How do we get better?

The question that we keep asking ourselves is ‘How do we get better?’ 

Our answer? Learn from our customers. Listen and learn after each installation and do more of what works.

That’s why our visit to Alesia was so important. When you meet Alesia you are struck by her calm demeanour and when you start to talk to her you are even more struck by the analytical mind behind that calm exterior. When we arrived for the interview, Alesia was really warm and welcoming. She had  been good enough to invite us back to her beautiful home in North Leeds to have a chat about her thoughts on her system which she’d had in place for nearly a year.


A funny start

The other thing about Alesia is a very wry sense of humour. She opened with “There was just one thing about Tom …the first thing he said to me was, “We will be the cheapest and you will take our quote.”

She smiles as she says that she was thinking: ‘Now you’ve said that, I’m just not going to take your quote.’

After that initial conversation, Alesia did indeed go and look for quotes from a further 13 companies after that initial meeting, looking for a better deal and trying to prove our engineer categorically wrong. Alesia smiles in an understated way as she continues “So I persisted getting other quotes, looking at other companies, but I just couldn’t find another company that would, A: deliver me what I wanted and B: seemed like a good enough company with a long enough reputation. So he was right.”


How important is our reputation?

The first reason that Alesia chose ASK was reputation as a solar energy company. This  meant a lot to Alesia and really influenced her decision to explore her options for a bespoke solar solution further with ASK Renewables. She had had bad experiences with tradesmen in the past which had left her feeling nervous about this big decision. She had found that a number of solar companies, when she checked on the companies house website had only been trading for year or two years. As ASK had been trading for over 13 years in solar and battery storage and had a solid reputation online backed by local recommendations, she felt safe in allowing us to quote for the work.

“So you can look on Companies House about any company and they’ve been trading for one, two, three years and you just think how can they have the experience to deliver what they say they’re going to deliver. Or as you can tell straight away that ASK have the experience, and I think that if a company has the experience, they will deliver what they set out to deliver and give you what you want to buy. And ASK definitely did that.”


The devil is in the detail

The second reason was that Alesia is very detail oriented. If you think you’re going to get a fudge answer past her then good luck with your prospects… “So I called the office and spoke to Samantha and I was initially impressed. I called so many different companies, maybe 20, and she was the most professional. She told me all the things I wanted to hear straight away, with other companies you really had to probe to get that information.”

Alesia would ask questions about storage battery discharge rates, G99s, inverter sizes and more. In many cases she had more knowledge about solar PV and battery storage systems than the companies she was contacting. Our solar PV system designer, Tom, had to work hard to keep up. Alesia had very specific goals for her system and we had to work hard together to get to a design that worked for her. Perhaps it was our open approach that made the difference: “I thought it was great that when there was something he wasn’t sure about, he said, “I’m not sure, but I’ll ask and I’ll get back to you.” So I felt there was an honesty there in the process.”


What role does price play?

Alesia, like most people, also had the cost of the solar panels and battery storage system in mind. She wanted a system that supplemented their lifestyle and gave her the flexibility to use power when she wanted and support charging for the family electric car. So she wanted significant solar generation at a competetitve price.

Again it was honesty that impressed here. “we spent so long deciding, the wholesale price had reduced and I, … just felt like… he didn’t need to tell us about that but he did and … passed the saving on to us …every stage there was some kind of reassurance so, I haven’t hesitated to recommend ASK to my friends and neighbours.”

She paused for a moment before continuing “Yeah, there was one other thing that amazed me actually about ASK is that we didn’t pay anything until it was fully installed, which was that was the only company out of all those 13 quotes that didn’t ask for a lot of money upfront.”

So we’re not sure that it was the competitive pricing on her solar installation so much as the open and transparent nature of that pricing that was the most important thing to Alesia, but we’re very happy our approach worked for her. 


So what can we learn?

What can we learn from Alesia’s experience with ASK Renewables? Well firstly, that a cheeky joke only works if it’s backed up with expertise and a solid long-term reputation as a solar energy specialist! Phew! But on a more serious note, being open to questions and willing to make sure of our facts before giving good answers goes a long way to reassuring our customers and keeping that reputation for honesty and competence. Our team know their stuff and we work hard to stay on top of every advance in solar and battery storage technology. But there are times that we need to ask questions of our suppliers or solve difficult problems too.  We have to make it clear to our customers when we need to do that. We loved the terms Alesia used: ‘honesty in the process’. In a sometimes complex world of advancing renewable energy technology, being straight talking is really important to our customers.

Price has a role to play too. It’s not about cheap solar panels but effective solar and battery storage systems that help our customers live their lives the way they want to. Again, being open about how we arrive at our quotes and keeping you all informed when prices in the industry change really helps everyone. The price of these technologies has come down recently and we’re keen to pass savings on to our customers so we can get more solar on British roofs and save more people more money.

Overall, the feedback from Alesia was a joy to hear. Her system is generating more than even she hoped and the process of getting there left her feeling like we had been a reliable partner in getting her the solar PV system she wanted. We always try to learn lessons from every installation and we hope to continue to learn. If you have any suggestions for us then please join us on our Facebook page link or visit our website and leave us a message on the contact page. 

Or give us a call on 01226 715522 . If there’s anything you’d like to know about solar panels and battery storage systems just ASK!