I’m fairly sure that a good portion of the industry watched in horror on Thursday evening as BBC One’s Watchdog programme highlighted the very dodgy double glazing sales tactics of a salesman from a window and door company. I’m also fairly sure that it made for very cringe worthy TV. If you are a homeowner and not from the window and door industry, let me say this right now: not every company is like that!
This is the eternal problem our industry has had for decades. The rogue, cowboy, rag tag labels our industry has are only reinforced by programmes like this. And it’s not fault of the tell makers, but the fault of the industry giving the telly makers a programme to make.
It’s also worth pointing out that the programme will have been edited to reinforce the very worst of the sales tactics being used. But again, that’s not the fault of the BBC, those tactics should not have been used in the first place.
We always complain about the bad press our industry gets. Quite rightly. It’s very frustrating that a number of unprofessional and rogue window companies manages to ruin it for the whole sector. But the better of us need to be hitting back now. Complaining isn’t enough. We should be mounting a positive PR campaign highlighting the general public to the huge amounts of fantastic work our industry does.
Do the public buy the hard sell?
On Twitter, as the industry was raging against the tactics being used, Nick from website Aluminium Trade Supply posted these two tweets as part of a longer debate about the show:
First of all, terrible language Nick ;-)! But on a serious note, I disagree completely that the public are happy to go along with it or happy to part with their money so easily.
We all know that the sales tactics of the bigger companies has been questionable at best. Bad sales people past and present prey on the vulnerable, not exclusively the elderly, to help close their sales – usually by a whole glut of tactics most of us find extremely unsavoury.
But it’s also worth pointing out that not every sales person in every big company is terrible. It’s also worth pointing out that there are also some terrible small window and door companies. Not every large company is rotten to the core FIFA style. And not every large company has got to it’s size purely on the back of rogue sales tactics.
Take early Everest for example. In the early half of their 50 years in business, they were widely regarded as one of the biggest and best companies in the industry. Known for high quality and reliability, they established their size based on good principles. It’s only since corporate greed, targets and high pressure sales became prevalent that standards dropped.
The industry I believe has to unite and go on a positive PR campaign to homeowners. We do so much good work, yet only the bad stuff makes the headlines. What this positive campaign should actually look like remains the question. I’ll get my thinking cap on.
And a last word to any homeowner who may be reading this, please don’t assume that all double glazing firms are the same, because they are not. If you’re thinking of buying new windows and doors, use a company you’re comfortable with, someone local, a company with a good reputation. Try and find a company that will give you their best price, in writing, from the start. Check out their products in their showroom. Make sure you know all the choices available. Don’t fall for any high pressure sales tactics. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is!