Online ordering offers customers ‘freedom’ says VS market leader Quickslide.
There is a suspicion among many that the upward trend in online specifying and ordering is widening the gap between the large installers and the small ones. After all, conducting business on the Internet requires skill, time, and even a dedicated employee, right?
Not so, argues Tom Swallow, sales director of VS manufacturer Quickslide. Tom believes that doing business online should simply be an extension of doing business over the phone or over the trade counter.
As part of a wider strategy to forge even closer links with its customers, Quickslide’s website has been designed to make it easy for installers – small or large – to design, specify and order windows online.
Arguably, this is nothing new – companies are turning to the Internet in ever-increasing numbers to sell all manner of products. However, Tom believes that Quickslide is offering something different: the site has been designed from the ground up to make it easy for anyone to use, and to remove all chance of errors being made.
“The key to the website is the pricing engine,” Tom said. “It takes the busy installer into account and works with them to design their windows efficiently, while preventing errors. I believe it’s the first of its kind for the VS market.”
One simple mechanism that Quickslide has put in place to prevent errors and increase confidence in the website is to include a human in the process. “Installers are busy people, and there is every chance that they will use this service after a day on site,” Tom explained. “Therefore, they will be pleased that they are not simply dealing with a computer – all orders are revised by a Quickslide employee before production.
“Clicking to order does not commit to buying at that stage.”
The computer system is sophisticated enough to pick up simple errors such as ordering the wrong hardware or accessories. However, because many of those ordering online will already be customers of Quickslide, their buying habits are well known by the company. Therefore, the orders are only fed into production once everything has been cleared by an auditor.
“People do business with people, and we don’t want that way of working to disappear with the internet,” Tom said.
“Ours is a very human business, and we are able to interpret and anticipate requirements. The system will store a customer’s order history, and can detect repeat orders, but we know installers and buildings, and we can detect when something is out of place.”
The website is open for business 24/7 and actually changes the emphasis of the ordering process, Quickslide believes. It allows customers more time and control because there is no urgency. Orders can be worked on and reviewed at the customer’s pace. The company is confident that even customers not usually comfortable with a computer will feel at ease with the system. “This is why we say our system offers ‘freedom’ to our customers” says Tom.
Quickslide has also trained its delivery drivers to understand the products they deliver, and to carry literature and basic spares such as fixing brackets. “These guys are sometimes the only physical contact customers have with Quickslide,” Tom explained. “It makes sense that they are kitted out with some basic knowledge and equipment to help customers if they need advice or missing parts.”
Quickslide has clearly conducted its research, and discovered what works for installers and what doesn’t. A common theme running through recent developments has been to reinforce the supplier/customer relationship. “Service is the lifeblood of everything we do, and we don’t want that to change with the website,” Tom concluded.