Three is the magic number for Devonshire

Devonshire Living, the proud recipients of not one, but THREE Big Furniture Group Awards (2023), reflect on the achievement after a transformative year.

Devonshire Living have undergone massive internal changes since Managing Director, Nicolle Hockin, took control of the business in 2019; just as Covid-19 began to spread worldwide. Since then, the new leadership team have been working tirelessly on processes and efficiencies to streamline the business, as well as modernise products and company culture.

On winning the ‘Best Supplier for Customer Service’ award in particular, Nicolle said: “We are over the moon to have won what we consider to be the most important category of the entire awards. We would be nothing without our customers, after all. As a business we have gone through many changes recently, in the last 12 months especially, and to get some indisputably positive feedback that those changes are working has given the team a massive boost of morale.”

When asked what kind of changes might have led to this win, the company identified four key areas.

Value added services

Late in 2022 Devonshire introduced a new Direct Home Delivery service in partnership with Domestic Distribution. A complementary facility to add alongside their already well-established lorry, van and pallet delivery options, this service has been growing in popularity since its debut. Nicolle added;

“This is our third trial of DHD services in the last few years, as the two previous companies we worked with had excessive handling damage or other administrative issues. With Domestic we offer a white glove 2-man service including product unpacking as standard, so the customer is getting the full experience and we know it’s arriving safely. Working with Domestic has been a much smoother experience and we’re very pleased with how the service is progressing.”

Early this year, they also launched an upgraded Trade Ordering Portal, complete with full product portfolio (including images, dimensions, and other useful information), download hub for digital brochures and pricelists, live stock-feed, and of course a much improved, user-friendly ordering system. The platform has gone down extremely well with existing customers, with an emphasis on how easy it is to use, and the volume of resources it contains.

Encouraging customer feedback – and acting on it

Devonshire have been focused on upgrading their product portfolio, the results of which should begin to take shape towards the end of this calendar year and in to 2024. Recent launches include a brand-new painted range which has been exceptionally well received, adding new benches and bench pads to their seating options, and adding a new painted table selection in to their popular Dorset Painted collection – all developed based on recurring customer requests.

One of Devonshire’s key USPs (unique selling points), is their paint spraying facility. Retained from their manufacturing days (and how the company first began), this resource gives the business the ability to recolour all of their imported painted ranges, to give a range of colour options for different aesthetics. Again, based on regular customer comments, Devonshire are in the process of upgrading their colour palette to provide more commercial choices, and will be taking the shortlisted colours out to customers for direct opinions in the coming weeks.

Not just in product development, but customer feedback has also been central to the way the company, and especially the customer service office, reacts to enquiries. With a more flexible approach to back up their already exceptional service levels, it is unsurprising that Devonshire’s new culture has gone down well with their client base.

Improving sale materials

Point of Sale materials are ever important, especially now that end consumers have so much choice at the press of a button. Devonshire have been working on improving their CGI imagery in particular, working with Chilli Pepper Designs to modernise and refresh their available images. This includes new room sets to give an overall inspirational view of a range, lifestyle images and cameo shots, and individual images including shots of all the separate colour options on painted ranges.

Putting the customer first

Spring of this year brought Mike Brown and Anthony Lewer in to the fold as Area Managers for the North and South of Britain respectively. The pair have been hard at work visiting their respective customers and adding that face-to-face interaction that Devonshire had been missing for the past year.

Look out for Devonshire at the Autumn Show this October, where they will be showcasing three brand-new stocked collections.

See Devonshire on the Big Furniture Show

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