As part of our series of interviews with Early Adopters, Oliver Gilcreest was kind enough to hop onto a 121 call to answer a few questions. Oliver is a highly qualified gas engineer specialising in installation and technical repair with 18 years experience.

1. As a plumber and gas technician, in your experience over the years, what proportion of call-outs made to homes each week do you think could have been resolved via a live video call between the customer and the pro?

I feel that at least 30% of call outs could be resolved over the phone and a further 20% of faults could be diagnosed without attending the property. This saves the homeowner a call out charge and hopefully leads to a first-visit fix if required.

2. What do you feel 121with offers you from a marketing perspective?

121with offers me the opportunity to reach a large customer base who I otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. With the anticipated advertising and website traffic 121with brings, my business will be up to date with digital advertising and generate a better online presence. The free exposure provided by 121with is a huge benefit that can’t be ignored. Also an easy way to make some extra money on the phone finally is a nice touch.

3. What benefits can you now offer consumers?

Homeowners can resolve some issues 24hours a day without paying huge call out charges. They also gain knowledge of how their heating systems and controls work that otherwise would could result in future call outs. Knowledge is power and 121with hands that back to consumers.

4. How have you found the journey with 121with so far?

So far the support I have been given is second to none. The app is intuitive to use and if you’re unsure the support tab is there to help. They have also developed a great Invoice and Payment feature which means I can bill a customer on a call-out via the app and they can pay it immediately via one touch. No hassle for the customer and immediate billing and payment for me.

5. So give us three quick tips on what people should be doing now to ensure their boilers don’t break down this year.

Service your boiler and ask the engineer for a system and controls check over (before his/her visit). If that is outside of your budget make sure: The pressure is correct (usually 1-1.5 bar), There are no new noises from the boiler, radiators or airing cupboard and make sure everything works as normal.

6. For those new to the idea of home help via video call, can you give us a taste of some of the plumbing problems and troubleshooting you can easily fix over video?

  • Pressure issues and related fault codes
  • General fault codes and posable causes
  • Noises
  • How to use controls (very handy for landlords with new tenants)
  • How to stop property damage from leaks (isolation/draining)
  • How to reset minor fault conditions
  • Costing issues

7. What happens if your Plumber/Gas Technician can’t help via a 121with call?

If the issue can’t be resolved over the phone a home visit could be arranged with clear and precise costing in advance. At the very least, after the call the customer should have a much better understanding of what the issue is, and what is required to resolve the problem. This enables the customer to make informed decisions and speak confidently with the call out engineer.