Chickens, Eggs & Online Reviews

We were recently contacted by the president of a window manufacturer with a concern about the way we were reviewing her products.  We know running a business can be stressful and the thought of less than positive info about your company isn’t thrilling.  We get that, but the point of the site is to provide our thoughts on various products to folks considering a replacement window project.  It’s not our job to be nice.

We’re in touch with manufacturing folks all the time and we typically don’t write a post about each one.  The reason we wanted to write about this one relates to this specific comment she made:

“I’m certain the manufacturers you carry enjoy the benefits of a favorable review on your site, while those of us you compete against mysteriously have less than stellar reviews.”

This misses a really important point and it occurs to us that other reasonable people might come to the same errant conclusion.  For that reason we wanted to make sure we address it.  While it’s a bit of a chicken an egg scenario, the ultimate answer is pretty clear.  I hope.

Do we give favorable reviews to the products we carry as she suggests or do we carry products that compare well with the other offerings in the marketplace?

There is really nothing mysterious about it.  Like most businesses our only goal is to grow the business.  We work hard to earn more customers every day.  In that effort we know we need to offer great products that will hold up over time from a manufacturer that is likely to be around for the long haul.

We don’t want to send our reps into a customer’s home with 25 window samples so we evaluate the options ahead of time and we make recommendations based on what they’re trying to accomplish.

There is a lot of effort that goes into deciding which products to offer.  Much more than most customers probably realize.   That’s ok. We’re supposed to be the window experts and we take our job pretty seriously.  We routinely evaluate new window options to make sure we’re aware of what is going on in the marketplace.

I would bet we spend 50-100 hours per year evaluating window options to decide if we want to offer them through our business.  Even after doing this for years we still routinely compare window options.  We do it all the time; we’re crazy like that.  Our customers are hiring a professional window company and they want our expert advice.  We take that seriously.

At the end of the day we offer a rather expansive range of replacement windows.  We have basic double pane single hung vinyl windows for a rental property, we have fancy triple pane options for the greenest of customers, we offer a complete line of historic wood and aluminum clad windows and we’re about to bring on a new composite window line.  The shortest warranty we offer is 20 years and most everything we offer comes with a complete lifetime warranty.

There are quite a few windows that we don’t carry because we’re not thrilled with some aspect of the product, the company, the warranty, etc.  Sometimes customers specifically ask us to install a model they want.  We will do that when we can, but we often refuse those requests as we know we’re the ones that will be blamed if/when something doesn’t perform as expected.  We stick with quality because we want happy customers.  I would much rather lose an order than have an unhappy customer.  That very scenario played out yesterday at our Alexandria, VA office.

We do carry some of the products that we’ve reviewed on the site and we’ve made note of that.  We’re offering the best products we’re aware of and we’ll continue to do that as long as we’re in charge around here.

So what’s the bottom line?

We carry the best replacement windows that we know of.  If we find better products we’ll carry those.  If we knew of better products and didn’t at least offer them we’d be doing our customers a great disservice.  That’s what you would want from any professional company, isn’t it?