I’m fairly sure that a good portion of the industry watched in horror on Thursday evening as BBC One’s Watchdog programme highlighted the very dodgy double glazing sales tactics of a salesman from a window and door company. I’m also fairly sure that it made for very cringe worthy TV. If you are a homeowner and not from the window and door industry, let me say this right now: not every company is like that!
This is the eternal problem our industry has had for decades. The rogue, cowboy, rag tag labels our industry has are only reinforced by programmes like this. And it’s not fault of the tell makers, but the fault of the industry giving the telly makers a programme to make.
It’s also worth pointing out that the programme will have been edited to reinforce the very worst of the sales tactics being used. But again, that’s not the fault of the BBC, those tactics should not have been used in the first place.
We always complain about the bad press our industry gets. Quite rightly. It’s very frustrating that a number of unprofessional and rogue window companies manages to ruin it for the whole sector. But the better of us need to be hitting back now. Complaining isn’t enough. We should be mounting a positive PR campaign highlighting the general public to the huge amounts of fantastic work our industry does.
Do the public buy the hard sell?
On Twitter, as the industry was raging against the tactics being used, Nick from website Aluminium Trade Supply posted these two tweets as part of a longer debate about the show:
First of all, terrible language Nick ;-)! But on a serious note, I disagree completely that the public are happy to go along with it or happy to part with their money so easily.
We all know that the sales tactics of the bigger companies has been questionable at best. Bad sales people past and present prey on the vulnerable, not exclusively the elderly, to help close their sales – usually by a whole glut of tactics most of us find extremely unsavoury.
But it’s also worth pointing out that not every sales person in every big company is terrible. It’s also worth pointing out that there are also some terrible small window and door companies. Not every large company is rotten to the core FIFA style. And not every large company has got to it’s size purely on the back of rogue sales tactics.
Take early Everest for example. In the early half of their 50 years in business, they were widely regarded as one of the biggest and best companies in the industry. Known for high quality and reliability, they established their size based on good principles. It’s only since corporate greed, targets and high pressure sales became prevalent that standards dropped.
The industry I believe has to unite and go on a positive PR campaign to homeowners. We do so much good work, yet only the bad stuff makes the headlines. What this positive campaign should actually look like remains the question. I’ll get my thinking cap on.
And a last word to any homeowner who may be reading this, please don’t assume that all double glazing firms are the same, because they are not. If you’re thinking of buying new windows and doors, use a company you’re comfortable with, someone local, a company with a good reputation. Try and find a company that will give you their best price, in writing, from the start. Check out their products in their showroom. Make sure you know all the choices available. Don’t fall for any high pressure sales tactics. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is!
Double glazing, estate agents, used car sales…they all get their air time. I don’t think we need to worry about a national PR campaign as such, I think for those companies doing it brilliantly need to worry even less, because in reality, if this is the public perception (a small minority) then for the vast majority of talented, inspirational, trustworthy companies out there then they really do have the chance to shine. While the ‘watchdog’ approach might by perfect TV fodder, and you’re right it’s not the BBC’s fault that regrettably we still have some work to do to rid… Read more »
Of course those of us that work in the sector know the vast majority of the home improvement firms are ethical, professional and decent. They are simply people trying to earn a living selling quality products to good customers. This is a given. Whist there is obvious production in tv programmes such as the placement of a pensioner to make the point that the rogue double glazing salesman is somehow targeting a frail and vulnerable pensioner the wider point for me is that the big four generate £500+ million in turnover annually. Yes they only represent a small market share… Read more »
Why have you invited one of the big four into your home with no interest of buying these guys are self employed you have waited there time money to get to you next time someone gives you bad service don’t complain as yore a arse hole
We recently visited a customer to discuss a conservatory. While I was there the customer was telling me about a salesman who been there before me. Let’s just say he works for a large regional (North East based) company. The salesman quoted a price of £19,000.00 less than five minutes after having a quick measure up. The customer told him that was way over his budget. He proceeded to take £2000.00 off his price if he signed up there and then. The customer declined. After an hour and a half of pressure the customer asked him to leave. That was… Read more »
Very simple solution to the transparency issue that your industry faces. Publish prices online, build calculators that enable the homeowner to get an indicative cost of the various companies product and fitting services, u-values, colourways and other USBs product in a comparison table. Be transparent equals trustworthy, as an industry, you’ll all sell more windows.
Just had a visit from the one featured in Watchdog – we need a new front door and my wife asked them for a quote – I’ve in the past worked as a rep for Zenith about 12 years ago and also did door can and foot can before that while at college. I let the rep know this as soon as he arrived we had all the points in the program covered (I was trained at Zenith to do the same!) in about an hour. We do like their product and would have bought from them for about half… Read more »
Safestyle are rogue traders. Do not trust them. The sales person leaves you no paperwork or catalogue, apparantly “company policy”. Then you pay £100/- for their surveyor form the quotation figure. The company then ring you with an inflated price. In my case the reason was that I hadn’t told them that it was composite so they had priced for a upvc one. You have no way of arguing as no paperwork! Please beware. They have been on rogue traders before apparantly. They certainly are up to their old tricks again. Headoffice team rude and unhelpful. They should be stopped… Read more »