Our man on site
On the road with an installer
Our man on site
Sébastien Normand is one of several hundred thousand electricians who represent Hager Group in their contact with end customers as construction consultants, brand ambassadors and market researchers. Thanks to solutions such as Hager Ready, they are always able to offer their customers a fast and reliable service.
It is clear from the start that Sébastien is a craftsman of the highest calibre. The electrician from Obernai, France, is dressed for work in a bright yellow hoodie emblazoned with the words ‘Good One’ and a lightning bolt. This is the logo of Sébastien’s company. For Sébastien, being a ‘good one’ is not singing his own praises, it is an expectation he sets for himself. “I want to be a service provider who not only provides customers with outstanding products, but also gives comprehensive advice and, when necessary, rapid assistance,” explains the 39-year-old Frenchman. This self-imposed requirement is also reflected by the polo shirt Sébastien wears under his hoodie: the black shirt bearing the script ‘elexium’ shows that he is a member of Hager Group’s select network of electricians in France – Specialist tradesmen who support their customers even in difficult times such as the Covid-19 crisis. Sébastien himself came down with the virus in March, fortunately with only mild symptoms and was able to resume work after three weeks off; his immune status meaning that he was able to visit customers without putting himself or them in danger. “During the crisis, demand has been even higher than usual,” he explains, “I had to hire another employee to keep up.”
Sébastien is one of more than 20,000 electricians in France and several hundred thousand specialist tradespeople worldwide who install and maintain Hager products and solutions, as well as advising building contractors and responding to their requests and concerns. “Our partners like Sébastien Normand are our most important asset when it comes to listening to our end customers. Their feedback helps us greatly in terms of precisely understanding the demands of end customers, developing even better solutions and achieving success on the market,” explains Caroline Nivelle, Director Customer Marketing Europe at Hager Group. This remarkably close partnership with tradespeople has been one of the strengths of Hager Group since the company was founded in 1955.
A new development in this partnership is that electricians like Sébastien are now supported in their work by a hugely practical app from Hager Group. Hager Ready, which has been installed on Sébastien’s smartphone since 2017, helps users to plan residential projects, collect real estate data, calculate materials, order replacement parts and document the complete electrical installation. As this app saves electricians a lot of time, it also saves their customers money. The app also enhances communication between craftsperson and manufacturer and supports a direct, unfiltered exchange of information.
“Hager Ready allows me to do things like record the number and type of rooms a project comprises, what devices I need, where and how I will set the electrical installation. It’s really useful!” enthuses Sébastien. Hager Ready is an example of how Hager Group is using the latest technologies to ensure that it offers its partners and customers increasingly comprehensive services while constantly improving its understanding of their needs.
At the same time, Hager Group has always had a close connection with tradespeople. Sébastien’s grandfather worked at one of the Hager factories in Obernai factory in the 1960s, and his uncle and sister still work there today. For Sébastien, who set up his own electrical installation company almost two years ago and now has two employees, Hager was therefore the natural choice as a premium partner. Sébastien and Hager have something else in common too, a shared appreciation of quality, integrity and teamwork. “In the end, my ‘product’ is not just the electrical installations or solutions themselves, it is happy customers,” he says.
Just how seriously he takes this claim becomes clear during the very first customer visit of the day. ‘My Client is Rich’ is a marketing strategy and web design agency in central Strasbourg. The creative agency was founded in 2011 and assists customers throughout France, Germany and Belgium with their brand presence. ‘My Client is Rich’ sets its sights just as high when it comes to its own image; the offices are in fact a spacious blend of loft, studio, office, bar and exhibition area. The illuminated ‘My Client is Rich’ sign that fills one wall is an eye-catching feature; when darkness falls, a party-like atmosphere can be created in part of the loft thanks to ultraviolet light and a rotating disco ball. “We occasionally use our office as a party and concert venue,” explains agency boss Nicolas Schuster, referring to the unusual decor. The partnership with ‘Séb’, as Nicolas calls the electrician, for the electrical planning and installation of the loft was excellent.
“When renovating the office, we naturally required a lot of tradespeople on site. Unfortunately, many arrived too late, did not keep their promises or delivered poor quality,” says Nicolas Schuster. That was certainly not the case with Sébastien. Not only was he extremely reliable, he also proved to be an excellent consultant who offered expert suggestions and advice that greatly benefited the renovation project. “Séb is not just a ‘good one’,” laughs the agency boss in parting, “Séb really is the best one!”
How, then, can an independent electrician manage a large number of projects and appointments? How does he manage to complete his tasks both efficiently and to a high standard?
This is where Hager Ready comes in. Sébastien demonstrates just how helpful the app can be with his next customer. David Bergot lives with his wife and children in a bright and airy apartment overlooking the Place de l’Étoile in Strasbourg. The apartment, which dates back to the 1930s and still had original wiring, has been completely renovated with the help of Sébastien in recent months. The Hager Ready app automatically creates a PDF file; Sébastien first prepares a room data sheet which gives a detailed view of the customer’s needs and is used as the basis for the installation plans. If part of the installation does not comply with legal regulations, the app immediately issues a notification and recommends alternatives that meet the relevant standards.
I want to offer my customers both excellent products and comprehensive advice and if necessary help them as quickly as possible.
Sébastien estimates that Hager Ready saves him over an hour of organisation and labour time per project. “Instead of having to document all of my projects and order devices in the office at the end of the day, I can take care of it before I even leave the construction site.” And Hager Ready also assists the electrician with the subsequent installation; using the app and his battery-powered printer, he is able to create, print and attach labels for appliance identification on the distribution board on site. If a colleague goes to the building site instead of him, they have all the data, devices and information on the project at their fingertips. And so, at the end of the day, the app saves both the electrician and his customers a lot of time, effort and hard cash.
“Hager Ready is a hugely practical digital assistant for tradespeople, and it improves our connection with these partners,” says marketing expert Caroline Nivelle. Following the extremely positive reception among French electricians, Polish and German versions of the app were released on the App Store in 2019. “Thanks to Hager Ready, we are now able to be in continuous contact with our electricians. As this has been met with such a warm welcome by all sides, we will gradually be rolling out Hager Ready for other markets.”
Hager Ready saves me over an hour of work on every project.
For Sébastien, this means he will have even more time to advise his customers in future. This is also important because smart home technologies are making electrical installations more complex. He comments that, “…many customers still have no idea about all of the possibilities that come with a smart home, so every project begins with a comprehensive consultation.” Sébastien will soon be able to plan these appointments in good time with Hager Ready.
The best assistant
In just a few months, Hager Ready has already attracted a huge fan club. It has been downloaded more than 130,000 times, between 40,000 and 50,000 electricians use it every month and more are joining them every day. The app was first launched in France in 2017 and has made a huge contribution to the everyday work of electricians. It allows tradespeople on the move to easily create appliance identification labels with the dictation function, print the necessary documents at the construction site, and to plan projects anywhere, any time. The app is also a practical platform for Hager Group, enabling the company to maintain continuous contact with its trade partners and customers.
“Our recipe for success is actually very straightforward; we have systematically put ourselves in our customers’ shoes. We developed the app with electricians, had them test the prototypes and listened to their advice,” says Philippe Dennler, an IT Director at Hager Group responsible for the project. In the coming months, Hager Ready will be expanded to include functions such as schedule planning and reserving training sessions. And as these functions are not only relevant to French electricians, but also to their colleagues from other countries, the successful app will gradually be rolled out to more and more markets.