Howzat for looking after your customers!

Handicare’s Clare Brophy (centre) with some of the retailers at Edgbaston

A full day’s hospitality at Day 3 of the first ever day/night test match with accommodation at a top-class Birmingham hotel – that’s what Handicare treated some of their retail partners to recently. And, with England taking 20 West Indies wickets in a day, as you might imagine, their customers were well and truly bowled over by the experience.

Add in a visit from Windies legend Sir Curtly Ambrose, a gin tasting presentation and a resident cartoonist drawing the guests throughout the day and Handicare’s business customers went home on the Sunday with plenty of memories.

Handicare’s National Sales Manager Paul Stockdill told THIIS: "Our customers are at the heart of our business and we do all we can to show that we value them on both a professional and a personal level.

"Over the years, we have invested a lot of time and effort to create relationships that drive sales and growth for our dealers, as well as our own business; relationships that are built on mutual respect and shared values and which, we believe, give us the edge over our competition.”

He added: "Regular partner events such as the one held recently at the first day/night cricket match at Edgbaston are a great way for our team to say thank you to our customers. They’re not about business, they’re about people. Feedback at and after these events, which are always well attended, is excellent, and we know that everyone appreciates the opportunity to spend some time celebrating what we have achieved together.”

Paul says that keeping the spark alive in long-term relationships can sometimes be challenging, particularly when times are hard.

"Going the extra mile to show your customers how important they are and how much you appreciate them is something which we believe is worth doing, and worth doing well.”

And the guests definitely felt appreciated. Craig Dunnage of Dolphin Mobility told us: "It was as if the whole day had been arranged just to suit me… It was great to meet Sir Curtly Ambrose. He was an absolute gentleman, indulging me by chatting about the plight of West Indies cricket for 10 minutes. He even took it upon himself to go over to Michael Hambrook's Grandad, who he'd spoken to earlier, to say goodbye before he left. Completely unexpected, but absolutely made an old man's day and showed him to be the class act he always was on the cricket field.

"Apart from watching the cricket, the food and hospitality shown by everyone from Handicare and the staff at Edgbaston was absolutely first class. The hotel was also excellent and capped off by being able to meet some of the England players. Thanks again to everyone.”

And Jonathan Muir of EMS Stairlifts added:"Everyone made a huge effort to ensure our day was wonderful and I was amazed how much I actually enjoyed the game. Especially as we destroyed the Windies!”

Mike Williams of Ableworld believes that getting together at informal events is important. "It was excellent day and I think it’s very important for suppliers to occasionally relax with retailers in a friendly environment, it can only bring the Trade closer together. It is very prevalent in other industry and can only work to the good of our own industry.”

Paul says that Handicare committed to an ambitious growth strategy across all areas from Accessibility to Moving and Handling to Bathing Solutions. "A key part of the strategy, is a new approach to supporting our dealer network, following the success of an Accredited Partner scheme for its mobility retailers launched earlier this year.”

"We already have a fantastic team and customer-focused operation that is growing our market share steadily,” said Paul. "Our dealer and retail networks are expanding, and now we want to make things even easier for all our partners to grow their business today and in the future. We’re investing heavily in a comprehensive Partner Programme designed to help increase dealers’ commercial activity as well as rewarding their commitment and loyalty.”

And he says that the company are well placed to deliver. "We are fortunate in that we have the right skillset within the organisation to create bespoke business development plans for our partners, offering them the level of product and commercial training according to their needs and ambitions. For Handicare, it’s about choice and we’d like to allow our partners to choose how much support they want from their preferred product partner.”

The company is aiming to grow in a number of sectors. "Dealer sales are a huge part of our growth strategy, as well as enhancing other commercial functions. We’re not intending to grow in just one area, we’ll contribute an equal amount of focus to all processes. Having said that, we believe by assisting our partners with improved service we’ll achieve an uplift in sales in the Accessibility sector.”

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