Quality over quantity: why top-notch customer service is key in solar

It’s not all about price, customer service must come first says CEO and founder of Kimble Solar, Chris Sadler. 

Chris Sadler talks about importance of customer service.

In an industry that has seen a surge in demand thanks to rising energy costs and climate consciousness, it can be tempting for solar companies to focus solely on products and installations. However, prioritising customer service and top-notch workmanship is equally vital for long-term success. 

Quality over quantity 

Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. Generally, if you pay cheap, you’ll end up paying twice. These old clichés ring true when it comes to solar installations. ‘Cheap’ rarely equals good quality or value, and you may end up spending more long-term by having to re-do or replace shoddy work. 

With solar, if you go for the cheapest installer, it could mean that they have ‘under-specced’ your system to lowball the quote, leaving you with insufficient solar to offset your energy needs, ultimately leading to a poor return on investment. This means that, although you feel like you’ve saved by choosing the cheaper option, the system will not provide enough savings to pay off your initial investment, unlike a properly designed system. 

Alternatively, the installer could be using subpar products or providing shoddy workmanship that will lead to issues later down the line. We’ve all heard of tradesmen cutting corners, and there are sadly also this type of tradesmen in the solar industry. Safety is paramount when it comes to PV installations so it’s important to keep this in mind. 

Some installers give initial pricing, only to add on hefty extras later in the process. Their seemingly ‘budget-friendly’ quote may omit essential items like scaffolding or bird blockers that other companies include within the total price, making their pricing deceptively low in comparison. You can be confident that higher-priced companies are providing transparent, comprehensive fixed pricing without sneaky add-on fees down the road. Their quote will include all essential requirements for a satisfactory installation from the start. The companies giving honest, all-inclusive quotes might even end up being cheaper than the companies who offer low-ball quotes and add on various extras down the line.  

Motivation for solar  

A cheap installer may also lack proper experience, qualifications, insurance coverage, or deposit protection schemes. This is very important for the customer, because if the business is not generating enough profit margin, the company risks going out of business within a few months to a couple of years, meaning they will not be around to honour warranties or provide assistance when needed. It’s also likely that a solar company that puts profit before everything else won’t have a robust customer support team to provide adequate aftercare services either. 

A higher price for quality customer service makes it more likely that you are genuinely getting the most suitable photovoltaic system, thoughtfully designed for your specific home, energy consumption patterns, lifestyle needs, and solar goals. This increases the chances of achieving the best possible breakeven timeline and return on investment if financial factors are your primary motivation.   

Companies charging premium prices tend to be highly experienced, accredited, and knowledgeable in their field. They will take the time to truly listen to the customer’s requirements and create a bespoke system design, even if it is more difficult for them, rather than recommending an easier or more profitable option for their own interests.  

You should also have direct access to a technical support team who can promptly answer questions, resolve issues, dispatch technicians should you have significant problems, and provide attentive ongoing service instead of leaving you cold after installation. 

Look to smaller, customer-centric companies  

While large nationwide solar companies may offer cheaper pricing models based on high sales volume, their customer service often suffers as a result. As one of thousands of clients, you may struggle to reach their support teams, get stuck in circles with robotic phone menus, and encounter rigid policies designed to process you like a number rather than an individual.  

Working with a smaller local family-run business means you are a valued client who receives personalised attention. You will get to know the technical team on a first-name basis and can reach the same people directly every time you need assistance, rather than being passed around anonymously. 

Prioritise integrity  

Bad work destroys reputation fast. Online reviews speak volumes. To build an enduring brand, you must foster a service-first culture, obsess over details, and operate with integrity as the backbone. This philosophy allows a small, local, family-run business to flourish. Remember, on some review platforms, unscrupulous companies can post their own fake 5* reviews, so the reviews you can trust the most are any 1-3 star reviews as they will be from genuine customers, instead of just skim-reading the top few 5* reviews, filter for any lower reviews. 

So, while aggressive pricing and big business will always exist, smaller solar companies shouldn’t lose sight of what builds respected brands – exceptional service that ‘wows’ clients from first contact through the final install. When you prioritise integrity, your customers become your biggest ambassadors. 

Image: Kimble Solar