Family values key to firm’s success

Family values key to firm’s success
Family values underpin everything at ElectraServe - Allanah and Blair Watson with ElectraServe co-founder Graeme Church.

Celebrating 50 years in business and just as passionate about customer service as the day it was started, ElectraServe Ltd places family values at the heart of its success.
Co-founded by Graeme Church, ElectraServe has grown to be Ashburton’s largest provider of electrical services and solutions.
At 72 years young, Graeme is still actively involved in the business, though of late he’s reduced his weekly hours from 60 to 30 – perhaps still packing 60 hours worth of effort into a shorter time frame.
A true family operation, Graeme’s son-in-law, Blair Watson now has the Managing Director’s reins, while daughter Allanah is Administration Manager.
Blair has been part of the business since he was 18.
A sales role sparked an interest in the electrical side and after qualifying as an electrician and learning the job, Blair moved through various management roles before he and Allanah bought shares in the business about 4 years ago.
Complementing each others skills and style, Blair and Allanah both say that working together as husband and wife works very well – role model-ling that strong family spirit that is the essence of ElectraServe’s culture which filters to their team and through to their customers.
“When you treat your staff like a family member and you look after them, we know our staff will look after our customers,” explains Blair.
“We share the good news with our staff, and we talk to them about any bad feedback – just like you would do with any family member.”
Allanah adds that 100% compliance is a key focus for ElectraServe’s team.
“Whether than means quality, health and safety or electrical regulations, there are no short cuts – it’s the best work every time because we want to keep our people safe and coming home every night.”
Employing a large team of 39, ElectraServe has a wide range of complementary skills sets that includes air conditioning installers, electricians, refrigeration technicians, appliance servicemen and about 11 apprentices.
“Training is really important to us,” says Allanah.
“Good electricians fitting into ElectraServe culture were difficult to find.
Bringing one in from outside the area is difficult as they didn’t know the region and it was just a hard transition for them.
“So we decided to get the best fit for our business we had to train staff from the get-go, then retain them.”
An in-house training program sitting alongside polytech training ensures ElectraServe apprentices receive well-rounded exposure to the wide range of services offered to customers, and to the high standard expected.
“My passion is seeing young people leave school, come into this business and train themselves into a qualified electrician, then step up another notch where they’re bringing their own clients in, creating their own work and their own career path,” says Blair.
When working on construction projects and on large-scale irrigation schemes such as the Barrhill Chertsey Scheme, Amuri and Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Schemes, ElectraServe operates South Island wide.
Often sought after because of their electrical skills in regard to irrigation systems, ElectraServe has worked in Central Otago and Kaikoura and is currently working on a project in Kurow.
For day-to-day residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural work the Selwyn and Rangitata rivers provide the operation’s boundaries.
“We specialise in construction, on-farm and irrigation, air- conditioning and whiteware and do everything else in between that.

Family values key to firm’s success

“We want to be able to go onto a person’s property – say a farm – and we can do their irrigation pumps, dairy sheds, homes or cottages right down to their whiteware appliances.”
Blair says if you do the simple things like communication well you will go a long way.
“When people call us for a job to be done they get a date and a time for when we’re coming and we stick to it.”
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