Last week I gave a talk about QVC at the Horticultural Trade Association Conference. The audience consisted of manufacturers, nurseryman and retailers. One of the topics that especially impressed them was QVC’s reputation for superb customer service.
Part of the discussion touched on guarantees. Most retailers, including QVC, offer extensive guarantees on plants (normally for a full growing season). But what surprised the audience was QVC’s no quibble 30-day money back guarantee on all products including fertilisers, mowers and pressure washers.
I explained that our customers could try the products, use them as much as they liked within that period and if, for any reason, they decided to return it during that period they would be given a full refund. So I asked the centres what guarantee they gave on their products? And there was silence in the room!
In my opinion, that QVC guarantee is worth its weight in gold, especially when buying garden equipment. This year, QVC’s range has been the best yet, as big brands like Karcher and Handy have joined us.
Handy are currently selling one of my favourite garden tools – their three-in-one leaf blower. Clearing the leaves is one of the biggest chores and this makes it easy. It’s powerful, which is important when the leaves are wet, but you can adjust the speed so it can just as easily pick up leaves from gravel or soil. But it’s much more than a leaf blower. Once you’ve blown the leaves into a pile, you simply flick a switch, then can suck them up and shred them (ready to put on the compost heap or in the recycling bin). It’s a great price and while the leaves are still falling, it’s a great time to get it and put it through its paces.
Another of my key jobs in the autumn is pruning and I find the Langdon European long-reach pruner really useful. It’s light (which is important when using it for any length of time), has a good reach which enables me to do a lot of pruning and cutting from the safety of the ground, and, neatly, it grips and holds the cut pieces so they can be popped straight into my wheelbarrow (rather than fall in the plant or, even worse, on my head!)
As the weather gets colder, my other priority at this time of year is to feed the birds and to keep the feeders topped up. They need to build up their energy to help them survive the winter months, and my bird food contains a very special mix of high-energy ingredients that provide them with up to four times the amount of energy, compared with standard bird food. It’s also 100% wheat free, which is a very important as most bird foods are padded out with wheat which is a cheap filler with very little nutritional benefit.
As users of my diary will know, this is the month of clearing up, feeding the birds, and doing a bit of planting too. It’s the perfect time to plant tulips and I’ve bought lots this year. Luckily, we’ve no QVC gardening shows this weekend so I’ll be in the garden instead. Mind you, I will be popping back in to watch the two hour DIY gift spectacular on Sunday at 9am. I’ve got my eye on a few presents for the family!