it’s £29,827, which is lower than other cities on our list, however, when compared to the population and volume of work available, as well as the lower cost of living in Nottingham compared to larger cities and the south-east, it generally balances out.
Cardiff has the biggest disparity between plumber’s and electrician’s salaries, with electricians earning an average of £6,181 more every year than plumbers in the same area. As a result, the earnings for plumbers in Cardiff are lower than any other city in the top 10, while electrician’s earnings are average for our top 10.
Manchester had the smallest salary difference between the two trades, with electricians earning £31,338, and plumbers earning £31,337 – a difference of only £1 on average! Compared to areas like Cardiff and London, where the wage disparity can be £4000-£6000 larger, it’s clear that plumbers in Manchester are in a strong industry overall.
Liverpool searches for plumbers and electricians were a little more specific than in some other areas, with searches for “sink plumber” and “plumber for blocked toilet near me”, as well as the more general searches that we saw nationwide. It was the same story for searches targeting electricians, with searches like “light electrician near me” and “electrical rewiring near me”. As well as these, we also saw searches targeting “expert”, “independent”, “reliable”, and “best rated” tradespeople in Liverpool. The average salary for an electrician working in Liverpool is £32,960, while the average salary for plumbers is £30,520, which puts Liverpool firmly in the middle of our top 10 for earnings across the country.
Leeds was the other of only two cities where plumbers out-earned electricians, bucking local and national trends. For a plumber working in Leeds, the average salary is £33,744, which is only out-earned by their counterparts in London and Edinburgh, two notoriously more expensive cities to live in. Electricians in Leeds, however, are the lowest paid, on average, of our top 10, with an average salary of £30,984, which is almost £10,000 less than electricians in London. Of course, the lower cost of living in the North makes a considerable difference to how far your money goes.
When the phone is ringing off the hook, our customers have chosen to work with alldayPA to help take the burden of call answering and customer service off their hands. We offer tailor-made bespoke solutions to help you stay on top of your customer communications, no matter what industry you’re in. As well as answering telephone calls that come your way, we can also provide support for answering social media enquiries and a variety of other channels, to make sure you never lose out on another job, no matter where in the country you’re based.
Our team answers every single call that comes our way with professionalism, politeness and intelligence, so you can feel confident that your customer service will be taken care of by professional call centre specialists who understand both the needs of small businesses in general, and the needs of tradespeople in particular. We work with over 24,000 small businesses, and so we have an in-depth knowledge of the kind of calls our customers get on a regular basis, and how to handle them best.
The majority of plumbers and electricians in the UK are self-employed sole traders or work within a very small team, which means that when you’re on a job, there isn’t anywhere for your calls to go, resulting in missed calls and missed business. Particularly in small local areas or cities with considerable competition from other small businesses, being able to answer all of your business calls and enquiries is so important, but it’s just not practical a lot of the time. That’s where the team at alldayPA come in – we help you to offer an elite customer experience without adding to your existing workload. That means that whether you’re on a job, in the middle of a conversation with other customers, or even if you’re just taking a break and setting some boundaries for yourself, you can rest assured that our expert team will be on hand to pick up communication with customers on your behalf. The majority of our core customer base is made up of SMEs, sole traders and self-employed workers, and we’re passionate about developing and supporting small business owners to grow their organisations and make the most of the opportunities that come their way.
alldayPA founder Reuben Singh also talks about how and why helping new businesses and small businesses is so important to us here at alldayPA:
“At a time when there are record numbers of new businesses starting up, we’re there to support them. We provide on-demand customer service support at a time when a newly established business like a plumber or electrician needs to focus on what they do best – helping their customers and generating the cash that they need to thrive. Our insight shows where the highest demand for their services could be, our virtual services allow them to be present wherever and whenever they are needed. At alldayPA we’re passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs whether it’s providing vital customer support or valuable advice and insight to help their business grow.”
To find out more about our research, or how we can help support your business during your busiest periods, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our business development team on 0345 056 8888, who will be happy to help design a bespoke call answering and outsourced customer service package that works for you and your business.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been urging UK businesses to return to the office now that UK lockdown restrictions are getting eased. More than 15 million Britons were compelled to work from home last year and remote working practices have become a norm.
However, some employees are now threatening to change jobs if they are not allowed to continue working flexibly. What does that mean for small and medium-sized businesses though? Is switching to a completely remote working model work in all industries and businesses?
If you think of some tech giants, such as Spotify and Twitter, that does not seem to be a problem, but as a small business, you rely a lot more on effective communication practices and collaboration. Can you effectively manage and even function as a small team if all of you work remotely? How about the brainstorming sessions and your traditional chats with colleagues?
“Remote working culture” raises a lot of questions. Whilst in some roles, including digital marketing and IT, remote working could work well, if you think about sales or marketing – these are based on interactions with people. Instead of sending a message on Teams, you could just walk to your colleague’s desk and get the information you need in seconds. With Teams, you’re not guaranteed a prompt response and it does take longer to get back to you.
Here at alldayPA, we encourage the work-from-the-office model because we believe that by encouraging “live” teamwork, face-to-face conversations, and live collaboration, you can achieve more in less time. Although we do understand that the commute times can be frustrating, we do believe that by enabling flexible working hours, this pain can be eliminated. Similar to appointments or looking after your kids – by allowing you to choose your working hours, we make sure you’re still able to keep a healthy work and life balance, as well as to get everything done when you need to.
Interestingly, even though many teams argue that remote working has been a dream come true, the statistics on mental health have been proving otherwise. Human beings are social creatures and social interaction does contribute to our wellbeing more than we think. Especially when it comes to young people – live mentorship and opportunities to discuss ideas with senior colleagues are significant and invaluable.
Says our group CEO Reuben Singh.
“Small businesses create the company culture and thrive on staff interaction”
What is your company’s approach to working from home?
According to Small Business, there have been over 835,000 businesses registered in the UK in the last year alone. This poses a question and opens a discussion of why there has never been a better time to open a business than now, in the year of the global pandemic? Scroll below to read the thoughts of our CEO Reuben Singh.
You opened your first business when you were 17, so you must have a great understanding of the business landscape back then and now. So tell us – what helps businesses strive in today’s digitised global business environment?
The biggest change is that customers are now demanding exceptional customer experience and personable services. Today’s consumer is more demanding than ever and he/she will only become loyal to brands that give them transparent and understanding customer service. Something that perhaps the majority of brands out there can’t, come up with. It’s much easier for a smaller business or a start-up to provide great customer service and offer personalised products and services. Agility, scalability, and speed to react are a big advantage to smaller businesses.
5, 10, or 15 years ago things like personalisation didn’t matter as much because the market wasn’t that saturated. Today, with internet access and the fact that everybody can learn how to use digital tools, the competition is much higher. To stand out, businesses need to take some time to think hard about things like their customer service and ways they deliver exceptional customer experience.
An equal playing field as people, consumers and businesses are not necessarily looking for big companies or established companies, but those that can offer a value add service, those that go an extra mile.
Even if it’s a great time to open a business today, there must be plenty of challenges. Could you name some?
As mentioned, with accessibility and availability of knowledge comes tough competition. Over 835,000 businesses registered in the UK in the last year alone – if you think about it, that’s around 70k businesses per month. Tougher competition means you need to be faster, more adaptable, and extremely hard-working. But what you need is to work smarter. All you need is time. Time to write that proposal, time to conduct competitor research, you name it. I think with bigger competition, you also become even shorter on time, and that’s always a big challenge to handle in the small business operating environment.
Let’s move to alldayPA – if you had to explain the value it provides to SMEs, how would you summarise it in just a few sentences?
We provide businesses and entrepreneurs with time. alldayPA gives you time to think, lead, reflect, enjoy… As call answering experts available 24/7/365 who pride themselves as leaders in B2B call answering, call handling, and receptionist services, we improve your customer service and experience. Pay per interaction instead of paying weekly or monthly fees and trust us with your customer interactions.
Why would small businesses come to alldayPA either before or after they have launched their business?
Imagine you work in the retail sector and who knows, maybe suddenly April has been so busy for you that you sold hundreds of products. And, obviously, with that come customer service issues, order issues, late deliveries, you name it. We handle all of that for you – be it a message, email, or phone call. Our staff are trained on using the latest technology tools that are constantly evolving. I think once you launch into the market, it’s key you make a really good first impression on your customers, potential business partners, and consumers. I think choosing to enhance your business with support helps you to build a really strong starting base, which is of crucial importance after you’ve just launched your venture.
Thank you so much Reuben. Readers – did you find this Q&A with our Group CEO insightful? 👌 Make sure to leave your thoughts below!👇
Back in the day, when you wanted to connect to another business, you would pull out the yellow pages and go through, line by line, cold calling each number and hoping to get lucky. Well, it might not have exactly been like that, but it’s close enough.
With the advent of the internet, people realised there were more efficient ways of reaching new clients. It might feel like everyone is online, but the number is surprisingly low. Only 30% of registered companies in the UK have a website. If the world sees the internet as this essential aspect of life, then how come so few are taking advantage of it? Especially since going digital (as long as your website doesn’t look like your five-year-old whipped it up) is a great way to forge stronger connections with your clients by making the most of marketing online.
Digital marketing is intimidating if you don’t know that world. It’s easy to get lost in because it’s such a vast topic, especially if you don’t know your PPC from your SEO. But it’s the almost endless potential of digital marketing that makes it so important.
You don’t need to engage with every aspect, but instead explore the avenues within digital marketing that reflect your style, audience, and goals. That’s the beauty of it; you can focus your efforts to reach the right audience for you. Can you find them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Can you advertise on other websites they might browse? If you can pinpoint where they are, you only create more touchpoints for yourself. And that means more chances to bring in new customers.
As of July 2020, 59% of the world’s population uses the internet and 78% of those users conduct product research online, so the online market is vast. And if you’re looking way into the future, by 2040, as much as 95% of purchases will take place online. At any moment your next customer could come across your content for the first time, and you don’t want to be caught with your proverbial pants down.
That means if you want to find those new business connections, digital marketing is your best chance. People aren’t looking on the supermarket classifieds board any more – they want information accessible at their fingertips any time of the day.
Faced with COVID and the rise in working from home, the reach of marketing online is more powerful than ever. Your audience is at home all day, every day, and you need to bring the marketing to them on a platform they’re already using.
The nature of using the internet means you’re no longer held back by strict opening times and the availability of your staff. You can reach people at any time of the day, even if you’re not there yourself. You can also make sure the people you’re reaching are the people you want to be connected with.
If you’re feeling particularly fancy, marketing online even allows you to track the data of your audience so you can analyse who is seeing your marketing and how they engage with it. This ties into what we said earlier; you can refine your target audience even more so you’re showing up to the people who will want to see it, rather than just any Tom, Dick, or Harry.
The internet can be more to you than videos of cats or seeing what your high school crush is up to. It’s a tool no different from any other marketing initiative – one with a huge audience and a well full of potential. The more people you can reach, the more opportunities you can bring to your business. Before you know it, your phones will be off the hook with a flurry of new customers.
Going digital creates a 24/7 presence for your business. How do you ensure you’re there when a new customer calls? With alldayPA, you can be. Your call answering team will be available 24/7 to support your digital marketing efforts. Free up more of your time and increase your business leads by contacting us about our call answering service today on 0345 056 8888.
The world is in a chaotic state. People are buying out all the toilet rolls again, world leaders are getting positive COVID tests, and the country seems on course for its second lockdown, which would mean most people having to work from anywhere again. Isn’t that just the best way to end the year?
Of course, a huge chunk of the country is already working from home, and with this, many have realised the ‘work from anywhere’ approach is the way forward. But with all the positives of working from anywhere, there comes some negatives too. How can we tackle these issues and stay productive?
We don’t notice how much we collaborate in the office until we‘re removed from it. Often, someone will offer their opinion or stop by your desk to ask you a quick question. Remote work makes this more challenging and can leave us feeling a bit behind.
A simple solution to this problem would be to create a group chat where your team can ask any quick questions without disrupting the workflow. This also helps keep that sense of camaraderie and teamwork, helping anyone who might be feeling the effects of isolation. A whopping 80% of people feel working from home has negatively impacted their mental health. So creating these channels where the team can talk, even if it’s about which biscuit is best, can go a long way.
Being fully remote can bring some extra pressure. It’s so tempting to just have a quick peek at that email or just accept that quick call. And why wouldn’t you? Surely it’ll only take one second, so why not?
The issue is, once this starts, it’s hard to stop. In fact, 36% of people find it hard to step away from their work while they’re at home. And before you know it, you’re answering every call no matter how late. It becomes a disruptive force in your life as it starts to interrupt meals and nights out with friends – friends that are at a 2 metres distance, of course.
It’s important to shut off after work to allow yourself to do what you enjoy. You don’t want to burn out. And with 33% of employees saying they work on the weekends, we think there are plenty of people who need some time to chill out. Most people find it easier to relax after completing a ritual. This could be putting your things away, going for a walk, or watching a TV show. This way you’re stepping away from the workday and entering leisure time. Encourage your staff to find that work-life balance – and don’t forget to practice what you preach.
We’ve all seen that clip on YouTube of the children bursting in the room and disrupting a live BBC interview. As funny as it is, we don’t really want that to happen to ourselves. To tackle the problem of distractions, it’s best to have a dedicated home office – or at least an isolated desk where you can work from.
This way you are separated from others in the house and they know not to disturb you when you’re in that room or at that desk. This will also help in separating your work from your life, allowing you to disconnect much easier.
With the coronavirus making remote work more and more popular, it’s important we recognise potential problems and find solutions, keeping us productive and on the ball. For our customers’ sakes, we can’t let our service drop. But we also can’t always be there for them. Or can we?
Add to your customer service team with alldayPA. Our team can be there when you can’t, meaning you don’t have to let your phones ring unanswered. We’ll help improve communications while creating time for you to focus on the growth of your business. Get in touch on 0345 056 8888 to find out more.
We’ve all heard this expression before: work smarter, not harder. And no, it’s not just the mantra of lazy people everywhere. But it should be the mantra of every small business.
Small businesses are by their very nature, well, small. It’s an uphill struggle and you have to put in the effort to make the business work. And with a smaller team, small bumps in the road will slow you down more than it would one of the big guys. It’s David vs Goliath. But we all know who won that fight…
It might be October, but we’re not here to put the fear into all you smaller businesses. Instead, we’re here to suggest ways to get ahead. Namely, how to work smarter to secure yourself a stronger, more resilient future.
SMEs make up 99.9% of UK businesses. So it’s fair to say competition is tough. There are plenty of other businesses just like yours, trying to offer the very same thing. It’s like The Matrix and you’re fighting off all the Agent Smiths. So you might think the solution is to work harder to pull ahead. But really, you need to be thinking about how to work smarter. See, it’s come full circle from the intro.
If your services can’t set you apart, how you operate as a business can. Being smart with your business’s money, time, and productivity is how you become the Usain Bolt amongst your competitors.
Business relationships are increasingly becoming more results-based. Clients want performance models that prove exactly how investing in your business will provide returns for them. And if they don’t get the results they want, they’ll leave. It’s as simple as that. While we wish we could impress them with some mad juggling skills, they want something a bit more concrete.
So how do you show you’re up to the task? You show them how you’re using your resources smarter than anyone else. Understand where yours and your internal team’s time is best spent. It likely isn’t doing the mundane, tedious jobs that slow you down to a snail’s pace. You need to be focusing on generating value and profits. But those administrative jobs don’t just disappear.
Which brings us onto the benefits of strategic partnerships. What’s better than one business working smarter? How about two businesses working smarter together. You can bring in outside support to keep your business profitable, successful, and running smoothly.
By looking outside your organisation, you can significantly increase the output of your team – for example, take your ten-man team to twenty-people strong – without actually hiring those ten extra people. This is a great solution to deal with those mundane tasks we were talking about.
Think about how often your team has to answer the phone. It needs doing – you can’t just ignore your calls. But why hire all the extra staff just to do that? Is the smarter thing not to bring in a partner to handle that?
It’s a kind of ‘uber-ification’ of your business tasks. It used to be companies felt they had to have these teams to hand. Everyone needed their own call centre. But now, you can have one only when you want. Do you just want to cover a 4-hour block? Or only while you’re out-of-hours? Then you can. It’s a more fluid business model that just so happens to save you time and money.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t carry on building up your team. It just means you can employ more staff who will help you grow and bring in results. Your internal team focuses on performance while your partnership focuses on everything else. Now that’s what we call working smart. And we’re pretty sure any investors will, too.
Nothing grinds your productivity to a halt quite like having to answer the phone. But that’s where alldayPA comes in. We provide a 24/7 call answering service to ensure your calls are covered while you focus on what really matters: your business. Get in touch on 0345 056 8888 to find out more.
The world has changed. Dramatically. No one could have expected it as we were counting in the New Year and merrily singing Auld Lang Syne. Yet here we are, hurtling towards another New Year, the world a completely different place.
It has affected every aspect of our lives, from our home to our work. And that rings just as true for customer service. It used to be in customer service if you didn’t pick up after three rings, you were too slow. If you didn’t call a customer back immediately, it was as if the sky were falling. So people wanted to provide the best in customer service; after all, 86% of buyers were willing to spend more on companies that provided a great customer experience.
But when the pandemic hit and companies began working from home, there was an attitude shift. They thought customer service didn’t have to be so strict. But we think that’s a mistake – customer service is more important now more than ever.
It’s all about attitude
We’ve all grown used to work and life blending together. The Zoom calls in the pyjamas. Going on mute while you get your Amazon delivery. Everyone’s having the same experiences, so customers are more patient with you. So you don’t call them back – they understand. You’re probably too swamped.
But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. We could all eat an entire chocolate cake, but it doesn’t mean we should. For multiple reasons. It’s the same with your customer service. The world is different and customer expectations will be too. A survey by McKinsey found 66% of businesses were expecting digital interactions to become more important.
It isn’t time to move backwards; it’s an opportunity to be better. Can your customer wait until tomorrow for a call back? Maybe, but wouldn’t it be more impactful if you made time for it now? It requires you to change your attitude and take a more positive, proactive approach. If you don’t, your competition will; more than two-thirds of companies are competing on the basis of their customer experience. How are you keeping up?
Customer loyalty – a two-way street
You must recognise the importance of customer loyalty. One of the oldest business facts in the book is that it costs you five times more to sign up a new customer than it does to retain your current ones. And existing customers are 50% more likely to try a new product or service of yours. Basically, if you keep them happy, you keep yourself happy.
But customer loyalty is a two-way street. You want them to be loyal to you and guess what? They want the same from you. Business is a double act. Every Ant needs a Dec. Every Penn needs a Teller. Every Jedward needs… the other Jedward. And you and your customers need each other, too.
What that means at this point in 2020 is different from what it was at the start. It isn’t just about answering their calls on time or offering them the best deals. There’s more to it now – an extra human element. An understanding of where someone might be in their life.
You saw this at the start of the pandemic. For example, Pret a Manger was offering free hot drinks to NHS workers. Banks waiving interest on overdrafts. There will have been companies up and down the country deferring payments for their customers while they found their feet again. They were all loyal to their customers in a way their resources allowed. And as we aim to bring Britain back better, ask yourself, what are you doing to show your customers your loyalty?
You need to service your customers at every point in the journey. Being loyal to your customer means giving them the service they deserve. In your own small way, shouldn’t that mean doing all you can. You don’t have to answer every call, but shouldn’t you?
They might understand if you answer the phone to the dog barking in the background or your kid going crazy on the kazoo, but shouldn’t you find another way? We understand that these ifs and buts are easier said than done, but everything worth having is worth fighting for. If you want to provide the best in customer service right now, strive for professionalism. And that starts with your phone lines.
At alldayPA, leave the heavy lifting to us. We’re here to complement your team and provide you with professionals you can trust to put your best face forward. To find out more about our phone answering service, get in touch on 0345 056 8888.
“The more virtual our lives get, the more we hunger after something genuine. What people really want now is not just a product or a service, it’s an experience. An experience that is more honest and transparent… more authentic.” – James T Noble.
Sorry for the heavy start, but that quote is perfect for today’s blog. Strap yourselves in because we’re talking about business authenticity! In this modern world, it’s as if we exist online. We’re always connected to each other through our phones or the internet and that’s made things weirdly impersonal. We’re so plugged in all the time that we’re basically just one step away from The Matrix.
As the quote says above, it’s making people crave something genuine. People just want a real conversation. And that goes for your business too. Your website might have a fancy chatbot, which is always useful, but can your customers talk to a real human being if they need to? If all they want is a simple refund, can they pick up the phone and sort out the issue or do you make them jump through a million hoops like some sort of circus animal?
With all the bells and whistles, it’s easy to lose our humanity and authenticity. We think we’re providing a better service, but all that 86% of people want is an authentic touch. Yet only 52% of people trust businesses. Certain actions can make you look deceitful, whether you realise it or not. You might not be some moustache-twirling villain, but if you use a different address than where you’re based or you make it hard to talk to a human in customer service you look like kind of a Dick Dastardly type.
So how do you nail that feeling of authenticity? What’s the secret? The secret is… there isn’t really a secret. Authenticity is about being yourself and putting an honest, human face forward. Let’s look at some ways you can up your authenticity.
This is why the expression “if you talk the talk you better walk the walk” exists. Because it’s all too easy to say how you’ll be better and treat everyone with respect. Everyone says that. No one’s out there saying “we’re going to treat you terribly”. So if you’re the kind of company who has a page of your website dedicated to your company values, you need to live and breathe them.
Customers are too smart these days. You can’t swindle them as easily as you could before the internet. They can whip out their phone and prove you wrong in five seconds if they wanted to. It’s empowered consumers and with such a bevvy of choices, they can be particular about where their business goes. So by being honest with yourself and your clients, you show you’re dedicated to following through on your words. And that you’re a business who can be trusted. Sometimes all people want is to be heard – speaking of which…
There’s definitely been a shift towards buying locally in recent years – something that’s been accelerated by the coronavirus. That’s because local businesses feel more real. You can see the people behind them and form a human connection. They’re authentic and they mean what they say. And – importantly – you’re usually dealing with the person in charge. That goes a long way in feeling heard.
Bring some of that to your business. Let clients know they can talk to you. Drop the IVR system – everyone hates that. Make getting in touch with a person as simple as picking up the phone. If you can’t be there for every call then no worries, just make sure someone answers their call. No one wants to talk to a robot; just ask anyone who’s had a bad match on Tinder.
It’s the personal element to your customer service that matters. It helps build an authentic reputation. And this extends to your social media, if you have any. Interact with people there. Be sincere, open, and approachable. Just make sure whoever’s in charge of the social media doesn’t start posting their controversial opinions on who they think should leave Great British Bake Off – you don’t want to start a war in the replies.
We all make mistakes. We’ve all burnt a pizza in the oven or forgotten to send an important email to a client. What matters is you’re professional enough to admit it and promise to do better (and following through on that promise).
“To err is human” as the classic phrase goes. Or, another classic one, “it happens” – except they don’t usually say “it”. If you can own up to your flaws, then you can work your way to being better. There’s a vulnerability to it that people like. You’re not an amorphous corporate blob – you’re a company full of human beings. Be accountable for your mistakes; plenty of people will appreciate that.
If there’s one quality that links all three points, it’s communication. Openly communicating with your customers – and definitely your staff – is an easy way to show your authentic self. People like people. People want to talk to people. Even the most introverted person in the world wants to talk to someone every now and then.
Your customers deserve to be heard and respected. And sometimes it can feel hard to always do that. When you’re juggling so much already, where can you find time to give them the attention you need. Because you might know you’re authentic but don’t know how to put that across to your audience. Believe it or not, that’s pretty easy too.
That’s why alldayPA exists: to take the weight off your shoulders. With our phone answering service, you can be there for your customers 24 hours a day. If they need to talk to a human about their problems, they can. You don’t need to find your own customer service team when you can just outsource to us. Get in touch today on 0345 056 8888.
For some people, working from home was a dream come true. For others… not so much. Sure, you can drop the early morning commute, crammed into a train carriage like a sardine. But the social butterflies out there will be craving having someone different to talk to every day.
And there’s one big curse of working from home that we all have to admit: sometimes it doesn’t even feel like work. And that can affect our productivity. Can you say you’ve been giving it your all while you’ve been working from home? Some of you might, but we imagine plenty of you know the truth – it’s just not the same.
Remote working has had an impact on our productivity. According to this report, it’s only a 1% decrease, but that tells us something different. We could be more productive if we just changed our way of thinking. Think about how high it could be if instead of working from home we were home working.
It sounds identical, but it’s a subtle difference. Home working is when you treat your work at home as you would if you were going into the office. You might have dropped that terrible commute, but there are still ways you can prepare yourself for the working day. Here are four ways we think you could change your approach and be a more productive person.
We’re not about to tell you to put on a suit and tie while you answer emails at your dining table. But it’s all too easy for us to roll out of bed in our pyjamas and spend the day like that. The problem is you aren’t putting your mindset into work mode; it’s still in lazy bed mode.
The best thing you can do is mimic your routine for work. Set an alarm, have a shower, potentially even some breakfast, and get ready for a day of work. You don’t have to wear business casual, but put something on that feels more appropriate. It’s about changing your mindset so your body feels ready for the day ahead.
This is a follow on from the last tip – act like you’re at work. Give yourself a structure, even if you’re working outside of the usual 9 to 5. Take breaks when appropriate, including a decent lunch, and don’t let yourself get distracted.
That’s the hard part. Social media is a huge distraction – a third of people think it’s the biggest one out there and that includes parents with kids running rampant. And that’s saying something. Another part of treating it like work is to give yourself a new ‘commute’. This should just be a buffer space before and after you work to adjust to the next stage of your day. You could go for a walk in the morning or do a workout – something to help with the transition from bed to work.
You need to find a way to separate work from leisure and this is an effective way to do it. By creating a dedicated space, you section off a zone that is work only. If you have an entire room with a door you can use, even better. The door acts as a psychological barrier, allowing you to segregate the two parts of your life easily. It’s also a good way of blocking out the kids and the dog when you need a convenient excuse. It might not work at 7 p.m. though when you really want to escape.
Not everyone has that luxury – that’s fine. Use a spare desk or your dining table. Just somewhere that, when you sit down, you know you’re at ‘work’. That means no looking at the laptop in bed or on the couch in front of the TV. Those are leisure zones and you’ll be all too tempted to stick on Holly and Phil’s gurning faces while you’re answering emails.
A good way to keep your head in the work zone is to talk to colleagues about it. For one, it’ll help if you come across any issues. You might not be able to walk over to their desk and fire a question at them, but there’s nothing stopping you from picking up the phone to do it.
But more than half of employees feel more disconnected when working from home. Your morning Zoom calls can serve more purpose than organising the day – they can help people feel connected. It looks after their wellbeing and will positively affect their work. You can just have a casual talk about what you did last night. Not that anyone has any interesting stories about what they did these days.
By communicating clearly and effectively, you can keep your mind on work and deliver your best. With these four tips, you can put yourself in the right frame of mind and actually get some work done. People are already expecting working from home to stick around and if it does, we all need to be ready to approach it in the right way. And, if at the end of the day, you want to change back into your PJs, we won’t judge you.
One distraction you don’t need is a constantly ringing phone. If you’d rather just get on with work, doing what you do best, you can leave the phone calls to us. Our telephone answering service gives you the extra pair of hands you need. 400 of them, in fact. Get in touch on 0345 056 8888 to find out more.
Do you remember when phones were bricks and the most amazing thing you could do was take pictures the size of a postage stamp? It’s hard to believe that era was only 15 years ago. Today, we bet you could even do an entire day’s work just on your phone. If a call comes in, you can answer it. If you get an email, you can reply to it. If you need to look over someone’s sales pitch… you get the idea.
It’s amazing how far it’s come in such a short space of time and it quickly changed the way we work. For both the better and the worse. That feeling of being ‘always on’ is a genuine issue in our modern world – over a quarter of people feel pressured to respond to work communications outside of working hours. When your phone keeps popping off while you’re getting into your takeaway, it’s not so great.
But, on the other side of the coin, it lets people work with some flexibility. And flexibility is something the younger workforce really values. So are technology and modern communication methods holding us back or rocketing us into a better future?
We’re living in a 24/7 world. If you wanted to, you could have Amazon deliver a package to you in just a couple of hours. It’s made us a bit impatient and this definitely leaks into some people’s approach to work.
You might be dealing with international clients who’ll call at odd hours of the day or work with a night owl who does their best work at 11 p.m. The immediacy of communication means that, as soon as a problem rears its head, you can talk to the right people to get it fixed.
Not by email, no no no. Never by email. They might have been the best way to communicate way back when, but now everyone has at least two different email addresses and is familiar with the cluttered inbox filled with spam. You’re lucky if you get a reply in a reasonable time. There’s a reason so many people see it as a productivity killer.
Instead, you can call someone wherever you are, or drop them a WhatsApp message, or send a Slack. It’s real-time communication and people appreciate the ease of access. If anything, we’ve gone back to a world where phone calls are the most popular way to communicate. And if your small company wants to deliver a big company service, you need to be available 24/7. It’s easy to look at that as a bad thing, but the recent COVID-19 crisis has been a wake-up call for a lot of people. If our approach to work communications has changed, why hasn’t our workday?
Now everyone has a taste of remote working, we can see how our work doesn’t have to revolve around the 9-5 office. For some people, that might work – it gives them structure and a schedule that helps them be their most productive. But for others, they can fit their work around their lives and not the other way around.
Over 60% of people think the old-school eight-hour workday is becoming obsolete. Some people might choose to split up their workday; do a couple of hours in the morning, take an extended lunch, and work in front of the TV later in the evening. If that works for them, who’s to stop them? Maybe they want a lie-in because their partner was snoring all night – you can’t blame them.
It’s particularly great for smaller businesses as it lets them work in whatever way helps their company the most. And if they can offer that same benefit to their staff then great – 87% of them are more likely to love their job. We’re always hearing news stories about the four-day work week; could this finally become a reality?
Thanks to advances in technology and how it affects our work communications, we don’t have to adhere to the old way of doing things just because. It gives us the freedom to work how we want without affecting our productivity. We’re always within reach and if we aren’t, there are easy ways to make that a reality.
At alldayPA, we help you stay plugged in even when you aren’t. If there’s a call you can’t answer, we’ll be there to pick it up. Get in touch with us today to find out how our call handling service could help you – call us on 0345 056 8888.