There are a number of totally bogus selling methods out there in the window industry. We all know them. But during the recession a new one popped up that the usual suspects quickly grabbed hold of because it was at the forefront of the minds of consumers: scrappage schemes.
Just to clarify, during the recession years, the Government introduced a scrappage scheme which encourages consumers to cash in their old cars for a discount on new cars. It was highly popular. Car dealers got in on the act and agreed to put £1000 towards a new car purchase.
But as usual, the grimier bits of industry take something that works and spins it to their advantage. Which is what we seem to have in the window industry.
The car scrappage scheme was incredibly popular. As the UK recovered it was quietly scaled back as it was no longer necessary. Some car dealerships kept the name “scrappage scheme” as a way to market their own discounting structures, which is a big spin on the actual true meaning of the Government backed initiative.
Now, I signed up a customer earlier on in the week who explained to me that they had been pressured into giving a deposit to a sales rep just to get them out of their home and was told that to qualify for the ridiculous discounts and the “scrappage scheme” for windows they needed to place a deposit right there and then. So, apart from the crappy high pressure sales tricks, we now have the mention of “scrappage schemes” again. This did pop up when the car scheme was ongoing and window companies were trying it on then.
I explained to the customer, who had already cancelled their order with the other company and gone ahead with me at this point, that there had never been a scrappage scheme for windows, there currently isn’t and that there are no plans from Government for such a thing. This was simply a sales rep using the phrase to dress up their own daft discount structures and to dupe the customer into placing the order.
To any home owner that might have stumbled on this article, I want to make it perfectly clear that there is no official windows and doors scrappage scheme!
This is where our industry really fails the public. One quick Google search and it becomes obvious to anyone looking for a windows scrappage scheme that there isn’t such a thing and there never has been. The only thing we have had recently was the Green Deal and we all know how abysmal that was. Tactics like this only serve to further tarnish the reputation of our industry. Unfortunately it’s some of the biggest and loudest companies who do these sorts of things so the effects caused are bigger than if smaller companies were to act in this way.
In the gutter
I was shown a reminder on Twitter earlier on today that the reputation of the industry is still very much in the gutter. This is what I was tweeted (there’s a bit of swearing):
It’s the general public that defines our reputation, so you know it’s bad when we’re getting compared to MP’s, a teetering PM and the Brexit process in Parliament. I know that so many smaller, more professional companies out there have been trying very hard over the past few years to be the very best they can be. Indeed, there is a huge number of companies doing great work and leaving home owners happy at the end of it all.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of companies out there doing their worst it seems, to ruin all the hard work done by the better people and businesses in our industry. Personally, I thought we had made some degree of progress. But, after seeing that tweet and that person’s comparison then I think it’s pretty clear that we have many, many miles to go.
The solution is quite simple: cut out the bullshit. Stop the massive price drops, no one actually believes them any more. Don’t promise the earth, nothing in this world is certain. Be civil to the home owner. No one likes being pressured into doing anything when they’re supposed to be feeling comfortable in their own homes. Turn up on time. If sales reps or installers say they’re going to be there for a certain time, just turn up on time. It’s no difficult. These are incredibly basic things that all installations companies can do tomorrow that would make such a massive difference.
I really thought we had seen the back of “scrappage scheme” bogus tactics years ago when it still relevant in the car industry. Evidently not. To me, our industry remains right at the bottom of the pile when it comes to reputation and expectation from home owners. We’re down there with MP’s, and I don’t think you can get much lower than that right now!
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