Whether it’s in industry magazines, at exhibitions, through networking events or via marketing campaigns, many of us will have seen or heard of Selecta Systems #bepartofthefamily ‘strap-line’. This Total Fabricator Magazine interview with Sales Director Andy Green and Marketing Manager Mark Walker, explores what being ‘part of the family’ really means.
Total Fabricator (TF): So, Andy and Mark. I have an understanding of what #bepartofthefamily exemplifies and represents from adverts, press releases and various marketing campaigns. As two industry stalwarts with over 60 years of affiliation and service with Selecta, what I’d really like to know is the inspiration behind #bepartofthefamily and understand what it really means to a fabricator?
Andy Green (AG): Over 60 years, that makes us sound old!
Mark Walker (MW): I’d like to think it means experienced and slightly weathered, rather than just old!
(AG): Well, moving on swiftly! To give you a little background information. I have a long and established association with Selecta, whereby before joining the business as a Sales Representative in 1990, I was a customer with Adapta Windows. Like Selecta, Adapta was a family run business, which was owned by my father, so for me there was and always has been a strong family connection within business.
During my time at Selecta I have worked as a sales representative, technical manager and now sales director and I have always felt a strong family bond amongst the team. I’ve also seen Selecta grow, through its entire family ownership, continuing to invest in its people, products and infrastructure. During this time, Selecta’s focus has remained on developing and improving the customer experience with the company values and its ethos remaining unchanged from those early days:
- Innovation – to create and deliver a range of quality products to help fabricators win business.
- Simplicity – to be fabricator and fitter friendly in all aspects of the business.
- Unity – delivering success by working together as a team.
- Partnership – creating a trusting and honest ongoing relationship with customers.
- Success – by delivering a personal and flexible first-class service and support package.
Although very simplistic philosophies, these have always been the driver in creating opportunities to differentiate our business from competitors, thus by being ‘part of this one big family’.
(TF): It’s clear that the family connection has and continues to play an important role internally…
(AG): It does and has always been of importance from an internal point of view, all the way through to how we deliver to our customers. Those unity and partnership values of which we speak of continue to be as important now as they were back when we started. We are now in the third generation of Weihe ownership and what this has enabled is stability and consistency within the business over the years. A clear vision.
From my experience, being independently and family owned has ensured that we continue to have total control of matters, thus meaning decisions can be made swiftly. At Selecta there’s no big board of directors, no big line of shareholders or a group of investors chomping at the bit to get their guaranteed return on their investment! For those kind of businesses, to satisfy those demands, will sometimes mean decisions have to be made where they potentially may have a negative impact on their customer base, brand or position in the market. Whereas, at Selecta, there’s a formulated yet flexible business plan that has everyone’s best intentions in mind, from the cleaner all the way through to customer. The family thing is more than just a strap-line or marketing ploy, it has real meaning and depth.
(MW): I can only back-up exactly what Andy has said. I joined Selecta in 1993 as a fresh-faced youngster, with zero experience of the industry. Over the years I have fulfilled a number of roles, as I progressed within Selecta before being appointed marketing manager at the beginning of 2014.
During my time I can only echo the same sentiments about the family connections. It was these internal and external connections and interactions with staff, suppliers and customers that led to my first project in my marketing role – to give the business a new identity in the industry. One that people could easily relate to and instantly recognise as being Selecta. For instance, if I say “Just Do It” you think of Nike, or if I say “I’m Loving It” it’s McDonalds. We wanted that same recollection and recognition.
What I have observed throughout my time at Selecta are the large volumes of family-run businesses of whom we serve. It’s that connection that instantly resonated with ourselves, it was from this that the whole #bepartofthefamily concept was born. The message being that we want to be part of your journey and so want fabricators to be part of ours. Our intention was to reach out to fabricators, welcome them as part of our Selecta family, put our arms around them and help them and their business grow.
After 7 years, the message is still as strong, if not stronger, as it was when we started. It’s immensely satisfying turning up to industry events or when speaking to potential and existing customers to hear our industry peers referring to us as the Selecta family.
(TF): So, to elaborate further on the being ‘part of the family’ and focusing more on the customer, can you provide me with scenarios whereby you’ve supported customers, offered advice or help to fabricators?
(AG): Being ‘part of the family’ is about providing a personal service and support package that suits the individual businesses needs. Over the years there have been thousands of occasions where our flexibility combined with our personal customer centric approach has benefited individual customers requirements and requests.
We have the ability to and do go above and beyond, because customers have a direct line to the decision makers. For instance, requests range from providing an unscheduled delivery to help out a customer who needed a product or two at the last minute, to travelling hundreds of miles at the drop of the hat to support a customer within a contractors meeting. There are all kind of situations that arise on a daily basis. These kind of scenarios are bespoke to each and every customers specific needs, but it’s those particular instances where you pull out all the stops to help that means a lot to a customer. We’ve always stated that if we can do it, we will. If we can’t, we’ll be up front and tell you we can’t!
(TF): I totally understand. There must be many occasions where it just becomes second nature to do what you can, when you can. Is there anything that you have accomplished recently that stands out with a particular customer or customers?
(AG): We always strive to provide a personal, caring and sometimes bespoke services and support mechanisms, but there are also larger scale improvements that benefit everyone. As you know, there have and continue to be significant investments behind the scenes, ones that have a constructive and positive impact on our customers experience and journey with Selecta. For instance, our investments in new machinery, resources and the infrastructure within the lamination department has had a tremendous impact on coloured profile stocks and more importantly on special-coloured products.
We’ve introduced shorter lead-times for special coloured profiles to assist customers with time sensitive projects. In fact, I’ve had a quite a few calls and messages over the last few weeks regarding the reduced lead times and stocks.
(MW): In fact, I overheard one conversation with a customer the other day. We had sent through confirmation that his special-coloured profiles order had been completed and was ready for despatch. The customer had rang us back to tell us to hold back on his special-coloured profiles order and that he didn’t require them on his next delivery as we had produced them too quickly! We had turned them round in a handful of days and he hadn’t booked the job in as yet!
(AG): I’ve had very similar conversations with customers, in fact I must share this text message I received from a customer the other day – Andy reads it out, “Morning mate, it’s Ian from Coleshill. Don’t panic, not after anything lol. It was just a quick message to compliment you as all the improvements are now showing. We haven’t had a zero on our orders for as long as I can remember (which isn’t long lol) and the specials are superb with lead times. I thought I would say something, as if you’re like me, it gets boring listening to moaning so it’s nice to hear when your hard work is paying off. Cheers!”. It’s very rewarding for the team to understand that the hard-work and efforts of all involved has been acknowledged, especially direct from the customer.
(TF): It’s always good to hear positive feedback, especially when it’s in an area where you’ve invested a good amount of time, effort and money to improve a product or service. Are there any further planned investments or support tools that fits in with the whole #bepartofthefamily notion?
(MW): Going back to what Andy said earlier, and I quote, “Selecta’s focus remains on developing and improving the customers experience”. We are constantly looking at ways of developing and improving our range of products, the services that we deliver and the support packages that we provide. As we’ve mentioned, being ‘part of the family’ is all about going that extra mile and providing a more personal service for the customer.
Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve been working on a support package that takes Selecta and our customers to the next level. I’m delighted to say that it will be a systems company first and the complete package will provide customers with a range of marketing support tools to win new business. I’d go as far as saying this will be a game changer and certainly demonstrates our long-term commitment and vision to making sure that being ‘part of the family’ continues to be a successful and thriving partnership between the customer and Selecta.
(TF): A game changer? This all sounds very exciting! In fact, I’m really intrigued… especially as you state it’s a systems company first. Come on then, spill the beans!
(MW): Firstly, we are launching two brand new websites, one for the trade and one for the homeowner. Our current all-encompassing website generates approximately 20-25 homeowner enquiries per week, with the content striving to reflect the requirements of all types of visitors. An internal review of the website left us with the ideology that we had tried to suit all visitors requirements, but ended up confusing some visitors. Therefore, we felt that separating the websites would enable ourselves to manage, control and promote specifics better with each target audience.
Another reason for separating the websites was to enable ourselves to promote the ADVANCE 70 brand direct to the homeowner. We feel that this is an important factor in providing the consumer with the information that they require to ensue confidence in the product, with the aim of directing enquiries to our customers.
Sitting upon the homeowners website will be two fabulous new features. The first being a ‘Find a Fabricator / Installer’ feature, where all of our approved fabricators and installers will be available within a simplistic search engine. A homeowner can search a specific area, define how far away they want to search and also select which Selecta product or range of products that they are looking to enquire about or purchase. A list of their local fabricators and installers will show up alongside a Google map, where all of their contact details, direct link to their website and also email address is available. This enables a homeowner to contact a local fabricator / installer at their own convenience.
To go one further, a homeowner also has the option to design their own windows and doors with our fantastic Window and Door Designer! The designer has all of the Selecta range of products, from casement, flush sash and tilt and turn windows through to residential, French, patio and EASi-FOLD doors. We’ve also added in a range of composite doors, so that the homeowner has a good range of products, styles and configurations to choose from and improve their home.
The homeowner can select a number of window and door configurations and styles, the internal and external colour, hardware colour and other glazing options like Georgian bar or leaded glass. The real beauty of this is that they can also take a photo of their property and drop the windows and doors on to their home to visualise how they would look! They can then submit their design as an enquiry for quoting.
(TF): The websites and the two fantastic features sound impressive! I love the idea of the window and door designer with the visualiser. What happens to that enquiry?
(MW): The whole point of this homeowner engagement is to generate sales leads for our customers. We have a brand new interface for our customer only portal, Connect, of which all enquiries will come directly in to our dealer network section. Once they land in our admin area of the portal, it will show us the nearest fabricator / installer to the enquiry. We can then send this enquiry direct to the fabricator / installer, through the portal, of which it will land directly in to the customers own section of Connect for follow up.
The enquiry will have all the relevant product imagery, customer information and details, which are presented in a professional document that can be downloaded as a PDF. The fabricator / installer can then utilise the enquiry to contact the homeowner and carry out a survey.
(TF): Again, it sounds impressive and provides the fabricator / installer with solid sales leads. Is there anything else that it offers?
(MW): As a fabricator or installer, we can also offer a branded version of the window and door designer for the customer to have embedded upon their own website! Fabricators and installers are then able to generate their own sales leads directly and have them land within their own admin area of their version of the Connect portal. They can have their own logo and contact details contained within the package and also emblazoned on all the relevant paperwork. What’s also being added, is the ability to add prices and provide professional quotes for the homeowners. It really is a fantastic bit of marketing kit!
(AG): We see this as a game changer for fabricators and installers, as it’s the first of its kind from a systems company. It’s something you may have expected from a super fabricator, but it’s not been done previously by a systems company and that’s why we’re excited about this whole project. It takes our marketing support package to a completely new level and that’s always been our aim. That’s what being ‘part of the family’ means for a fabricator and installer.
(MW): Andy is right. This package certainly sets us apart from our competitors and delivers a marketing support package that will help our customers win new business. To compliment this, we can also offer a brand new themed and branded website to sit along the window and door designer. This takes away the headache of a website build, whilst also incorporating the ability to have the window and door designer embedded in to the site. This provides the our customers with a professional website and excellent sales lead generation and presentation tool.
(TF): Exciting times at Selecta! Will this be on show at the FIT Show in May?
(MW): It certainly is exciting and it’s been a project that has been in progress for the last 18 months or so. We can’t wait to unleash it and we will be demoing it on our stand at FIT Show 2023.
Our aim is also to promote the homeowner website and the Window and Door Designer through homeowner dedicated social media platforms, consumer based on-line digital magazines and newsletters. We really want to get engagement from homeowners and provide a customers with a good volume of quality sales leads.
(TF): We look forward to seeing the whole package at the FIT SHOW in operation and maybe we’ll do a feature in a future issue. Innovation doesn’t always have to be in the form of products, but can also be in services and support mechanisms that you supply. Selecta have certainly embraced this and thank you for explaining what being ‘part of the family’ means to everyone.
(AG): Thank you for this opportunity to talk to you and explain the whole concept and meaning to being ‘part of the family’.
(MW): Yes, thank you and we look forward to the launch of our new marketing support package and seeing you at the NEC for FIT Show 2023, on Stand M31 from 23-25 May.