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THE BENEFITS OF CUSTOMER FEEDBACK IN MAKING COUNTRY CUSTOM OUTDOOR BLINDS

THE BENEFITS OF CUSTOMER FEEDBACK IN MAKING COUNTRY CUSTOM OUTDOOR BLINDS

PUBLISHED 15/04/2022

Custom Outdoor Blinds made to the specifications of the customer – that’s the big advantage, right? You order your custom outdoor blinds and get exactly what you want; from the choice of material and colour down to how they’re installed. That’s the most obvious answer, for sure, but over 30 years of custom manufacturing, Country Blinds have found that there are some design ideas and components that represent a benefit for every customer. These are the improvements that have gradually evolved to become standard features or techniques in the Country manufacturing process. Some are a big deal, others are a small yet welcome touch, but all combine to make custom outdoor blinds by Country simply better.

Who’s really listening?

It’s important that we explain some context of how customer feedback is dealt with in the manufacturing of custom outdoor blinds. In many cases, other manufacturers manufacture interstate or offshore, and when a concern or complaint is raised by a customer, it’s dealt with by a local representative and hopefully passed on to the factory in the other city. The issue may or may not be dealt with at factory level. The most likely ‘fix’ for the customer is to first remove and freight the problem component back to the manufacturer at the customers cost, and the problem component will be replaced with a component from the same batch or type. The result is often a failed component replaced with an identical component that could fail in the same way, and the reality is no actual improvement is made.

In contrast, customer feedback to Country Blinds results in the Consultant communicating directly with our local factory at Mt Barker. We will inspect and remove the problem component and often replace it on the spot. There will be a discussion at the factory level as to whether an issue is isolated or has happened previously. Regardless, the product and installation will be investigated and if the consensus is that improvements can be made, these will be discussed, designed and tested. The result is prompt service for the customer and a good chance that no future customers will encounter the same issue. One client’s concern has sparked evolution of a product that benefits everyone.
With over 30 years of manufacturing, the process of constant improvement led by customer feedback has helped Country evolve its products to perform flawlessly in both domestic and commercial installations.

 

A constant process of improvement

Product improvement through customer feedback has taken many shapes at Country, finding its way into major components as well as small materials choices that can nonetheless make a significant difference. The process never stops, although it tends to slow as effective solutions to common issues are ‘designed in’ to products.

One example, three improvements – the Country approach to Custom Outdoor Blinds.

Custom Outdoor blinds often comprise wide spans of material installed into challenging areas that face attack by weather from harsh sunlight to rain and wind. Here’s how Country’s design and manufacturing team tackled three key issues:

  • Eliminating blind sag – this is a classic concern with wide span outdoor blinds. Sag, which manifests itself in unsightly wrinkles, can occur when a heavy roll of material is supported by a long aluminium top tube that isn’t up to the task, and ‘bows’ under the weight. Country Blinds have solved this problem by manufacturing more robust standard top tubes which remain perfectly straight, even under very heavy material loads. No more sag!
  • Squareness perfected – this is another issue that can affect wide span custom outdoor blinds. Significant spans demand that materials be cut with incredible accuracy. Any discrepancies can easily result in a finished blind that is out of square, which is not a look that any proud homeowner wants. Sometimes the search for perfection calls for a significant investment in tooling. In this case, Country Blinds purchased and imported a computer-controlled, vacuum-assisted cutting table made in Germany. The result is cutting accuracy that is perfect down to the millimetre, and no chance of the blind every being out of square.
  • No chance of rot – custom outdoor blinds were once finished with stitching, and in fact some makers still use stitching in their designs. The problem with stitching is that in the face of the elements it invariably frays, rots and fails – it’s just a matter of time. For Country Blinds, solving this problem once again called for an investment in technology. In this case, the technology took the shape of an ultrasonic welding machine for finishing the edges of outdoor blinds. The result is a neat, autogenous join with no stitching. The seam retains the strength of the parent material, does not rot and cannot fray. This finishing method is standard on all outdoor blinds by Country.

 

Details, details, details – the little things that make all the difference.

We’ve looked at three significant improvements that Country have made to outdoor blinds as part of an ongoing design process fuelled by customer feedback. The fact is, in other areas there have been dozens of detail improvements made over the course of 30 years that have helped establish Country as a premium manufacturer. Although there are too many to list here, just a handful of examples include:
Optimised gearing – you won’t ever see it, but Country designers have optimised the gearing in their Roller Blind designs to take the effort out of operating heavy blinds. There’s also a ‘helper spring’ that further reduces effort.

  • Endless chains – Country incorporates high quality ‘endless loop’ operating chains into manually operated Roller Blinds to eliminate chain breakage.
  • Romans in better shape – any amount of material shrinkage in Roman Blinds can adversely affect not just how they look but how they function, too. The material used in Romans by Country is rigorously pre-shrunk so that the blinds will always look good and function perfectly.
  • Easy maintenance for panel glides – panel glide blinds by Country feature discreet, sewn-on Velcro attachment tabs. This method of attachment means the blind panels can easily be adjusted, or even removed and replaced in seconds should cleaning or replacement be required.
  • Solid slats, better shuttersPlantation Shutters are a prestige window treatment and a lifetime investment – provided the slats don’t sag. Country found the solution to sag in carefully cured, sustainable and solid Paulownia timber. This special, close-grained timber remains rigid and free of sag even in wide-span installations.
  • Colour-matched curtain top tapes – Country uses colour-matched hemming tapes in its custom curtains. It’s a small touch that helps make the taping virtually invisible for an improved effect.

 

How the people who make it, make it better.

Manufacturer direct businesses often promote cost savings as their primary advantage, which is fair enough. With no middleman to take a cut, the customer pays less. This saving is an advantage, but in the long run perhaps there are other benefits that mean even more.

With no third party between customer and manufacturer, products stand a better chance of improving. The Country Blinds Factory Direct business model puts the customer directly in touch with the people who design and manufacture the curtains, blinds, shutters and awnings being sold. Unfiltered feedback means that the factory hears precisely what the customer is saying and can react appropriately. As a result, product evolution is constant and timely. So while there’s certainly a cost saving up front, perhaps the greatest satisfaction comes from products that are better designed and made for trouble-free performance, year after year.

If you have feedback of your own to share or would simply like to know more about the benefits of Country Blinds product evolution, we welcome your enquiry, so feel free to contact us for a free measure and quote.

 

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