This tweet above from Ian, which was asked yesterday, was one that sparked a decent discussion about what customers want, or at least find more important: design or performance. This was something I had been giving some thought myself. The focus on the design and looks of installations has increased massively over the last few years, but it begs the question; what do homeowners now find more important?

Focus on design

For me, the reason why design has come into focus so much is down to three things:

  1. Homeowners are bored of white. After decades of white doors and white windows, homeowners are now branching out into a more exciting territory, looking at all sorts of colours wood grain finished in all the main fenestration materials.
  2. Far more choice. When you look at the market now compared to ten years ago, the amount of choice has probably increased five-fold. This has opened up a whole new world of possibilities to products which can have a dramatic change on someones house both internally and externally.
  3. Companies forced to diversify. During the recession, businesses were advised to seek new products to sell to find new revenue streams. This drove a lot of the progress in design I believe as installers looked at ways they could better their competition.

You only need to look at some of the recent installations on social media to see how far design has come in our industry. There must be some seriously happy customers out there. But whilst we’ve all been clambering to create the most eye catching installation, has the customer, and indeed ourselves, started to lose sight of performance a little bit?

Best of both worlds

Hand on heart I don’t think customers think less of performance. I’ve not yet come across a customer who has told me they don’t care how secure or energy efficient their new windows are, so long as they look good. Anyone serious about changing their windows and doors knows that security and energy efficiency has to be up there on the priorities list. What I think it comes down to in the end is excitement. The appearance of anything is something we’re all able to get excited about easily. Cars, windows, doors, phones, laptops, TVs etc we’re all able to get excited about and interested in quickly. Show someone a set of locks and a WER certificate and that excitement drops noticably. In the end, those features are functions and contribute almost nothing to the looks of the installation. What can I see, locks and saving money isn’t sexy!

But as installers we have a responsibility to make sure every window and doors installation has both killer looks and top notch performance. Just because a customer doesn’t rant and rave about the locks or the energy ratings doesn’t mean we don’t have to devote some time and attention to those areas too. We have to give the customers the full information on all of the products available and ensure that when it comes to fitting, they have chosen the very best products based on their requirements.

Your opinions

It would be interesting to know the opinion from you guys in the industry. Below is a poll to get a snap indication as to what the industry thinks the homeowner is most interested in. If you’ve voted but want your say on the matter, comments are most welcome in the section below.

[yop_poll id=”9″]

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