More than a quarter of all composite residential doors sold in the UK utilise a ‘blank’ supplied by Distinction Doors. Windows Activevisited the company to find out how it supports sales of this key ‘component’ all the way to the homeowner, including smoothing the way for new trade customers to move to them in the first place  

With an estimated 1.5 million doorsets installed each year, composite residential door sales continue to grow. And although this has been forecast most recently by Palmer to be relatively modest at 0.9% (Palmer Market Research: The Market for Domestic Entrance Sets in Great Britain 2017) installed values are increasing by as much as 8% per annum.

After leading the sale of composite door blanks in the UK for the past 20 years, such products sold by Distinction are now to be found in 1 in 4 composite doors sold. However, rather than simply accepting that blanks are substantially a component part of a residential door – albeit a significant one – Distinction takes responsibility for supporting its customers throughout the supply chain.

“Despite the political upheaval being caused by Brexit, sales of composite doors are standing up well and there is optimism that the growth will continue,” explains Chantel Roach, Distinction’s Sales & Marketing Director. “We are very keen, as the market’s largest supplier of composite door blanks, to encourage the increasingly positive perceptions of composite doors per seas with such a large market penetration, by growing and sustaining the market for composite doors, our share – and that of our customers – will grow pro rata. That is why we continue to market our products all the way through to the end user.”

Distinction does this though a number of channels, including a very effective consumer-centric website, luxurious colour brochures: “The Distinction website is directed squarely at homeowners,” explains Chantel. “It includes a door-designer that proves very effective at engaging homeowners, following which the customer’s name will be passed to Distinction Door suppliers in their area. When contact between the homeowner and local installer is made, our high quality printed literature will reflect the messages given on the Distinction website with which the homeowner engaged in the first place. It’s a joined up process.”

Distinction has an excellent reputation for both the quality of its products and its customer support and service, which drives a large number of new potential customers to the business. However, says Chantel, despite declaring their desire to change suppliers many fear disruption during the changeover. She says Distinction has long recognised this and has evolved a series of processes and checks to give new customers the confidence to take a leap into space: “We understand that many manufacturers will continue buying from companies that have let them down badly, for fear of more disruption when changing to a new supplier. So we have evolved a change management process involving every department within Distinction that guarantees a smooth changeover when a company commits to us.”

The company’s technical support team is at the heart of the changeover process and everyone in the company recognises that many potential customers believe that changing their door supplier will disrupt their business. This simply isn’t true, says Chantel, and recognising that this perception exists Distinction has evolved a step-by-step changeover plan: “Our team will visit a new customer’s facilities and carry out an audit of its systems and processes. They will then produce a structured report and proposal about how we will work with them to manage the changeover to use Distinction products, including full training for their staff. Almost without exception it is problem-free,” she adds.

“Every department within Distinction implements its own processes and checks during the changeover process,” explains Chantel. “Once a new customer joins us we want that relationship to begin well and so we work very hard to ensure that we get off to a perfect start. Everyone gets the same level of support. It’s a full system of checks and balances.”