Speaking to Inside Retail, Ian Cardy, agent liaison and product manager for Apollo Blinds said ensuring an end-to-end positive customer experience for its customers has been informed by its value proposition. Given the measuring and installation component of Apollo’s services, the aspect of personalisation is integral. “We recognise that all houses come in different shapes and sizes, they may be multi or single story, be on the 50th storey of an apartment block and aspect also varies,” said Cardy.
“To meet these different requirements all our blinds and awnings are made to measure, are bespoke and tailored to an individual’s needs, our customer service is very personalised and we don’t do anything off the shelf”.
Apollo originally started as solitary, small Sydney store, manufacturing and supplying to the local market and has since grown to 15 branches across Australia. It is now a leading authority on all things blinds, shutters, and awnings in the country.
“Despite the trust we’ve built we make a conscious effort not to rest on our laurels and ensure customer service remains of utmost importance,” said Cardy. “At a time when everyone has access to social media, brands are being held more accountable than ever so we send out a questionnaire once people have had their blinds installed to gauge their satisfaction and make sure they’re pleased with the result.
“This enables us to continually ensure each branch is delivering a consistently high customer service experience.
Cardy said customers have recently responded well to the introduction of surcharge free payments, after previously complaining about being slugged with extra fees. Apollo has recently joined the Surcharge Free movement being spearheaded by consumer advocate Chris Zinn.
“As with the product personalisation, we also tailor our payment options to give more choice, allowing customers to use their preferred payment method,” he said.
“We do not add on extra surcharges for any cards and see this as a competitive advantage.
“Some would consider our products a larger investment meaning customers know if we implement a percentage surcharge this would incur quite a significant cost on top of their purchase.
“On the flip side reward points gained on these bigger ticket items can be substantial.
“It is always nice to see the positive response of our customers when they realise they won’t get slogged with an added cost and instead can reap the benefits of the reward points gained”.
“I personally hate it when I stay at a nice hotel or eat at a nice restaurant, receive a high level of customer service throughout the experience and then right at the end am hit with an unwanted extra cost,” he said. “It is disappointing, leaves a sour taste in your mouth and takes away from the whole experience”.
Over the next 18 months, Apollo is aiming to expand into more regional areas.
“We want to expand further in Victoria and northern Queensland as currently have branches in Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast but see big opportunities outside these urban hubs,” said Cardy.