Emma Segelov, Head of Marketing at MK Electric, explains why customer feedback was paramount in the design of its new range of wiring devices.
UK companies live and die by research and development – which helps to explain why more than £30bn is spent in this arena every year by firms to help them determine how they should design their next big product. A major part of this involves looking at and analysing feedback from customers, after all they’re the individuals that will be using the product every day. At MK Electric, we followed this procedure before launching Dimensions – our new range of screwless, design-led wiring devices.
Over the past few years there’s been a real trend towards decorative wiring devices, rather than the traditional units you’d usually see in homes and offices across the UK. For a long time, these more bespoke solutions have been the preserve of boutique hotels and high-end restaurants and bars, but they’re now becoming much more widespread.
Of course, the customer always wants these items to look flawless, yet sockets and switches are inherently prone to damage during the build or renovation phase. For this reason, Dimensions comes in a two-piece design, with two separate part numbers for the functional module and clip-on frontplate, so each can be ordered when the contractor is ready for them.
This means the clip-on frontplate finish can be decided on late in the build process once there’s no longer a need to worry about paint splashes or knocks and scratches that may occur whilst the site is still under construction.
The potential for the part being mislaid whilst it’s awaiting installation is also minimised, reducing time wasted on site and ensuring contractors are equipped to ensure they hit completion deadlines.
Increasingly, we’re finding there’s a significant demand for a more scalable solution from end users. They want these products to maintain one common design aesthetic throughout a building, which can be tailored to particular locations – for example, putting a decorative frontplate in hotel bedrooms and more conventional designs in office areas.
The two-part installation of Dimensions answers this by offering a high level of flexibility to the customer, allowing them to choose the right frontplate for each area, and eventually upgrade and interchange these as the design and décor inside the building changes over time.
However, on top of this, our research also showed that customers are demanding more from their wiring devices than ever before. In addition to traditional functions, they often want the option for USB charging, LED dimming and multimedia plates. In response, all of these have been included in the Dimensions range.
Research and development is a major part of doing business for manufacturers across the UK, and at MK Electric we’re no different. By studying consumer feedback, manufacturers are able to produce products which meet the needs of contractors and help them to grow their business.