We’d love to live in a perfect world wouldn’t we? A world where we all live in harmony. Everyone gets on. Everything runs smoothly. Ah what a world. I bet it’s even sunny in the summer in the UK too! Unfortunately this is not the world we live in. We’re all human and that means mistakes are made. I think everyone accepts that mistakes and problems happen in our industry. But it is how these mistakes are dealt with. There is an art to a mistake.
Mistakes are a part of life, especially in the window and door industry. In fact it seems that sometimes we have more than our fair share of problems and errors. But that’s a gripe for another day.
It’s how our industry responds to these mistakes which is key. I regularly see tweets from various accounts complaining about various things from customer service, quality control, communication etc. And that’s the point, they are regular. Hinting that these errors are still occurring and not being dealt with.
The key to turning any mistake into a positive is the quality of the response. Speaking from personal experience working for an installation company, the quicker a supplier rectifies the mistake, the better it is for us. The little mistakes like missing items, the odd scratch, late deliveries etc all have a bigger knock-on effect for the installer. When these are kept to a minimum and are kept rare, life is generally good. But at the moment, judging from some of the social media chatter, these mistakes are not being learned from.
Quality control, or lack of it
The current trend of complaints at the moment is with glass, especially toughened glass. Lots of it being delivered with marks and scratches. And it is this apparent gap in quality control which is proving to be the bug bear for many disgruntled installers.
When a product arrives damaged or incomplete, it puts the installer in a predicament. Do they continue to install it anyway because they have a schedule to stick to, with the risk of the homeowner withholding payment because of the problems? Do they send the product back to the supplier, wrecking their fitting schedule. Do they try and put the problems right themselves, costing the installer time and money? There really isn’t a good option is there.
And this is why stringent quality control throughout the manufacturing process is paramount. I can assure everyone that an installer would rather wait a week or two more to get their products delivered right if it meant that a damaged product was discovered just before it got loaded for delivery. Damaged goods are no use to any installer.
At the end of it all, quality control is what decided cash flow and who gets paid and when. When things go well and windows and doors are made and delivered to high standards, they can be fit, homeowners pay installers and suppliers get paid from said installers. If they are not well made and there are mistakes, homeowners withhold payment and installers delay paying their suppliers.
So, the art of a mistake: make as few as possible, rectify them as soon as possible and learn from them so you don’t make the same one again!
As always, all comments welcome in the section below.