Over the Christmas period I was asked privately by someone on Twitter what I thought installers looked for in a manufacturer. It got me thinking, and there is more than one answer, but all reasons must work in tandem with each other.
I say product range rather than quality because it depends on the type of installations company you might be. For example, the place I work aims to install some of the highest quality products available. That means we want to be able to have access to a fairly wide range of products to suit a variety of needs. However there are other installation companies out there that aim to be the cheapest around, which often means a far lesser product quality and a more limited range of products to install.
On a personal level, I believe that quality is the best way to go. Fitting 5 windows and a door for £1500 isn’t going to shout “quality” about your company. Yes you might be seen as the budget company for some people, but prices like that bring little to no margin and it will be difficult in the future to change your image from budget to quality.
If it were me, I would be wanting my manufacturer to show me they’re always focused on high quality.
Product is important. But people buy from people and it’s important that installers have a good working relationship with their manufacturers. I’m not saying it has to be rosey all the time. There will be occasions where when problems arise, installers should be able to speak frankly to their suppliers about the problems they’re having, and be able to work well together to solve the issues at hand.
But more than that, face to face contact is important. I know I go on about the wonders of the internet making communication easy, but it is sometimes nice to see a familiar face, have a chat, good informative exchange of ideas etc. Face to face meetings make good opportunities to introduce new products and new ideas. I want manufacturers to show up at my door on a fairly regular basis.
Quality Customer Service
Whilst face to face meetings are good, your local area rep isn’t the whole business. When you ring up your manufacturer you want every member of staff you speak to to be courteous, unrushed, helpful and accommodating. I have spoken to a few too many members of staff on the other end of the line where I thought to myself: “how are you still in a job?”
No matter how good the product or how slick the sales rep, if you speak to rude staff members at your manufacturer, it always leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. One of the main ingredients for a long term, loyal B2B relationship is quality customer service.
You can have the best windows and doors in the world, but if there isn’t a good quality control process in place, that won’t matter. Installers rely on manufacturers to deliver a product which is clean, without marks, scuffs and scrapes, and of course, made to the correct specification!
As the industry continues to pick up in 2014, it is important that manufacturers reinvest in people. Most companies downsized during the recession, but a big mistake would be to stretch the current workforce beyond what they are capable of. That’s when mistakes happen.
It might sound very simple, but one of the most important things to an installer, I believe, is reliability. Timing is important, down to the smallest things. If a manufacturer says they’re coming to deliver at a certain time, then they should turn up at that time. If they say they are going to bring a new product out at a certain time, then they should stick to that.
Installers rely on manufacturers to be reliable so they can run their own businesses efficiently.
These are just some of the things that I think installers look for from their manufacturers. Are you an installer? What do you look for specifically in a manufacturer? All comments welcome in the section below.