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What do installers want most from an electric shower? Before launching its latest range, Redring brought together groups of installers to hear their views. Richard Braid, the company’s Head of Showers and Water Heating, sums up some of the key findings.
Someone once said ‘it’s good to talk’. That’s okay, but it’s better still to listen. And then react. While the householder is the all-important end-user, they’re not the only customer. Merchants, specifiers, contractors and, of course, installers are key influencers in the supply chain and their opinions matter. That’s why we took time out to speak in-depth to groups of installers to find out what they’re looking for when it comes to choosing and fitting showers.
From the installer’s perspective, our focus groups told us when it comes to electric showers they want not just good products but are looking for ‘a solutions provider’.
And to meet that aspiration installation engineers are looking for five essentials:
• showers that are easy to install
• ready availability so the task at hand can be completed
• products that perform well and will last
• first class after sales service
• a good warranty, which will offer peace of mind both for the installer and the householder
Let’s have a look in more detail at what the installers said on each of those five essentials.
Ease of installation
With 80% of purchases being for replacement installations, the advent of multi-entry showers has been a boon for installers. As well as saving time when it comes to buying and fitting the shower, it means you can now purchase one shower unit to suit virtually every replacement job, whatever the brand.
A retro-fit installation will typically require drilling to line up the new plumbing and wiring connections, but with multi-entry the need to re-engineer the plumbing, drill through tiles and amend the electrical wiring of the mains feed is much reduced.
The higher the number of entry points for pipes and cables the better, anything from four to eight, depending on the shower in question. The ability to easily connect to the shower with either, push-fit or compression fittings, using a simple removable adaptor offers further choice and flexibility. A lower removable back plate is also really useful, while left and right-hand pre-wired terminal blocks are also hugely beneficial, our installers said.
The installers in our focus groups told us they prefer to shop at merchants or wholesalers as they can get all the parts and accessories they may need for an installation in one go at one location. Being able to get replacements immediately was the main reason installers prefer merchants over online channels. It also avoids having to shop around on the internet for different parts and fittings, leading to potentially frustrating and profit-reducing delays while components are delivered at different times. Should there be an issue, merchants will swap a faulty item straight away so the installer can finish the job rather than having to wait for a new delivery.
Made to last
The vast majority of showers will last for a length of time considerably longer than the warranty that they come with. From the consumer’s point of view this is a big plus. But also for the installer, the more durable and reliable the shower will reflect well on the contractor who put it in. It is good that the warranty is there as back-up should anything go wrong. But should this happen it may reflect negatively, even though he did nothing wrong. A householder is far more likely to recommend an installer, be they plumber or electrician, if there are no issues associated with the installation or product.
After sales service
From the installer’s perspective, particularly in categories where products are similar, good after sales service with a personal touch will have a positive influence on who they want to work with. If they feel the people they are dealing with are approachable, flexible and trustworthy, that will reflect well on the brand’s reputation. They are also looking for a quick response, should any issues arise, and that the person dealing with their enquiry has the right technical know-how. It is better that person is a technician rather than a customer services advisor.
A warranty offers the installer and end user peace of mind and is a reflection of the confidence the electric shower maker has in the product as well as its quality. It is a valuable guarantee in terms of reliability, ease of installation and performance. Following the feedback we received from installers on the benefits of a good warranty, the new generation of Redring showers that will be introduced later this year – which will include the Bright and Glow models – will carry an industry-leading extended three-year warranty package.
So, after our focus group sessions, it’s clear that today’s installers are looking for more than just good products. What they expect is an all-round solution. This will include a high performing quality electric shower, ready availability of parts and fittings, good technical advice and support and, increasingly, a warranty that underlines the faith a manufacturer has in its brand and which gives them and the householder who engages them lasting peace of mind.
Showers shaped by customer feedback
The new range of electric showers from Redring represents the culmination of 18 months of research and has been designed as a direct result of feedback from numerous installer and stockist focus groups. The three showers – Pure, Bright and Glow (pictured above) – address three key concerns: ease of installation, an extended warranty and competitive pricing.
The entry level Pure instantaneous electric shower is simple to operate and attractively priced. It comes with three power settings, an easy-to-use start-stop button, and is ‘A’ rated for energy efficiency. A two-year warranty comes as standard.
Described as the ‘ultimate replacement shower’, the Bright multi-connection model features Redring’s ‘SmartFit’ technology, including twin terminal blocks, six cable entry points and eight water entry points. The shower also comes with an extended three-year warranty for added reassurance.
Fully loaded with features, the top of the range Glow shower includes a digital temperature display which shows the user the water temperature when the shower is in use. For protection against scale in hard water areas it also features a phased shutdown to flush out preheated water when the shower is switched off. Glow also comes with a five-mode showerhead and chrome accents and offers the flexibility of a longer shower hose. Like Bright, it has an extended 3-year warranty as standard.
All three showers come with a choice of power options (7.5, 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5kW), and Redring says that a thermostatic range will be launched later in the year.