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FIRA Service Technicians and Furniture Ombudsman to host joint learning session

The Service Technicians experts within FIRA International and the Furniture Ombudsman have announced plans for a free joint learning session covering the latest consumer legal updates, and the process of furniture inspection and repair when customers report a possible product defect.

Taking place on Wednesday 26th June, from 09.30-14.45 at FIRA International’s facilities in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, the event will include a mix of ‘classroom’ style sessions and practical hands-on workshops where delegates will have the opportunity learn how the experts inspect furniture and identify possible faults, alongside the opportunity to try a range of repair techniques first-hand.

These workshop sessions will specifically focus on upholstery, mattress and cabinet repairs. Inspections will include looking for mattress dipping, whilst repairs will focus on re-tufting mattresses, re-stitching upholstery, colour repairs on leather and scratch repairs to cabinets.

There will also be a focus on utilising photo-triage as part of retailer / manufacturer customer aftercare programmes. Using this method can remove some needs for a technician to visit the customer, relying instead of photo evidence to determine possible product defects. Or if a visit is required ensures the issue can be resolved as the technician will be carrying the exact part(s) needed to remedy.

The day will also cover how the correct reporting analytics can help the early identification of possible issues which may lead to an improvement in production. Swift action can help prevent reoccurring service issues and in turn increase overall customer satisfaction.

The consumer law section delivered by Judith Turner, Legal Council and Head of ADR at the Furniture Ombudsman will focus on consumer remedies in furniture and home improvement cases, highlighting the desirability of remedial works in the first instance, against the backdrop of the underpinning need to get it right first time from a legal and customer service perspective. Using case studies from the Ombudsman the session then moves on to look at the importance of quality, independent reporting in the weighting of evidence to resolve consumer issues.

Speaking on the session, Trudi Dunn, Operations Manager at FIRA Service Technicians said, “Consumers are becoming more legally savvy and often turn to the internet for guidance, so by working with the Furniture Ombudsman we’re aiming to support retailers and manufacturers in understanding the latest in consumer law. By knowing their rights, and the rights of consumers, they can approach customer care issues in the correct way.

“Helping a customer understand their product and how to care for it is also a key message which we’ll be aiming to convey to delegates. Often a ‘problem’ with a product can all be down to how it behaves upon initial use. By using tools such as photo-triage these can be easily identified and then reassurance passed back to the customer.

“We’re also looking forward to our technicians sharing their experience through the practical workshops. I think some delegates will be amazed to see how the worst scratches can be fixed, and also get an appreciation of the skills needed to mix paint to precisely match leather upholstery. These repairs bring the furniture back-to-new, keeping them in use.”

The session is open to all from across the furniture industry. Anyone wishing to confirm their place should email info@servicetechnicians.co.uk or see more on the event here.