The power of face to face
Last week I received a call from a lady who made a recent enquiry to find someone to do some work in her garden. Scuseme sent her the details of three tradesmen with whom she got in touch before appointing one of them. However, she told me that she had recently been ripped off and therefore felt vulnerable. So, in order to avoid making the same mistake, she was carrying out her own checks. If that gives you peace of mind, then please feel free, but scuseme has done the legwork as I share below.
Her first line of enquiry was to ask me, as the owner of scuseme, how I check my tradespeople.
The essence of scuseme
I don’t blame her; why should she trust scuseme? I’ve been exposed to a dodgy trader in the past and ended up in the small claims court (another blog). Once you have been ripped off, it’s not only the financial consequences that sting; it also makes you question your judgement of people and makes you understandably more cautious. So, I was pleased to be able to address this question because it is fundamental to how we work at scuseme. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why I started the business.
The power of face to face
To achieve a service that hinges on trust and community we personally meet and vet the tradespeople and home service experts before we recommend them to you. This makes us unique amongst our competitors in the online market-place.
My strong belief in the power of a face-to-face communication is endorsed by a study in the Harvard Business Review that showed face-to-face communication to be over 30 times more effective than an email. I made a conscious decision not to have a sign up now link for businesses on my website. Instead I look for and invite carefully selected independent businesses to join based on their credentials and reputation. This goes a long way to maintaining the high standards we insist on.
First impressions count
So, back to the question, why should I trust you? I love answering this because it allows me the opportunity to explain our vetting process. First of all we undertake face-to-face interviews. This gives a first impression and a good sense of the qualities in the people we’re dealing with. Non-verbal clues and rapport reveal a lot and are extremely important when it comes to making selections. An on-line application to join the team would never allow for this critical first stage.
What you cannot get from an email is an authentic trust building experience and that is why meetings are important. I tend to have my meetings in any number of the lovely independent cafes in Cambridge. And more often than not they over run because we have a good understanding and mutual interest in our respective businesses. For example, last week I met with an architect and we talked for over two hours, the same happened with Clint who joined recently. Alternatively there have been occasions where after a meeting we part company with no agreement. It’s important to recognise that not everyone will wants to join scuseme, nor will receive an offer to join.
The scuseme vetting process
As well as the face to face interview I want to share with you the additional checks we carry out.
- Face to face interview
- Photo and address identification
- Proof of membership to any Trade Association
- Proof of qualifications (where applicable)
- Statutory qualifications required by law (e.g., Gas Safe Registered, Part P, etc)
- Certificate of Public Liability Insurance and Employers Insurance if applicable
- Certificate of Incorporation for Limited Companies and credit checked
- UTR (Unique Tax Reference) verification for Sole Traders to ensure HRMC registered
- Certificate of VAT registration document (if applicable)
- References taken from up to five previous customers
Maintaining regular contact with all the home service experts and tradespeople is vital. And because scuseme invests in local people who live in the area and are part of the community, we will often come across them while they are out and about in Cambridge. For you, most importantly, when you use anyone from scuseme, you’re not meeting a stranger. You’re meeting someone we really know. And like the lady who asked the question, we always recommend you carry out your own checks, but we do a lot ourselves to help.
Scuseme is also my ‘baby’. I have personally invested in it and I am proud of it and the reputation I have built. Whoever joins as a scuseme recommended tradesperson knows my story and what the business means to me. I need to see that they fully understand this and that they will take it on board as ambassadors of the business.