Just the other day I published a post in which I said that a flavour of the DGB of old will be making a comeback in 2017. You can read that post here. I also teased that there would be a number of fenestration big issues that would be in the DGB firing line during 2017, and that I would publish those in a new post. This is that such post.
There will be a high number of big glazing industry issues to cover during the course of 2017, but I have outlined five key areas that I will focus on, and that no doubt the whole UK glazing sector will focus on too.
1. The hard sell
It’s been a big issue at the end of this year on DGB. My post examining whether four hours is too long for a home sales rep visit has evolved with a big comment thread from the industry, with input from an important home owner, into the behaviour of one particular company and the treatment handed to that home owner.
The thread continues. But it has opened up the hard sell debate again, and it’s definition as to what constitutes a hard sell. For long time readers you will know that I, as many others are, strong opponents of any hard sell tactic. It’s unwarranted, unprofessional and only leaves a sour experience for the home owner. The issue has been been energised on there the last few days, which is great to see. And if something positive can come from it in the end then that’s a great thing too.
During 2017, it will be an issue I will make sure does not go away. And it’s not just our industry, but any industry. In 2016, not a single sector should allow an environment where companies are allowed to use any sort of hard sell tactic. Forget what constitutes a hard sell tactic for now. But no industry in the UK should allow it. Full stop.
I’m sure we’re all bored of hearing that word now, and what version of that word the UK is going to have. But like it or not, Brexit, and it’s political and economic implications are going to have a massive influence on the UK fenestration sector.
I have already set up a specific area on DGB to cover Brexit, and the major stories that have an impact on our industry. You can check out DGB Brexit here. Throughout 2017 I will be expanding the content on that part of the site, attempting to cover more ground, discover the things that affect our industry and try to predict where we’re headed.
To my knowledge, no other industry publication, online or in print, is undertaking such a task. So I intend to keep my foot on the gas with this and try and help shed some light on an often complicated, complex issue that has implications for us all, including UK fenestration.
3. Industry media
For me, the way our industry reports it’s stories, the way our industry advertises, is going to be under the spotlight in the coming 12 months. Or at least it will be for me.
We live in an internet age, with accurate, measurable stats that can tell us how an advert, a piece of PR or how a video is performing. There is absolutely no reason for any fenestration industry media company to not be using the power of the internet to their advantage, and to the advantage of their customers.
I’m not saying print is dead, but it has some evolution to do. There’s a lot of print publications with online offerings that need to be greatly improved. And not just online versions of their printed editions. They need to be forward thinking, with varying content, individual content. Print has it’s place in our industry, I have changed my mind on that. But it has to be in tandem with a properly structured, meaningful online offering.
I’ll be picking over the bones of that issue during 2017.
Specifically, Brexit-orientated price increases.
This year many businesses increased their prices, some by quite a significant amount, and came out in public blaming the the drop in the value of the Pound. This is fine, if that is the cause then that is the cause.
But given our unique circumstance, if Sterling continues it’s recovery into 2017, I think it is only right that companies who raised prices because of it’s drop, lower them as they begin to rise again. There is though a significant chance that they won’t. So, I will be making sure that the issue of Brexit-orientated pricing is one that doesn’t go away. If people have been told Sterling has been the sole cause of any price rises, people will expect prices to fall back as and when Sterling recovers. It’s only fair.
5. Customer service
I wouldn’t say that 2016 has been the best advertisement for customer service in our industry in recent times. We are a very fractured industry at the moment. Caught between major diversification, big M&A moves and a growing sector that is severely understaffed, under-trained and overwhelmed. That all leads to a noticeable drop in the levels of customer service to all companies at all levels of the supply chain.
During 2017, I will be pushing for industry customer service standards to be raised considerably. After all, an industry that runs smoothly and efficiently is one that is profitable and one that grows. Perhaps an important factor in also plugging the skills gap that only seems to be growing as opposed to shrinking.
During 2017 there will be of course many more issues that crop up during the year. There is another FIT Show too, and that in itself will get the whole industry in deep conversation once the exhibition is underway and there’s a ton of products to look at and review! However these are five areas that I have handpicked to give the DGB treatment to.
What do you think will be the major fenestration issues during 2017? What would you like to see me cover over the next 12 months? All comments welcome via the section below.
To get weekly updates from DGB sent to your inbox, enter your email address in the space below to subscribe: