Choosing Windows on Price Less Likely to Deliver Satisfaction

June 13, 2012

Window and patio door customers of brands with high levels of customer satisfaction most frequently cite professional recommendations, quality and their own past experience with purchasing windows as the key drivers in their purchase decision. This is a sharp contrast to brands with lower levels of satisfaction that are primarily selected based on price, according to the new J.D. Power & Associates 2012 Windows and Patio Doors Satisfaction Study.

Now in its sixth year, the study measures satisfaction among customers who purchased new windows or patio doors based on performance in six factors (listed in order of importance): ordering and delivery; operational performance and durability; price paid for products and services received; appearance and design features; warranty; and repair/replacement.

The study finds that while price is the primary driver of customers’ overall window purchase process (16 percent), there is relatively less focus on price among customers purchasing from brands with high levels of satisfaction. Highly satisfied customers generally value the brand’s positive reputation or quality and recommendations from their contractors, family, friends and colleagues when shopping for windows.

“We see a strong relationship and influence between the satisfaction of professional trades with window brands and end customers’ ratings,” says Christina Cooley, senior manager of J.D. Power's home improvement practice. “The recommendations that a contractor, retailer or architect make not only have a strong influence on the purchase decision, but also builds on the brand’s value.”

The study also finds that the condition of the windows at the time of delivery has the most influence on the overall customer experience. While 95 percent of customers said their windows were delivered exactly as ordered, 7 percent indicated their windows were damaged upon delivery and an additional 3 percent reported the windows were damaged during installation. A large majority (91 percent) of customers indicated their windows were delivered on the date promised.

“If windows aren’t delivered on time or are damaged in the process, it is not surprising that customers will be less satisfied overall with the brand,” notes Cooley. ”Manufacturers need to work closely with customers, either directly or through their distribution channels, to clearly communicate the ordering and delivery process. Executing the delivery and installation process well and delivering on commitments is essential to achieving and maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction and will more likely result in positive recommendations for the brand.”

Simonton Windows ranks highest among customers in satisfaction with windows and patio doors, achieving a score of 831 (on a 1,000-point scale). Simonton performs particularly well in the five of the six factors and has further differentiated itself in terms of year-over-year performance by expanding its lead in overall satisfaction to 36 points in 2012 from 11 points (818) in 2011. Following Simonton in the ranking is Pella with a slight year-over-year improvement (795 in 2012 vs. 793 in 2011).

Overall satisfaction with windows and patio doors is 778, a decline of 8 index points from 2011, which is primarily driven by declines in four factors: ordering and delivery; operational performance and durability; price paid for products and services received; and repair/replacement.

The 2012 Windows and Patio Doors Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 2,500 customers who purchased new windows or patio doors during the previous 12 months. Customers may have installed the windows or patio doors themselves or with help from family and friends; hired an independent contractor, handyman or remodeler; used an installation service provided by a home improvement retailer; or used an installation service recommended or provided by the product manufacturer, researchers note. The study was fielded in January and February 2012.