We can’t help it, customers know so much about our industry than they did just a few years ago thanks to the internet. It’s a good thing really. Their research helps them to understand the products that are on offer and how they can personalise it to their tastes. But there is still a lacking of understanding of the whole process of our industry and I think that is where we should be educating the public to understand it better.
I believe educating the customer about how and where their windows and doors are made works better for you as an installer. For example, we all have those customers which expect products to be made in an unrealistic timescale. By explaining to your client the manufacturing process, hopefully they will understand that as an installer you are waiting for the suppliers you use to produce and then deliver the products they have ordered.
Knowledge of the manufacturing process can also aid in solving problems. It’s real life people, and in real life we all get problems. We can’t hide from that. Education is key if there is a problem with the product that you have installed. For example if there is a scratch on a frame, or the door you fit is the wrong colour. By explaining the manufacturing process to the customer, you can explain to them that the problem originated from the supplier and not the installer. What this then does is to (hopefully) relieve the pressure that might have been put on the installer, and allowed the customer to understand that the issue lies with the supplier. That way, the road is left clear for a swift resolution to whatever the issue might be.
Education also allows the customer to better understand the options available to them. The amount of choice on offer is almost mind-boggling to us sales guys never mind the customer. Knowing what option you can have with this and that is a difficult thing to understand if you’re a client. So educating the customer in exactly what is available will not only help the client understand what they can and cannot have, but also make the job of pricing the job a bit easier for you.
What it also does is to demonstrate to the client that you are prepared to spend a bit of time with them in helping them make the right choice. On more than once occasion I have spent time with customers where they have explained that previous sales staff from other companies haven’t bothered to explain to them the full array of options to choose from and had been left felt like they didn’t care. Educating a client reassures them that you’re not going to rush the sales process and pressure them into signing anything.
Education, although it might seem something very obvious, is something that a lot of companies don’t spend the time doing. Perhaps this is why there tends to be one too many complaints from customers saying “that’s not what I ordered”. Yes its a bit boring, but do spend the time enlightening the client to all that is available, it pays off in the long run.
Problem seems to be the more choice the more indescive the customers seem to be.
And that’s just with the glass pattern book.
I spent (when I was still in the industry) a good deal of time explaining the manufacturing processes, the design features and benefits, showing the quality of the individual points, and showing short videos of the manufacturing process to help customers understand what they were buying and why they would make an error buying cheap products from someone who couldn’t explain the value proposition. Sadly the great British public are getting the attention span of a gnat, don’t absorb the knowledge and still expect you to go back and sell at the price of a cheap merchant they see afterwards.… Read more »
Hi Londoner I agree with the point you make about customers buying cheap – it’s a problem I try and combat in the showroom and explain that by purchasing quality, they get a wider choice of options and better standard of product and workmanship. However, no matter how strong a quality control process a business has, mistakes can still happen that originate from the manufacturer. The place I work at has one of the most attentive processes of a lot of companies. Our paperwork from start to finish is as tight as a ducks backside to make sure the chances… Read more »
And those examples are reasonable approaches. But what you wrote originally was: “For example if there is a scratch on a frame, or the door you fit is the wrong colour. By explaining the manufacturing process to the customer, you can explain to them that the problem originated from the supplier and not the installer.” And my view is that you shouldn’t have got the product to the customer’s house. So if the worse is turning up with the wrong handles with the intent to change them in due course, then no issue. It’s better to fit the whole house… Read more »
Hi Londoner, I agree with you about selling a great product and service to a customer only for them to say later we really loved your company but we have gone for a more competitive quote (i.e cheaper) but if we wanted to drop our price by about £700 then they ‘may consider’ us. It’s very disheartening at the moment! There are companies out there doing crazy deals which we can’t/won’t compete with, for example, upvc door fully fitted from £395!! French doors fully fitted from £550….that is our current market and unfortunately customers are falling for it. We had… Read more »
Sounds to be like Victoia Plumb, telling people to go all the nice (expensive) showrooms, find what you want and then order on line, because you don’t pay for one of these, a Sales advisor, consultant, man and the nice showroom.
Unfortunately all our experience, time spent fuel burnt and advice is free.
After all we all offer free no obligation quotes.