July trader of the month

Our July Which? Trusted trader of the month, Blue Flame Services Ltd, is a medium-sized business based in Maryport on the Cumbrian coast. Tim Kemp started the business, working as plumber and heating engineer on his own in 2003. He joined up with his business partner, David Harrison, two years later, and the company now employs 50-60 people, providing plumbing, heating and electrical services throughout Cumbria.

Although Tim started out offering plumbing and heating services, the business has its own electrical division, too. He explained: ‘We realised very early on that it makes sense for both the business and the customer if we could control the job and have all the trades in-house. There’s no down time, and we can manage the job from start to finish.’

The company’s high level of customer service is clear from the many positive reviews on its Which? Trusted Traders profile page. The judges were also particularly impressed by the way Blue Flame Services has fully embraced the Which? Trusted Traders scheme, and how it uses the logo throughout the business and prominently on its promotional material.

If you’d like to find out how to be the next Which? Trusted trader of the month, take a look at our article about the selection criteria. Read on for more about this month’s winners.

Making the most of the endorsement

Blue Flame Services joined Which? Trusted Traders in March 2016, and has amassed well over 160 reviews in its two years on the scheme.  The team take the time to respond to each review.

Tim explained: ‘When we get great feedback, we want to pass it on to the lads and the staff. We want to thank our people for the great work they’ve done. We ask the lads to get customers to fill in a card or a review – it’s integral to how we work now.’

Follow our advice to get more customer reviews on your profile.

There are loads of ways to use your Which? Trusted trader logo, and Blue Flame Services Ltd has taken advantage of most of them. The business has a fleet of vehicles, and the logo is on each one. It’s also on every quote and letterhead, promotional videos, merchandise, adverts in the local paper, brochures and social media.

Blue Flame has incorporated the Which? Trusted trader logo on to its own mascot, as you can see in the example below.

The Which? Trusted trader logo is next to the Blue Flame Services logo at all times. It’s this association that works for the business.

Tim said: ‘It’s an honour to have the Which? Trusted trader logo next to our own. People see it on our vans and they take us seriously as a result. Everybody knows Which? and there’s no other accreditation or association that we want. Which? is the one for us.’

Investing in the community

The Which? Trusted trader of the month judges were very impressed with how the business is active within its local community. ‘The community is kind enough to give us the work, so we want to give something back,’ Tim told us. Blue Flame Services sponsors its local football teams, donates to charity and, most recently, it has set up a partnership with a local school.

‘It’s like a young enterprise scheme,’ Tim explained. ‘It’s a way of bridging the skills gap. A lot of young kids don’t have the communication skills you need to work with customers. We give them the experience of being in the workplace, and it encourages them to work hard at school and get the qualifications they need to go into the business.’

Two students in year 11 are now combining on-the-job training with their studies, with the view to gaining an apprenticeship as gas fitters when they leave school. This provides an amazing opportunity to the students involved, as well as giving Blue Flame Services access to some of the new talent in the area.

The business takes a responsible approach to the environment, too, with its own recycling centre. Blue Flame Services takes the old heating systems it removes from homes and businesses, and strips them down for parts. Some are refurbished and offered for sale on eBay (once they’ve been fully tested), extending their life further and keeping them out of landfill.

‘It creates more jobs,’ Tim said, ‘and it’s a great way for the young apprentices to learn about parts, how to use the tools of the trade and so on, somewhere we can supervise them on site, rather than out in the field. So it works on a number of different levels.’

For all its enterprise within the community, Blue Flame Services’ success is built on a sound basis of the principles of good customer service. Tim said: ‘I realised from the beginning, when I was on my own, that if you’re polite and courteous, and do the job to the best of your ability, you’ll always get repeat work.’ That positive work ethic has definitely paid off.

Many congratulations to our July 2018 Which? Trusted trader of the month, Blue Flame Services Ltd.

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