As one year ends and another begins we look at the home improvement marketplace in 2019 and reflect on a tremendously exciting and busy year for QASSS and its schemes HICS, HIES and DGCOS.
- We have transformed our complaint handling and ADR service offering industry-leading speed of resolution, reducing the average time to 3.59 days as compared to the industry average of 80 days.
- Our alternative dispute resolution service (ADR) has been recognised by the 2020 Complaint Handling Awards and we have been shortlisted as finalists in 2 categories – ‘Best Complaint Handling’ and ‘Best Complaint Handling Team of the Year – Initiative’. Plus, we’ve also been nominated for another award with the Top Companies for Customer Service.
- We continued the process in 2019 of really getting to know our customers much better, either being on the road and meeting them face-to-face chatting to them over the phone.
- We rebranded and relaunched our HICS, DGCOS and HIES consumer protection websites and marketing material, including the introduction of a new brand ambassador, George Clarke, a passionate advocate for high standards in the home improvement industry.
- Towards the end of 2019, we also launched our new e-commerce shop to make it easier to order marketing material and register your jobs all in one place.
- In 2019, we refreshed the QASSS site to showcase our remedial management, alternative dispute resolution and complaints handling services for the home improvement sector.
- In 2019 we invested internally to support our network. We have brought in senior specialists in the areas of IT, marketing, service delivery, and quality assurance to set up the business for the future as well as supporting our members.
- We announced new partnerships with finance lenders, finance brokers, manufacturers, investors and West Yorkshire Trading Standards, to provide our customers with new model documentation for 2020 that will help cover you across all bases, from a legal perspective.
Similarly, as we have done, home improvement installers may be reflecting and evaluating the past 12 months to set some goals for the year ahead. As well as personal goals, home improvement installers might be looking at the home improvement industry and setting themselves work-related goals based on the changing marketplace. So, what changed in the home improvement industry in 2019?
2019 saw big advancements in smart technology. From smart doors to smart sound systems and even smart doorbells, there are now many ways that customers can ‘smartify’ their homes. A survey carried out by OnePoll has revealed that 57% of homes have a smart device of some sort to control their appliances with 45% of those surveyed planning to make their home even smarter.  To find out more about smart homes, check out our blog here.
It is no surprise that 2019 saw a huge increase in homeowners focusing on reducing their energy consumption, not just to save money but also to help the environment.
For example, for glaziers, as the world takes on a more anti-plastic approach in their daily lives, installers may have experienced more questions from customers when considering uPVC for their home and/or an increase in recycled materials being used within the market.
With this trend over 2019, we can expect to see more homeowners looking to incorporate sustainable products within their homes over the next few years, as well as incorporating renewable energy. Market analysis by IAE has forecasted that the surge in renewables is likely to be led by solar PV in the years 2019 – 2024. 
Over the years the DIY generation has steadily gained pace and is predicted to continue in 2020. Due to more homeowners improving their home rather than moving it is no surprise that the rate of DIYers is increasing. A survey carried out by Hiscox shows that just 3% of homeowners opted to improve their existing home instead of moving in 2013 but by 2018 the figure increased to 15%. 
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay