Thursday, 23 February 2012

EDITOR'S COMMENT: “It’s not worth my while”

Kitchens & Bathrooms News
Editor, Philippa Turrell
My TV’s broken, kaput, knackered. There’s no sound and no picture. It’s not the best time in the year to fork out for a new flat screen. But the ‘on’ standby button, and the fact it’s only five years old, suggests that it may just need a replacement part. Why not try a repair shop? Better still, why not try an independent, local business – after all we all know the high street needs support. They’ll be happy of the trade. Well, that’s what you may think. I’ve now tried four and the stock answer has been the same: “It’s not worth my while”. And there was I thinking the job description was in the title!
And it’s not just TV repair shops. I had a similar response from plumbers when my shower was leaking - but they added a sharp suck of breath through their teeth. There seems to be a number of small traders that think business through their doors is not only a given right, but it must be within a certain price bracket too. Could this be why the high street is so under threat?
So, it got me thinking if kitchen and bathroom designers or showrooms can be guilty of it, too? While you’re waiting for the ‘worthwhile’ project, have you turned down smaller sales opportunities? Have you helped the customer who needed a replacement part worth a matter of pence? Did you offer to go to their house and help replace the broken WC seat with rusted on wing nuts? (Yes, I’ve had that problem too!). When was the last time you offered free advice to someone who walked through your door or called your business?
...Or are you guilty of uttering the immortal phrase “It’s not worth my while”?
If you are, you’re not only missing out on future sales from that client. Who wants to go back to a business that was unhelpful? But you'll miss out on gaining a referral too – the cheapest form of advertising there is. Worst still, you may even find yourself with a poor reputation broadcast to family and friends - now no longer just locally through ‘word of mouth’ but further afield using social media!
But perhaps the scariest scenario for the independent bathroom or kitchen designer or retailer is you may even lose your perceived expertise. Consumers who have faced the “not worth my while” stonewall are turning to the anonymity of twitter or online forums. There you're not made to feel daft asking the question. You can find handy consumer-to-consumer recommendations and from savvy businesses who have found there’s a penny to be made in offering advice too.
With recommendations, quick-fix suggestions and even product user testings now available online it further diminishes the reason for a customer to step through a showroom door! So next time you’re tempted to say “It’s not worth my while”, take a good hard think. Is it worth risking the survival of your business, not to?
As for me, I’m off to buy a new TV. I think I’ll try the local, independent AV shop – they’re ever so helpful – they once gave me a speaker cable for free!

P.S. Thank you to @tim_foley1 @coraldesigns and @peteurban on twitter for their suggestions about how to remove a broken WC seat with rust wing nuts! The answer was WD40 and an adjustable wrench!

1 comment:

  1. Funny you should write this comment. I asked a question on the kbbForum about kitchen showrooms selling replacement built-in appliances. ( Some won't touch them with a barge pole! Lack of margin is the most popular reason and yes, your pet phrase was also implied: "Its not worth my while". We have the sales director of Neff UK talking on this very subject at kbb Birmingham so please come along and join in the debate - you won't need the WD40.