Company Focuses on the Details to Stand Apart From the Competition

Various small touches add up and allow Timothy A. Giard & Son Plumbing & Heating to provide a high level of customer service

Company Focuses on the Details to Stand Apart From the Competition

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Differentiating from competitors is a key building block for successful businesses. And providing great customer service is an easy way to set a plumbing and heating company apart from what’s often a crowded field of competitors, says Jeremy Giard, co-owner of Timothy A. Giard & Son Plumbing & Heating in North Andover, Massachusetts.

“I have a certain view of how customers should be treated from the time our technicians step through the door to the time they leave,” says Giard, who owns the business with his father, Timothy Giard, who established the company in 1985. “It’s the little things that set us apart from the competition.”

Top priorities on the younger Giard’s list of requirements for technicians include wearing shoe covers, protecting work areas with drop cloths, and wearing a company uniform that includes work pants and either a blue polo shirt or a sweatshirt that bears an embroidered company logo.

“Cleanliness matters a lot,” Giard says. “And technicians must be respectful of clients’ homes — no two ways about it. When you show someone you care about their home, they feel a lot more comfortable with you. 

“Furthermore, I absolutely don’t want anyone cussing anywhere on a customer’s property. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. If you’re having a bad day, that’s not the customer’s problem. Your job is to go in there and give them advice about their problem, provide a good price and fix it.”

Educating customers about all the options available to resolve their issues is just as important as appearance and cleanliness, he says. The company’s technicians are trained to work with customers to figure out the best solution for their problem, not just to try to sell the most expensive solution available.

“For example, if someone plans to move out of a house in, say, five years, that might not be enough time to get a good return on a significant financial investment,” Giard says. “So it’s paramount we get as much information from customers as possible so they can make an informed decision. That’s the most important thing.”

Timothy A. Giard & Son Plumbing & Heating also relies on a less tangible but equally important factor in providing good customer service: retaining experienced technicians. Giard, his father and two other technicians — Tim Hunt and Dan Brien — have about 115 years of experience among them. And apprentice Chris Eyssi is waiting in the wings.

To retain great employees, the company pays competitive wages, sends technicians to classes and seminars for continuing education, invests in advanced and reliable equipment, and holds company functions such as cookouts and holiday parties to “show them they’re more than just a number here,” Giard says.

“Twice a month we have cookouts on Friday afternoons where the guys can hang out and we still pay them for a 40-hour week,” he says. “We try to do as many little morale boosters like this as possible. We don’t throw bundles of cash at them, but we do want them to feel like more than just guys in a truck.”

Giard acknowledges it’s not easy to find good employees and get them to buy into strict customer service protocols.

“It takes time,” he says. “But I’ve seen it work. When customers thank me at the end of a project for the way our technicians treated them, I know it’s working.”

One more thing drives Giard’s zeal for great service: Protecting the legacy built by his father.

“One of my biggest fears is not living up to his reputation,” he says. “My dad built a great name for himself through the quality of his work, and being in business for 35 years certainly is a testament to that.

“I’ve been watching him do his thing since I was a kid, so hopefully I can handle it. I’ve had a great teacher. My dad is the main reason I became a plumber. Every kid at a certain point wants to be like his dad. And I still want to be like him.”

Read more about Timothy A. Giard & Son Plumbing & Heating in the September 2020 issue of Plumber magazine.


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