At Plumbmaster’s Ladas Drive store in Belfast, the emphasis is firmly on providing customers with an enhanced level of service, and this level of commitment has led to a complete makeover of its trade counter.
Following a six-week refurb job – during which time Plumbmaster operated out of the neighbouring Haldane Fisher Builders Merchants – the trade counter has been extended, as has the customer area.
Ricky Kelly, Plumbmaster Manager, explained, “We had outgrown our previous counter and customer area; now we have three service points which means we are able to turn around customers more quickly. Also, improved lighting and extra floor space has created a more pleasant environment for our customers to be in.
“Our customer base has grown rapidly over the last few years, so this refurbishment helps us respond to that increased footfall while future proofing the store for continued growth expectations.”
A rejig of the store footprint has provided a better-positioned office, in direct line of sight of customers. “We can see customers enter the store, so we can ensure they aren’t waiting long before they are served,” said Ricky.
Customers can also take note of the latest Trade Zone offers broadcast on the newly installed store TV, and browse wall displays in the spacious customer area.
The Ladas Drive refurbishment project had the customer’s needs at heart. “We are committed to continually improving the customer experience and service that we provide here,” said Ricky.
Customers were treated to the first glimpses of the new store during a week of ‘Coffee and Donut’ mornings with a different supplier attending each day showing support. A daily prize draw was another added attraction.
The counter team has received great feedback so far. “Our customers have really appreciated the changes,” admitted Ricky. “We are very grateful for their continued support, particularly during the renovation work.”
Listening to customers’ needs, the Ladas Drive store has increased the number of gas boiler spares in stock over the past year. “We’ve had a great response to this, and it’s something we hope to build on,” he added.
Always keen to innovate, the branch offers a WhatsApp ordering service, on top of the ‘Click & Collect’ facility offered through the Plumbmaster website. “Nobody likes to spend their time queuing up at the trade counter, so we encourage customers to take a snap of their list of requirements and send it to us via WhatsApp. It gives us a chance to have the goods ready for them and gets them turned round quicker in store.”
Want to place your order by phone, or enquire about a product? You can be sure you’ll get speaking to a member of staff. A newly installed phone service monitors missed calls. “We try not to miss calls, but sometimes it does happen due to circumstances out of our control. When it does, we’re able to ring customers back far more easily – even those who didn’t leave a message.”
Another popular offering is the branch’s regular customer event. “We ran a paddleboard evening last year, which was so well received we’re doing it again this year. We like to organise more unusual activities; it’s a great way to socialise and strengthen relationships between our customers and staff.”
Plumbmaster has 11 branches across Northern Ireland and two on the Isle of Man, all with their own dedicated trade counter, staff and delivery fleet, including the recent addition of a new 10-tonne lorry and two new vans. This is backed up by social media channels and a dedicated website, offering a complete buy online service with account management facilities.