Friday 29th September, 2006
Ultraframe's new Executive Chairman, Stuart Lees says that the conservatory roof manufacturer has adopted a new ethos. The company, which is now in the private hands of the Latium Group, plans to cement its customer base and grow its market share by actively listening to customers.
Ultraframe, which until recently was subject to the constraints of being a PLC company, says that it recognises that listening and responding to its customers, is, and will be a key quality that will allow the company to see the kind of success it has had in the past.
“The old Ultraframe is finished”, says Stuart Lees, who describes the new culture driving the organization. “Ultraframe has a great brand and products but it had become arrogant. The key issue to winning back market share is through customer service. We are not interested in talking at installers. It’s time to listen to our customers and deliver on what they want. The company needs to turn its communications into customer service.”
Stuart Lees continues: “The heart of trust is responsiveness – do you listen, do you pay attention and do you learn? Only by actively listening to customers will we understand what installers expect from Ultraframe and how they use our products in different circumstances. We can then act on what they say. This will drive our innovation and enable us to deliver the right products and tools into the hands of our customers.”
Accountability will be a real focus at Ultraframe. The company’s existing team of experienced directors will be ensuring that Ultraframe delivers on its goals.
Ultraframe’s Commercial Director, Nick Brown added: “The 'Customer First ' approach by Ultraframe is not entirely new. We already deliver what is arguably the best quality product in the market and in the last year alone we introduced a series of new product and service innovations designed solely with the Ultraframe customer in mind.”
These innovations include the introduction of improvements to the Classic system and added value to the Ultra Installer Scheme with the introduction of the Marketing Toolbox, all designed to make the job of the Ultraframe installer easier.
For the past twelve months Ultraframe has been running a program of regular installer consultation days. These events provide an opportunity for customers to preview Ultraframe’s latest developments, give vital feedback and shape the way Ultraframe products and services evolve before they are offered to the market place.
“These consultation days are the perfect example of how the company taps into its customer mind set, picks up fresh ideas and feedback and actually communicates with its customers,” says Nick Brown. “The recent enhancements to Classic are a direct result of this feedback.”
Classic system enhancements
Despite being widely recognised as the best system on the market and offering excellent value, aesthetic appeal and market leading ventilation, the Classic system has evolved in recent months with a number of technical enhancements.
A new lantern eaves beam allows for a variable pitch on the lower ‘tier’ of the roof and also allows for larger lantern conservatories to be made without the need for a costly portal. Lanterns can be made up to a 6m width and projection of 7.5m.
The introduction of the tie bar replacement kit offers an innovative, comprehensive alternative to the traditional tie bar required to support larger span conservatories. The tie bar replacement kit includes an aluminum bolster beam, which acts as one with the existing ridge improving its resistance to deflection. The Kit is a result of the market’s desire to enhance the internal appearance of a large roof.
Whilst the introduction of the new lantern eves beam and the tie bar replacement kit will clearly have a significant and visible impact on installations, Ultraframe pays great attention to detail and has also made a number of smaller enhancements designed to speed up installations and improve aesthetics. These include a revised tie bar boss cover, a new bolster bar end cap and an improved raised back box gutter.
Putting the tools in the hands of our installers
Ultraframe believes that equipping installers with the right tools to impress prospective conservatory buyers creates a win-win market and this will remain a top priority for Ultraframe. This process is driven from within and already evident in the vast range of marketing support initiatives on offer.
The Guild Approved Ultra Installer Scheme enables companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors by demonstrating a high level of quality and service. To be accepted for the Scheme, companies have to meet standards set by Ultraframe, The Guild of Master Craftsmen and The British Board of Agrément (BBA). By passing the strict vetting criteria, agreeing to participate in ongoing inspections and regular training, companies earn the right to promote themselves with the Ultra Installer logo as a mark of distinction.
The Ultraframe range of marketing literature includes a comprehensive and stylish 44 page Conservatory Directory, a shorter Conservatory Portfolio and for Ultra Installers, The Ultra Guide to Conservatories. Ultraframe’s Marketing Toolbox, available to Ultra Installers, also has the advantage of templates for personalisation for items such as leaflets for door drops, advertising templates for directories or local press and radio campaigns.
Ultraframe has also introduced a Certificate of Authenticity to combat the problem of disreputable companies passing off inferior products as Ultraframe roofs. The Certificate means that installers can prove to homeowners that they have received the top quality Ultraframe roof that they have paid for, rather than a cheaper, poor quality imitation.
Finally Ultraframe now provides marketing material, as part of its Marketing Toolbox, to encourage homeowner referrals after an installation is successfully complete. The new Recommend A Friend postcards and Recommend A Friend cheque books can be used to incentivise homeowners to pass on the installer details to their friends and family.
Shaping the future
Stuart Lees concludes: “Co-creation is the future of our business - working hand in hand with our customers. Clearly Ultraframe already has a great product range and a number of innovative service initiatives that enable our customers to differentiate themselves from their competitors and help them succeed. We will be paying more attention to developing the infrastructure that will enable us to deliver increased customer service and jointly develop innovative conservatory solutions. As the market leader we recognise that we have an important position and with it unique opportunities."