2017 started on a positive note for the glazing-franchise Cloudy2Clear. Operations support manager, Kirk Williams, felt it gave the whole network a lift right at the start of the year, and ‘a sense of accomplishment that we are really giving our customers a first-class service.’ Cloudy2Clear impressed the panel by the way they embraced the scheme so thoroughly, building up a huge volume of reviews over the previous 12 months.
This continued during 2017, ‘a real highlight for us is the fact we now have over 6,000 reviews across the network’ said Kirk. ‘Going into 2018, we want to provide all our customers with a quality service and be a market leader in the services that we offer. Winning Trader of the Year would be our ultimate goal.’
Jason French is the heating engineer behind J B French Heating & Gas. Jason is based in north London and tells us he gets a lot of his business through Which? ‘I’ve got some very good reviews on the website and that’s helped business tremendously,’ he says. ‘People do read those and mention them.’ It was some of these great reviews that led to J B French Heating & Gas winning the award in February this year.
Jason told us that he’s had a good year and business continues to grow. He’s looking forward to staying on the site, getting more customers and more growth in 2018.
March was the winning month for Tincknell Fuels Ltd, the long-established, family-run, fuel and heating-services business from south-west England. Tincknell Fuels was well-established but found that taking on the Which? Trusted Traders endorsement, with the accompanying code of conduct and reviews on the site proved a winner with their customers. Nick Turner, Parts and Installation Manager, told us: ‘You can offer a first-class service as a business, then with Which? Trusted Traders you can prove it, through the reviews that the customers leave on the site.’
Van Girls Ltd was our April winner. The north London-based removals business was our winner after their customer service focus caught the eye of our panel. However, the business was forced to close, after six years of successful trading, following a devastating fire at their premises. The team lost their offices and storage facilities and life events made it impossible for them to pick back up again. We were all very sorry to hear about this turn of events and hope that they’ll be back sometime in the future.
Southdown Landscapes and Turf Company celebrated 50 years of trading in May 2017 and the cherry on the cake was winning Which? Trusted trader of the month in the same month. Southdown Landscapes and Turf Company impressed the judges with its social media engagement. Katie Forward, office manager of the Camberley-based turf and landscaping specialists, told us: ‘Winning the award helped build brand awareness for our little family business, and helps us stand out from the rest. We’ve had a really busy year and are already booking work into 2018. This doesn’t happen by chance, it’s connected to being endorsed by a recognised household name that people trust.’
2018 is going to be another busy year for the team, with new services such as bespoke lawn care packages and artificial grass maintenance. Katie said: ‘We genuinely love seeing our clients gardens transformed, whether it’s the little or the big ones, and we have such passion for our work that we can’t wait to start the new year.’
June’s Which? Trusted trader of the month was Gaswise UK. The East-Midlands based central heating and plumbing business is owned and run by Melvin Parker, who has worked in the trade for over 30 years, and run Gaswise UK for the last 10 years. Melvin’s faultless customer service and engagement with the scheme won him the award.
In July, family-firm, Finesse Windows Ltd took the monthly award back to the Midlands. The business had already impressed, being one of the shortlisted candidates for the 2017 Trader of the Year. Russell Bridge, Managing Director, told us this was a real highlight for the whole team and they’re hoping to go one better and take the big prize this year.
Winning Which? Trusted trader of the month was a real positive for the business too. Russell said ‘We used the award to maximum effect in all our online and traditional advertising, including the story in all our pre-sales literature and after-sales customer service routines. While it’s impossible to fully measure the impact of this in terms of sales – we’ve enjoyed the best final quarter to a year that we’ve ever had in 37 years of trading.’
BeeXpress Plumbing & Heating Ltd, the north-west London plumbing and heating company owned and run by Ben Margulies, was a worthy winner in August 2017. Excellent customer service, fantastic reviews and great engagement on social media, were some of the reasons that BeeXpress won the award.
Ben told us that winning had had a great impact on the business and speaks to nearly every customer about it. ‘Customers recognise me as the one to go to, he said. ‘There’s less quibble over pricing and people would rather wait for me, than call another company.
Next year is all about growth for Ben and BeeXpress. He told us: ‘I’ve recently taken on an apprentice, and I’m currently advertising for a heating engineer to join the team.’ Ben’s big goal for 2018 is to win the Trader of the Year.
M Broer Heating Ltd was our September winner. Martin Broer set up in business six years ago, now he has a team of nine providing boiler servicing, repairs and installations working across Derbyshire. Martin and the team won the award for their outstanding customer service, terrific reviews and excellent social media engagement.
Martin told us: ‘Which Trusted Traders is like a room full of people, all saying good things about you. It’s a good way to build a bit of trust before the job and it helps that Which? has such a trustworthy reputation.’
The changing of the season brought a win for lawncare franchise, GreenThumb Croydon & Bromley. Run by childhood friends Adam Hillier and Joe Weller, the GreenThumb Croydon & Bromley team showed how they would go the extra mile for their customers and amassed a large number of reviews on their profile.
Adam and Joe were delighted with their win. Adam said: ‘Passing the assessment and being associated with a prestigious brand like Which? was already something to be proud of. Then winning the Which? Trusted trader of the month award was a real highlight for us. It gave us, and our customers, supreme confidence that the service we provide is unlikely to be beaten.’
Wiltshire-based Martin Grant of Grants Electrical Services Ltd took the award in November. Martin and his team had built up a large number of reviews, were highly engaged on social media and to top it all, Martin took part in a DIY SOS special build for Children in Need.
Martin told us that winning the Which? Trusted trader of the month award had been fantastic for the business. ‘It gave everyone in the company a massive boost,’ he said. Amid congratulations from customers, the business has had two articles written about the award in the local press, which has led to job leads. Martin has also grown the team with another electrician and an administrative support staff member.
As for 2018, Martin is hoping to grow further: ‘We've been very busy, in the final quarter of this year, putting lots of new processes in place to improve the company. We are hoping to grow as a company in 2018, in staff numbers, efficiency as a whole and improving the quality of customer service we offer further. Being shortlisted for Trader of the Year would be magnificent, but with such great Trader of the month's this year, it may be a step too far!’
The final winner of 2017 was Essex-based, bathroom and kitchen-installation company, Chigwell Bathroom Services. Steve Brightman, the owner and manager, told us ‘the award came at the right time, as the market has been difficult recently. All our customers told us it should have come sooner and was well deserved. It’s definitely given a boost to our business.’
Steve and the team are long-time accredited Which? Trusted traders, being one of the first traders to sign up back in 2013, when the scheme started and the Chigwell Bathroom Services has some outstanding reviews on their profile. Steve told us they may look to expand next year now, as ‘being Which? Trusted trader of the month has helped us boost our business.’
Many congratulations to all our winners this year. And a Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year to all our endorsed Which? Trusted traders.