S POT L IGHT
Installers encouraged as lockdown lifts
Peter Wheeler, MD of SEH BAC, discusses how the home improvement
company has managed the last three to four months, what the market
currently looks like now that homeowner confidence is returning – and
whether a spike in leads will be sustained.
The Covid- pandemic has provided
installers big and small with a unique
set of challenges since the middle of
March. Experience in tackling a crisis
undoubtably helps, but the country going into
lockdown has meant that we have all had to
adapt our processes and way of working.
Some of our customers were understandably
nervous and reached out to us for advice, so
being able to keep in touch with them since the
very beginning, whether to advise on an order or
to offer guidance on the ever-changing situation,
has been vital.
Four years ago, we fully migrated to a
paperless, electronic system for sales, while
installers were all required to work on tablets
with the option of electronic signatures, which
meant we were already operating remotely
through the sales process. With homeowners
in lockdown this afforded us with access into
homes with no contact required.
RETURNING TO WORK
The return to work planning began weeks before
we returned, from producing safe working
practices from the Government guidelines and
preparing PPE kits for every member of staff to
organising daily temperature checks and hand
sanitiser stations at every showroom for public
use when attending our show sites.
We held all customer orders in the previous
scheduling order then placed them back into the
system with the suppliers.
We also maintained all our digital presence
during the lockdown period which has provided
us with a substantial volume of leads and
allowed us to hit the ground running.
It has meant our return to work has gone very
smoothly for our customers with all staff able to
work from home accessing all the information
Initially we were faced with an understandably
nervous public committing to the signing
of orders, but with non-essential retail now
reopening we have seen confidence returning.
There is no doubt that homeowners will have
gained a new appreciation of their home during
the lockdown period and we have seen increased
levels of enquiries for all our products.
With companies now looking to allow more
staff to work from home on a more permanent
basis we see the interest for additional space
And, with many holiday plans cancelled this
year, we are also seeing a desire to improve
properties with new windows and doors also
very much part of homeowner’s plans.
Since re-opening we have seen increased
interest in additional living space providing 6%
of our current sales volume.
Our volume of leads was % up in June
compared to last year and sales are on course to
hit where we were trading prior to the lockdown
so it’s looking very positive. Thanks to the lead
increase we are looking to further strengthen our
sales teams too.
We are certainly confident that the increased
lead flow will continue now through the summer
months, before seeing the normal seasonal drop
off towards the end of the year.
The signs are very encouraging for the industry
and, from our point of view, the foundations
we have put in place, and our plans for new
products and a revamp of our showrooms will
only strengthen our position in the market as we
move into next year.
SEH BAC, part of the multi-million-pound
Ipswich-based One Group Construction, provide
a range of home improvement products, including
windows, doors and conservatories, and operate
from show centres.
“Our volume of leads was % up in June
compared to last year and sales are on course
to hit where we were trading prior to the
lockdown so it’s looking very positive”