How a Plumber Saved My Business

The title sounds like hyperbole, but I believe it's true. I have a small sales team of three people. They are on the phone all day long introducing our services to literally hundreds of prospective customers everyday.

We were a start-up, and I rented an office in quiet location. I was conscious of things like traffic noise, and even noise from neighbouring businesses, so I knew that a quiet environment was essential for our telesales team to perform at their best. Each sales person had their own sound booth AND noise cancelling headphones. Call me extreme, but I had studied up on perfecting telesales, and I wanted conversations to sound more intimate without any noises in the background. There's nothing worse than taking a cold call only to hear other telesales people in the just feel "pitched to".

Anyway, our troubles started as we headed into late autumn. Sure enough, I started using our heating system for the first time. From the moment I turned on the heating, I could hear the pipes groan, along with all kinds of disconcerting gurgling and water rushing noises. However, the worst noise was this persistent banging noise that would last a minute or two. True to my usual stoic self, I put this down to the heating not being used in months, and it would right itself soon enough.

I was wrong.

The noise didn't let up. After 3 days of cacophony from the pipes, I got the landlord to get a plumber to look at it. By this time, my telesales team were complaining. They could hear the noise as it was SO loud, and one sales person even said some of the people he was talking to could hear it, despite the noise cancelling headphones! This was harming our sales performance.

The plumber came around, listened to the racket from the pipes, smiled and nodded, and said he knew what was causing it. He went to work, and after a while...silence. I felt a rush of joy, then a sense of dread...perhaps he'd turned the heating off? I went to check, and again...euphoria that the heating was ON and we had silence! I thanked and paid the plumber, and we got back to work again.

However, a week later, the noises returned with a vengeance. I couldn't believe it. Did I need to call out a plumber every week to sort this? I even toyed with the idea of just abandoning heating altogether and supply me team with winter clothing and hot drinks. I presented that idea as a joke. Nobody laughed. I had to get another plumber out.

I write this now in late spring, and it looks like the heating is off for another four or five months. The second plumber really worked his magic on the plumbing system. My team has performed very well through our first year and it looks like my "sound of silence" theory has really paid off.

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