There’s nothing better than when you see a thriving family business, and Sneddons is such a place.
Four years ago, the business passed to the next generation – Susie and her husband Chris. With a fresh perspective and experience from other industries, Susie and Chris laid out a plan for the business to take it from a local fireplace and period fitting store to a business that serves customers from all over Australia, online and in store, selling the best brands.
Expert Advice on Fireplaces
What really has really set Sneddons apart from the rest was their decision to invest in educating their staff so they can educate the customer. As Chris explains;
“We don’t really believe in selling, what we want to do is give people as much information as they want, and answer all their questions.”
Sneddons now focuses on the modern fireplace – and there is definitely a lot to learn about their range. The team of twelve needs to keep up to date on all the latest in gas fireplaces, ethanol fireplaces, and wood heaters, across nearly twenty brands and countless models. “Our team needs to have really good product knowledge, so that they can confidently answer our customer’s questions.” explains Chris.
The Sneddons Showroom Experience
Walking into the store the other thing that stands out, is just how many fireplaces are set up and installed. “We like to think that we have the largest range of installed and working gas fireplaces in Melbourne, probably Victoria, so who knows, maybe even Australia.” says Chris. What this means for a customer is that you can walk in and get a real understanding of how the fireplace you are interested in looks, and operates – which if you have trouble imagining things is a real bonus.
Tips for Buying a Fireplace
“Buying a fireplace can be a really big decision for some people. We see people who are in the market for three months. They might make multiple visits to the showroom, or call up with questions. We want people to feel comfortable, to know that there is no silly question, and to get the answers and knowledge that they need to be comfortable with their decision.” Chris explains.
For others, it’s a straightforward purchase, recommended by their builder or architect. When the decision is made though, everyone wants the same thing – a smooth and hassle free install. As Chris explains, this is a part of the business that they’ve really invested in.
We asked Chris for his top three tips for people in the market for a new fireplace:
Ask as many questions as you need to – a good retailer should be happy to help you understand the product and take the time to explain answers to you.
Find a showroom that has the unit you like on display, and go and see it working.
Get your retailer to make sure that the fireplace you’ve chosen is going to suit your home and that there will be no surprises when your gas plumber is onsite and waiting
The Benefits of Shopping with Sneddons
Smooth installation process
Sneddon’s goal? To come up with an install process that runs as smoothly as possible. To live up to that promise, Sneddons do installations differently. “One of the things that we noticed across the industry was that there was this real disconnect between how the customer was treated before the sale and after the sale” explained Chris, “and we saw that as an opportunity to do things better.
We felt that all this time was invested in building trust and confidence with the customer, and then just because things weren’t organised properly, customers felt let down, or confused during the install process.”
Single point of contact
Enter Amanda. Amanda is the single point of contact for a customer after they’ve decided on their unit. She organises a site visit at the customer’s home before booking in the install. The purpose of the site visit is quite simply to make sure that everything goes smoothly on the day of the install. “That way our customers know well ahead of the trades being onsite if there is going to be anything slightly out of the ordinary.”
Airconditioning, Door Hardware and Period Home Fittings
Sneddons understand what their customers want. It’s this attention to detail, (and thinking about what will work for their customers), that has seen Sneddons really blossom since Chris and Susie took over. From growing the fireplace side of the business, and adding air conditioning, as well as rethinking how they sell their range of door hardware and period fittings.
As Chris explained, ‘with our fireplace and air conditioning offering its important to us that we offer a complete end to end service – from showing people our range, to answering technical questions, right through to a seamless install. But with our period door hardware and fire place accessories we recognised that we could service way beyond Melbourne, so we’ve invested in building a really easy to use website and are now shipping everywhere.
”We are all about people being comfortable in their homes” explains Chris. ”So whether that’s heating or cooling - we’ve got all the options”.
”We’ve got indoor and outdoor fireplaces and heaters. We’ve got airconditioning. And we’ve got all of the fittings –the door handles, and hardware that add character to your home.”
We hope you found this article helpful. If you are ready to start building your wish list of products, then be sure and check the Sneddons heating range.
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Image credits: www.escea.com/au | www.tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/the-living-room | www.archipro.co.nz