Although the title might seem a bit negative, and yes, it is, this post is intended to highlight some of the traits of the industry that are doing us no favours at all. If we cut some of the following out, maybe we can become an even more efficient, professional and hell…respected industry!
1. Artificial discounts and sales
I’ll never get everyone to agree with me on this, but discounts and sales are what has caused some of the damage to the industry over the decades. The attempt by many to pull the wool over the customer’s eyes by starting of at ridiculous prices for a house full of windows to then have it drop by an astronomical amount really hasn’t helped our cause. Customers think we think they’re gullible enough to fall for it. The credibility of the company is completely lost to the customer at that point, and the trust is lost too. How can we expect customers to take us seriously in 2014 when a house full of windows can cost £25k one minute then £5k the next?
2. Hard sell sales
It’s 2014. The age of open information, increased need for transparency and customers have never had so many rights as they do right now. The practice of the hard sell in the customer’s home is very much a tactic from the 1980’s. You can’t tell me that if you had a pushy sales person in your home at 7pm in the evening pressuring you to spend thousands of pounds there and then without thinking about it that it wouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable. Well homeowners are more educated than that, so it’s time to approach sales in a more professional manner.
3. Get regulated
There has been a lot of rule changes over the past couple of years. In fact there has been way too much for the industry to cope with. It should have been phased in over a five year period so that we could all really get our heads round it and adapt as necessary. However it was out of our hands and there was nothing we could do about it. That doesn’t mean to say we all shouldn’t be following these new rules. I know it seems easy to bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away. Well it won’t. And if you don’t conform to all the new rules, then some potentially serious consequences could be waiting for you should you get caught. With FENSA threatening expulsion and the EU threatening fines and prison for non-CE marked products, is it really worth risking?
4. Poor installers
You can have the best product in the world, but if you get idiots to fit them, then they’re only as good as the worst products. The sales side of our industry is very good at raising standards with the customer. Building their hopes up to an amazing installation with conscientious installers working to high standards. Yet still we hear of nightmare fitters causing havoc and all sorts of problems. If you’re the boss of an installations business it’s imperative that you find quality, qualified fitters to carry out your work. Our industry still has it’s fair share of terrible fitters. One of the best ways to stamp this problem out is at the sharp end, at installation company level.
It is worth pointing out there are plenty of excellent fitters out there, but it’s the stubborn level of cruddy installers still spoiling it for the rest of us. In 2014 surely the issue of unqualified, below par fitters shouldn’t still be rumbling around.
5. Poor customer service
Despite 2014 being a great year for many, I think most of us will remember 2014 as the year of absolutely terrible customer service. I think the industry was woefully prepared for the upturn in business this year and have been caught on the hop, with customer service being the main casualty thanks to reduced staff levels. Common complaints this year have been poor quality control, lack of return communication, poor attitude etc. If 2015 sees an increase in industry activity on 2014, customer service really has to be on song because the industry cannot have another like we have just had.
6. There are still some terrible websites
We live in the information and mobile age. If we want something, we go to our phones and tablets and search for it. And once we have found what we have been looking for we want the website for that thing we have found to work well on our mobiles and tablets. Yet, I continue to see far too many websites that are outdated, not built for mobile web, populated with old fashioned images and limited information. I can’t tell you how vital it is in 2014 to have a responsive, mobile ready website populated with up to date information, quality graphics and have it be a tool which can increase your business. Don’t have a site like that? You’re probably losing business.