Customer service should always part of the priority list. Your efforts in providing excellent quality products will all go to waste if your customer-handling skills are inefficient. Customers are, indeed, the heart of the company. Without customers, there would be no business.
Wayne Bucklar: Joining me this morning is Gerry Whelan CEO and Founder of Archer Glass. And Gerry’s joining me from Mt. Gravatt in Brisbane. Gerry welcome to the program.
Gerry Whelan: Good morning Wayne, thank you.
W: Now Gerry we’ve had a number of chats on here and we’ve talked about all sorts of things in glass, we’ve talked about splashbacks and safety glass, and we’ve talked about showers and doing our bathrooms, we’ve talked about replacing glass after storms. What we haven’t talked about was what makes Archer Glass a great customer experience. What is it that you would say makes it a different experience for a customer when they’re dealing with Archer Glass?
G: Well I would say, go straight to personal service, as in we’re easy to communicate with because we’re a small business. There’s only a few us here, it’s always easy to get back on and speak to or meet the same person that you dealt with from the start. And that just makes it that easier to follow through.
W: Yeah and when you say you’re a small business, there’s a number of vans and a number of staff, it’s not that small isn’t it? How many staff do you have on the road?
G: Well we have 9 of us altogether and 6 vehicles on the road.
W: So yes I agree rather than being a national franchise, it does many people can get back to who they spoke to originally. But also with 6 vehicles on the road and 9 staff, you’re big enough that you’re going to get around.
G: Yeah we’re big enough that we can respond and we have the resources to the give the service that’s needed, if somebody needs a glass replacement today, we can find a way to get it done. While we bear with them like half an hour in the office or something like that and get their problem solved.
W: Now that idea of needing glass replaced today, I guess for anyone watching who’s got a broken piece of glass, they would understand that. But for the rest of us sometimes replacing glass is critically important for both security and safety I guess.
G: Yeah where you get security issue is one thing, where it’s often if the glass is broken and then obviously for safety for particularly children if you’ve got broken glass around, it’s important to get it cleaned up and replaced as soon as possible. So in our vehicles we carry our basic stuff of glass, so when we turn up first visit, 9 out of 10 windows can just be fixed on the spot then.
W: Okay, so you kept glass to size on location?
G: Yes, each vehicle has a cutting bench on the back and carried the stock and they can just cut the piece of glass to size and fit it there and then.
W: Now Gerry, there are lots of glaziers I guess and lots of people who replace glass. Apart from being easy to talk to, where does your strength lie?
G: Our strength lies also in value, in that we don’t have overheads of the multinationals and the international companies. So we’re able to keep our cost down because that we have fewer people and levels of management.
W: Speaking of prices, no one likes surprises. Do you give people a firm quote before you start work?
G: We do mostly at the initial phone inquiry, we’ll give them an idea of price once we asked them a few questions to ascertain what kind of glass it is etc., whether we need safety glass and an idea of measurement and then 9 times out of 10 that would be the price when we get that there to do the job. But if it’s not, we’ll measure, inform them first, tell them the difference and why, and once they agree we will proceed with the job, if they decide that they get another quote first, it’s okay too it’s just between a free quote.
W: Now Gerry a lot of that work is paid for it at the end of the day insurance companies, do you help out with that insurance process?
G: We do, yes. We can inform the insurance companies direct as well. Mostly we would ask the clients once we’re there to replace the window, get them the insurance company a call and just inform them that it’s happened and get us a claim number.
W: Now I know from my previous conversation with you about safety glass, that when a piece of glass is broken it’s not just a case of waxing some glass in there that failing to have safe glass in the right place, certainly in rental premises and commercial premises can leave you open to a whole lot of liability, do you have the expertise to know when and where safety glass is gonna go in?
G: Yes, we do. We’re all compliant with that AS1288-2006 which is the Australian Glazing Code. And we do exactly what we should use and where, like for instance in a door where we would have to use safety glass. So even if it’s not safety glass that’s broken there, when we arrive we will put safety glass back.
W: Well I guess there’s a lot of peace in mind in that because the risk not just to your own family but with in commercial and rental premises, lawsuits could be an enormous liability I imagine.
G: Absolutely and I have been in the past, around different parts for Australian were issues coming and the claim has been made against the owner with whom the owners lies to provide a safe and of the code building for them to operate or lived in.
W: Now Gerry you’re based in Mt. Gravatt in Brisbane, what’s the service footprint that customers can expect you to have with?
G: Mainly suburban Brisbane would be safe from us roughly to being late and then from there to the Bay.
W: Gerry it’s been pleasure having a chat with you again on the program. I’m sure lots of people will be keen to get hold of you because I know you’ve got a lot of happy customers already. What’s the best way for people to get hold of you?
W: Gerry thank you for your time.
G: Okay, cheers. Thank you Wayne.