In A World Where You Can’t Please Everybody All Of The Time………

…………….You should never be hostage to “Social Media” reviews

Here at SuperSkills, we do everything we possibly can to try and make our customers have a great experience.  Most of them really don’t want to be here anyway, but getting their CSCS Cards and NVQ certificates is pretty much mandatory what with the requirements of construction sites and companies – and that’s before the Insurance Companies want to see some proof that staff are qualified, otherwise they may refuse to cover you.

So, Suzy, Julia, Eleanor & Mel are really used to the person on the phone asking about a qualification turning out to be a 56 year old Bricklayer, who has been working perfectly well for forty years, who can lay umpteen bricks a day without breaking stride and who is deeply unimpressed with having to demonstrate his skills to get his NVQ.

However, their knowledge of what is required, the respect they show for trade skills had-won by years of site work and outstanding levels of helpfulness (and that’s not me saying that – it’s the customers) soon settled people down, calm their nerves and get them on their way to obtaining the right “Skilled Worker” CSCS Card.

Once people arrive at SuperSkills for assessment, that level of service continues.  Pick-ups from the railway station are routine, tea and coffee is in never-ending supply and our assessment staff do everything they possibly can to make sure the whole process is quick, simple and convenient.  To avoid complacency, we survey every customer at the end of their programme and it is unusual for somebody not to meet either myself or Suzy, because we know as business owners, it is essential to see for yourself that all is going well.

But SuperSkills has another – really important – responsibility and that is to the CITB.  We are the guardians of their qualifications.  To achieve NVQ Level 2 in a trade, you have to be able to demonstrate the relevant skills and capabilities to a level set out in the qualification.  It is in nobody’s interest to fiddle the process.  Apart from anything else, when someone’s on a site, do they want to be working alongside a so-called trade who is simply not up to the job?

This applies in particular to people who enquire about taking a qualification via the “Experienced Worker Practical Assessment Route“, for which SuperSkills has a well-deserved high reputation across the country.  There is no point in getting somebody to pay good money and travel to our place in Thirsk, Yorkshire, if we do not think they have the right experience to be successful using the “Fast Track” route to their NVQ.

For example, you need to have at least Five Years general site experience in a trade to access the “Experienced Worker” route.  Even then, you need to be able to get the evidence from your workplace that will substantiate your skills.  We get loads of calls from people who are just not experienced enough to undertake the assessment.  On Site Assessment and Training is what they need.  However, there are those who are disappointed when we tell them this and occasionally, they are – to put it mildly, “less than polite”.

Normally, we listen, explain and everyone moves on.  However (and such a case happened recently) someone will threaten to give adverse reviews on the internet simply because we did not think they were ready for assessment and that’s a bit worrisome.  Not just for us, but for many other businesses in the Service Sector of the economy.

I’ve even had the rather strange experience of somebody who had completed their assessment successfully and when it came time to pay, demanded a discount, otherwise he would give SuperSkills adverse reviews.  (It’s actually quite hard to remain polite under those circumstances.)

Charlie Mullins, of Pimlico Plumbers echoes this experience in his Blog, which describes the “Wild West” that many review sites have become.  There are particular issues in some sectors of the economy, where trade is gained and lost through inaccurate (and sometimes downright malicious) reviews.  TripAdvisor and Amazon have also been subject of fake “reviews” designed to push business in a particular direction.

So, overall, like any other aspect of business, you trade in the circumstances that prevail and you hope that potential customers have the common sense to recognise you’re providing a service that may or may not be the right one for them.  However, I would always prefer to see a customer get what they need elsewhere, rather than try and get them to come to SuperSkills on a programme that isn’t right, or for which they simply don’t have the right experience.