Keeping it personal paying off for South West retailer

When it comes to customer service, nothing beats a personal approach according to the team at TVM Bristol & Cheltenham. It’s the philosophy that has driven the growth of the independent mobility specialist which was founded in 2000 by Kevin O'Leary.

The company has developed a solid business covering Gloucestershire, Bristol and the surrounding areas. Apart from a full range of mobility equipment, the company also supplies automated equipment for doors, windows, curtains and blinds.

On leaving school, Kevin became an apprentice engineer for British Rail, before moving into the mobility sector with Wessex Medical (now Wessex Lifts). It was here, he says, he learnt that good customer service delivered through clear communication and a personal touch was paramount and according to Kevin, these are the values which run through TVM today.

"We have an honest working approach, with integrity in all we do” he says. "We tailor our service to each individual client and don’t restrict ourselves to one piece of equipment; we fit the most appropriate piece of equipment for each situation. We communicate clearly with our clients too, whether it’s the professionals who are specifying the equipment or the service user, so they know what to expect. The client needs to know how the installation process will work and when it will be carried out.”

TVM has been successful in gaining and retaining large Social Services contracts, which Kevin puts down to good personal communication, in addition to providing an excellent service.

Today TVM employ six people including a new apprentice, all of whom are an important part of the business. "From our client feedback, we know our engineers have a good rapport with our clients. Sometimes the engineer can be the only person the client sees that day, so engagement with the customer is extremely important.”

He adds: "All those personal interactions lead to greater customer satisfaction, which in turn builds customer loyalty and makes the clients more likely to recommend us to others. We get lots of repeat custom from clients and occupational therapists. They come back to us because we treat people as we'd expect to be treated ourselves.

The personal touch is very much in evidence on the company website and, in particular the ‘About Us’ page, where the team is introduced. Each member of the team has a short, fun biography including their hobbies, future dreams and explains if they were a chocolate bar, which bar would they be and why!

It’s a very easy but very powerful way of engaging with people who might be looking to do business with you for the first time.

Kevin says that he isn’t interested in extending the geographical area, preferring to ‘keep it local’. "If your area is too big and you have to drive too far, you are spreading yourself thinly. That can lead to problems. By keeping the company service area to an optimum size and operating with a local team of engineers, the service is kept personal.”

Plans for TVM include further development in the private sector, in addition to consolidating the working relationships they have with other companies in the industry. The company is the sole authorised UK distributor of the LockitDown Refrigerator Door Lock for fridges and freezers.

Kevin explains: "In 2013 a paediatric OT asked if we could access a fridge lock in the UK to save her the costly expense of ordering one from the US. Since then we have stocked and sold, via our website, the easy to install LockitDown Refrigerator Door Lock to thousands of customers in the UK. It has been sold for a variety of uses which include a prescription printer in a doctor’s surgery to manage ink costs, to prevent people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s putting food in microwaves, dishwashers and washing machines and to safely lock away drugs, medicines and potent substances in nurseries, schools, university laboratories, shared housing and nursing homes.”

The company can be contacted on 01454 501121 or by email at hello@tvmcltd.co.uk.

The website is at www.tvmcltd.co.uk