Enquiries quadruple

KJM Group has seen four times the normal level of homeowner enquiry since returning to work in May.

The retail business, which operates throughout Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Surrey, said end-user demand had far exceeded its expectations with composite doors, windows and glazed extensions seeing particularly high levels of demand.

Mark Pearce, managing director of KJM Group, said: “We came back because we were seeing very high levels of enquiry. It was sink or swim and we thought it was probably better to swim.

“I had, however, been anxious about coming back, particularly regarding how we were going to work safely in people’s homes. Government and industry bodies weren’t clear, and at the time I couldn’t see the way forward. Emplas was key in helping us get back.”

Among a vanguard of companies to have returned to work on April 20, Emplas shared its learning points along the way, and made the systems it put in place to support this process available to customers.

This included those developed for its own retail business, T&K Home Improvements, which continued to trade throughout lockdown.

This included a Guide to Retail Lead Generation in the Covid Era, and Safe Systems of Operation for Retail, in addition to a guide to working in people’s homes.

“We adapted the Emplas Safe Systems of Operation to our own business,” Mark said. “It’s been really important in helping us to get back; we’ve even won business on the back of it.

“I needed to feel confident that we could go back and work in people’s homes safely. That’s just as much about protecting our team as it is customers.

“The support we received from Emplas personally gave me that confidence that we could, but has also been instrumental in helping us to trade by offering reassurance to our customers.”

This has included putting in place changed working patterns to run fixed-partner installation teams; introducing new handwashing and sanitisation procedures, tool control, and wearing visors or masks.

KJM Group has also put a customer communication strategy and risk assessment in place so that it has a report on the household before attending site. This includes requirements for social distancing and instructions to leave internal doors open. Fitting teams also regularly wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant as they work and before leaving the home.

“Things are very different,” Mark said. “We have had to change but the demand is there, including jobs quoted pre-lockdown and new business, and I feel as confident as I can be about the future.”