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Why I'm working with DGCOS?

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Why I'm working with DGCOS? Brain Smith - DGCOS Strategy Consultant

As many of you will know, until August last year I was the Director of Home Improvement and Membership at the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) for over 6 years. Whilst I enjoy working within the industry I wanted a little more time to myself and to reduce my working week to three days. Unfortunately, this was not possible with the GGF, so I decided to establish my own consultancy (BAJSMITH Consulting) for the Double Glazing Industry, Retrofit Sector and Trade Bodies.

I could then make use of all my knowledge and operational experience in the glazing industry, and also use the contacts and relationships I had built up over the years, having regularly attended Government and other bodies’ meetings such as Each Home Counts, TrustMark Forums, National Home Improvement Council (NHIC), British Energy Efficiency Federation (BEEF), and Trade Association Forum.

In February of this year, I was invited by the Management Team of the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS) to visit their offices in Leyland to have a chat about the current status of the industry.

I was intrigued because I had always been impressed by the DGCOS scheme and what it offered to homeowners, plus its endorsement by Nick Ross. And incidentally, whilst at GGF I had never seen DGCOS as a competitor because the organisations are quite different, I had noticed that many GGF member companies were also members of DGCOS.

Working with the DGCOS Scheme and Brand

Having met with the DGCOS Management Team and discussed how they were following a new strategy to network with key industry leaders, trade bodies and government departments, and having spoken to several of the 35 employees at Leyland, I felt there was a lot of synergy between us and it made absolute sense for me to work with DGCOS as their Strategy Consultant.

As I said earlier, I am very impressed with the consumer protection offered by DGCOS which I believe to be the best in the glazing industry and a wonderful selling tool for installation companies when contracting with homeowners. What’s great for homeowners, is that if anything goes wrong and there is a dispute they can call on DGCOS to help resolve things, with the availability of the Home Improvement Ombudsman if required.

But on the other hand, what’s great for installers, is that DGCOS has professional mediators who mediate disputes to achieve a solution between homeowners and installers, with only four disputes being referred by the homeowner to the Ombudsman last year. The other 99% were all successfully resolved by the DGCOS mediators, 83% of those within 14 days. A brilliant statistic!

Interestingly, one of my first clients last year was a company who were already DGCOS members, and they particularly valued this mediation process which they told me saved their senior management team considerable time when they have reached an impasse with a customer. In addition, they valued all the point-of-sale paperwork and comprehensive insurance-backed guarantee (IBG) and services provided by the DGCOS scheme, which enabled their sales team to achieve high sales conversion rates.

DGCOS has all the Bells and Whistles

DGCOS is a consumer protection scheme which certainly has all the “bells and whistles” a homeowner needs for extensive comprehensive protection – it gives the homeowner complete peace of mind when they place their order with a DGCOS member. I have been attending TrustMark and Each Home Counts meetings for the last couple of years, and what is clear from the recent Each Home Counts framework seminars is that there will need to be financial protection for the homeowner which I would call “gold-plated”. So if an installer ceases to trade, then there will be a full back-up guarantee for the homeowner so they will not be disadvantaged in any way.

By “full back-up guarantee”, for the glazing industry, the discussion has been around providing an IBG covering up to 10 years, covering the installer’s guarantee for the same periods that the installer guarantees their products and installation. Moreover, it is clear that the IBGs which customers of DGCOS members receive already give such a full back-up guarantee for homeowners. Excellent!

IBGs - You only get what you pay for

To be honest, until recently, I had never read the policy wording of any IBG in the industry that are provided to homeowners. It’s quite enlightening when you read the wording of some of them! I discovered that some of the IBGs have several exclusion clauses, so if a homeowner’s installer goes bust, they may well find that their IBG and deposit cover do not actually cover their deposit or installation when they expected it would.

And on top of that, some IBGs do not cover the same length of time that the installer guarantees their products, for example an installer may give a ten-year guarantee on all products, but you may find that the IBG only covers (say) sealed units for five years and handles, locks and hinges for one or two years. The trouble is, the homeowner doesn’t choose their IBG, it’s chosen for them by the installer who in most cases does not read the policy to see what is actually covered.

Recommendation to all installers

I would certainly recommend that any proud installation company who really wants to protect their customers should check out and consider the DGCOS package to help make a difference when selling to homeowners, as it cannot be bettered in the glazing sector right now.

Just think of the points I mentioned earlier that one of my clients told me they like – a simple mediation process which will save your managers lots of time on dealing with disputes, point-of-sale literature which is second to none, and full comprehensive IBG and services from DGCOS which will enable you to really improve your leads to sales conversion rates.

   

If you would like to know more please contact me directly via email b.smith@dgcos.org.uk

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