“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.” In the consumer market where tradespeople enter the home, the issue of trust is the major factor in whether the consumer will buy and feel comfortable with that decision.
I have had some great tradespeople and some which I quickly eject from my home, but many consumers are not so binary; they will potentially put up with what they don’t like only to complain later or refuse to pay.
Membership market: what value do you really get?
2019 will be a year when many membership businesses ramp up the pressure in trying to convince installers that the consumer listens to them and through being a member, they are somehow advantaged.
Glazing is a mature membership market and there are too many players vying for attention; the primary issue to the installer should be: what value do you get?
Too many brands are trying to influence the consumer’s decision to the point where installers can drive themselves mad in trying to determine which membership will benefit their ability to sell and provide a genuine service.
Stats and false impressions
Statistics used by membership companies can be manipulated to give many false impressions. Often the reason a statistical number exists is only mildly related to the point being promoted.
Consumers will always place personal recommendation from someone they trust far ahead of anything else, and this comes down to the experience installers give to consumers and their reputation in the local community.
Too often consumer-facing brands take the money, providing only a logo to display so that installers can effectively help attract more members for them. Our relationship with the homeowner, as an industry, is not good enough and to change this we need to professionalise the way we work.
If you look after your customers within your community, they will promote you and your business will flourish. Perception surveys tell us that all consumers want to know is that the work you do for them is good quality, and the price paid is fair for that work.
The ‘poor’ consumer
We hear many stories about the poor consumer – who is projected into an almost saintly status – taken advantage of by the unscrupulous trader. Where is the membership body when this is happening? In my view, they don’t seem to be stood alongside anyone but their largest members.
Rogue consumers exist and are just as common as the rogue trader, and as membership bodies cannot be all things to all people, they need to choose the path in which they operate carefully.
What an installer needs
The successful growth of Certass over the last year has come from understanding what an installer needs and then supplying only that. Certass sees its job as to deliver information and services that help a business grow, promoting its members ahead of itself. It’s about championing installers who do well and offering support when things go wrong.
If something within the industry isn’t right, Certass will stand up for change. This is why it campaigned against mandatory qualifications in glazing last year. While industry-wide qualifications can be an attractive idea, competency assessments prove that qualifications don’t deliver the right result when it comes to the ability to do a job. Put simply, the qualification structure needs to be fixed before we do anything else within that arena.
If an installer promotes a professional image, produces professional quotes and simple contracts, plus is courteous during the sales process and the installation and sees the consumer as a partner, then our industry will move in a positive direction.
If you are looking for a membership body, choose one that provides a service that you require and adds more to you than just a logo to stick on your van.