Alan Coleman on his way to another blind installation
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Alan Coleman on his way to another blind installation

What makes you the bloody blind expert?


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“What makes you the bloody blind expert?” was a question I was asked by one of my competitors following a conversation I had with one of his customers.

I try not to get involved in disputes between other companies and their customers, but in this case I knew the customer and the job pretty well as we had refused to take her order so I’d spent sometime talking with her as to why we weren’t prepared to do the work.

There are several reasons why we refuse to do some jobs:

  • The material we are fixing into is not suitable or safe to install the blinds too.
  • The type of blinds the customer would prefer are not suitable.
  • How the blinds are going to be used would make them unreliable over the long term.

We turn down 2 or 3 jobs a month, but as you can imagine this policy can upset some potential customer as refusing to take their money doesn’t go down to well. But it is no good either for us or our customers if the blinds fall down, don’t work as they should or are unreliable.

In this case some of the blinds the customer wanted were not suitable for how she wanted to use them, so we turned down her order that was worth over £3000.

That was several months ago and to be honest I hadn’t given it much thought since our last conversation.

So when the call came through from Mrs Bonney I was a little surprised. She had ordered the blinds from one of our competitors and the 2 blinds we said were not suitable had failed after just a couple of months and our competitor could not solve the problem and she wanted some advice.

My advice was that the problem she was having would continue to happen, but while they are still under guarantee the supplier has a responsibility to repair them.

An hour later a call was put through to me “What makes you the bloody blind expert?”

I was a little surprised by the question, and I’m guessing Mrs Bonney had phoned her supplier and he wasn’t too happy with my advice.

He felt that blind companies should stick together and as he put it “not drop each other in it”. I strongly disagreed with him.

That got me thinking, What does make me the blind expert?

  • I’m 4th generation of my family to run Barlow Blinds, so you could say it is in our blood.
  • I’m on the management committee of the Trade Association.
  • I’ve had several articles published in trade magazines.
  • I was on the panel of experts at the Window Blind Safety Convention.
  • I was part of the team that wrote the only NVQ for window blind installers.
  • Our showroom was used for ITV’s Daybreak Child Safety campaign.
  • We only do blinds,  no curtains and no carpets, so blinds are our area of expertise.

So Mr Competitor that’s what makes me the bloody blind expert!