Faisal Hussain, Chief Executive of the Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS), explores the challenges faced by window, door and conservatory installers in his recent column with GGP.
I’d like to start this first column with some context. Many readers will be familiar with the DGCOS brand and our consumer protection allegiance. Some installers may know us as the ‘George Clarke scheme’ while other installers rely on our practical support day in day out as a DGCOS member. In 2022, we are setting out to be more, so that our members can be as supported as possible throughout their installer journey.
A Service Economy with trust at its core
There’s little doubt that following the turbulence of recent years, a new world has emerged, bringing with it more transparent ways of doing business. This new ‘service economy’ is based on trust and integrity, something that lies at the heart of DGCOS. There is no longer space – or patience – for businesses who use smoke and mirrors. In 2022, transparency will be king. While we can’t ignore the challenges we’re all facing, the new year offers us the chance to tackle these issues collaboratively.
Starting from a unique standpoint
Without going over the much trodden ground of the challenges facing installers, from COVID, to labour shortages, the road to Net Zero by 2050, to supply chain issues, we will be taking the opportunity to demonstrate to forward-thinking installers, how working with DGCOS can give them a critical point of difference and real, true business support. It’s also worth saying upfront that DGCOS is not for everyone, and indeed we have a strict vetting process to join. We probably are ideal partners for about 10% of installation businesses working day in day out in the double glazing sector. But for those who have joined, they say that membership is invaluable.
More than the ‘George Clarke scheme'
Thanks to DGCOS’s established position of already having helped hundreds of thousands of consumers and given hundreds of fenestration businesses a critical point of difference, with strong partnerships forged with financial bodies, insurance houses, Competent Person Schemes (CPS), I believe we offer some of the strongest business support in the industry. Our mission now is to demonstrate and grow understanding of how we can benefit the entire installer journey.
We’ve spent the last few years working hard to ensure we can add value at every single point of an installer’s journey, from setting up and registering a new business, marketing and digital support, sales advice and POS, installation, customers service and satisfaction, to annual reviews to see how together we can keep on improving. Just to give a flavour of some of the practical ways in which we’re currently helping our installers: we’re paying for the CPS notification fees saving members approximately £1.65 per notification; introducing them to finance brokers/lenders to gain access to consumer finance; offering 24/7 access to the online portal for CPS building control regulations to cut down on admin; providing access to an independent Ombudsman and Trading Standards to prevent issues from snowballing in time and cost. We’re especially proud that our installer marketing collateral has been awarded the Plain English Crystal Mark which is a seal of approval demonstrating that our collateral is clear and can help consumers understand exactly what they’re getting when they buy from a DGCOS member. And of course, yes we do have the powerful endorsement of our Brand Ambassador, George Clarke, for members to use.
What will your Installer Journey in 2022 look like?
We’re proud and delighted with the strong position that the DGCOS brand is in as we start the new year. We want to share the benefits of our powerful business support engine with as many installation businesses as possible, to collaboratively raise industry standards and ultimately help and protect both consumers and our members in an ethical way. In future columns, we’ll be focusing on specific advice for installers ranging from finance to marketing to dispute resolution. I’d love to hear from any businesses with specific areas they’d like covering or specific topics to get into.
DGCOS is the industry’s consumer champion and we invite you to join us on the journey in 2022. Together we can move towards a more ethical, quality focused and inspired future.