Can you believe it? Another month has gone by. Don’t know about you but this year is absolutely zooming by. Time flies when you are having fun I guess. So lets dive in to September and see if it was a decent month for us and the industry.

No school effect

August is one of those months you know is going to be quieter than the rest. School holidays, vacations to warmer and more desirable locations. The thought of purchasing windows and doors simply isn’t on the to do list. September however is the month where parents get to offload their kids for a few hours a day and focus a bit more on home life again. So you would expect an increase in things like leads and sales. Well I don’t think it really materialised in the way many, including me, thought it would.

Sales for us have been OK. Nothing spectacular, not compared to previous months. We’re still ahead of target, only thanks to some stonking months earlier on in the year. There was certainly no “school effects” kicking in. And judging by some of the conversations with some other guys and suppliers, the feeling that things are yet to kick back in again is mutual. I think it is worth pointing out that right at the end of September I did find a marked increase in leads and sales, so perhaps the industry is in for a cracker of an October?

Unusually good weather

September was an odd one. The weather was actually OK. We had hardly any rain. Temperatures were way above average and even the sun came out for a lot of the month. Now, sometimes we think good weather helps business. But actually it sometimes works against it. For example, high street chain Next has issued a warning about it’s profits as they have said the good weather has kept people away from the shops, with people favouring the coast and entertainment destinations over the past few weeks.

I think this month has seen the good weather prompt a few people to do other things and withhold having their windows and doors replaced for just that little bit longer. I have often found that cold, wet and windy weather pushes people to make those sorts of home improvements at this time of year. So all being well next week we’ll be back to Atlantic fronts bringing rain, cloud and a good dose of wind!

Customer service issues still not going away

The recurring theme over the last few months has been the issue of customer service. I have seen an increasing number of public complaints from customers to their fabricators over customer service issues. Phone calls not being returned. Parts missing. Late deliveries. The list goes on. I’m afraid that all this comes down to the fact that most companies are still refusing to invest in more staff to help cope with the extra work load.

Existing staff members are being made to be stretched even further, with companies holding on to extra margin saved by not employing for as long as possible. Well those creaks are now turning into cracks and the industry is starting to really struggle under a skills shortage. September saw more rumblings of discontent. I think everyone understand that every company has problems. It’s an imperfect world we live in. But it is how a problem is put right which is the most important thing. Quite often, a bad experience is very quickly forgotten, being overridden by the positive experience in having the problem put right.

Predictions for October? I think we’ll see a surge in business again. I think leads will go back in the right direction. I still think customer service issues will plague many of us.

Did you find September a bit of a let down? Was it quiet or was it busier than you thought it was going to be? All comments welcome in the section below.

Coming soon on DGB: Industry set for 4 years of growth