“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
Last year proved to have silver linings in its storm clouds. The pandemic kept people in their homes, and couples in record numbers decided to remodel their kitchens. We’ve been hearing from members that their business is booming. 2020, in fact, was an extraordinary financial success for the kitchen and bath industry, and the predictions for 2021 are far better. We all want great business to lead to more great business, but how do we know that the way we run our companies will ensure a continued bright future?
With that in mind, our team sat down to consider what prospective clients want to see happen during their remodeling experience. We outlined what matters most to them and why, so you’re ready to act on any concern a client may have before they bring one to you.
Clients demand quality
Focus on forging meaningful relationships with clientele, because the job that you do for them, and their satisfaction with your work, is the face of your business. The quality of your work — and that of your business relations — are the most important things for designers to uphold to keep the boom times going.
What matters to buyers can be said in many words, but it comes down to one above all others: quality. What good is a speedy delivery time if the installation disappoints them? A faster-than-expected installation of their cabinets sounds great unless the job is botched. A firm’s reliable service is not going to matter for long if their personnel are too busy to be courteous and precise.
Decades have gone by since national big box chains first scared the small business person with the threat of taking all of their customers away from them. The online marketing boom of the past two decades has shown small, independent businesses making a comeback. Clients will hire kitchen and bath firms who inspire confidence in them. Confidence is earned by demonstrating quality.
“Quality” is a multi-faceted word
“Quality” is really an across-the-board term for all of the things today’s contentious buyers demand. When a buyer sees something of quality in a business, they’re going to expect to see it everywhere. They’ll notice right away if some area of your business is lacking it. An oversight in delivering quality work can be a deal-breaker.
If your showroom does not have current cabinet stylings, is messy and dirty, or has dysfunctional product on display, prospects may take their business elsewhere. However, if your business is running with friendly, experienced designers who show obvious design talent, and well-trained personnel to install product with a great fit-and-finish, then a delayed product delivery date is a much easier inconvenience to address with a new prospect.
Communication—the quality of conversation
Are you communicating with your clients as much — and as effectively — as they would like? You probably know the answer to this question without asking your client what their answer would be.
Whether your client is satisfied with the time and energy you give to them or has unaddressed questions or concerns, you should be asking your clients about their experiences with the buying process all along the way. “How is my team doing so far?” Make it a habit to get feedback from your clients. By consistently inquiring for their comments, you’re showing them that you care about their project.
Your client should be given just the amount of care and attention they are looking for. Don’t leave anything out of the conversation, because your customers want to know all the same details about their project that you know. The burden of communication always rests with the company selling and installing the project.
Value—the quality of the investment
Consumers want the best price available for their investment, but they don’t want the cheapest products for fear of poor quality. Even if their selection is your most economical cabinetry, they’re going to want it to look great and to last a lifetime. The products you carry speak volumes about your company.
A rule of thumb here is to handle only products you would feel good about installing in your own home. Sure, getting their retainer check quickly is very important as well, but an equally fast, final selection process is only going to make them happy if they’re getting something they love.
Trust—the quality of the people
When a buyer puts their trust in you, that trust extends to everyone and everything in your business: your team, your products, your service. Everyone must be trustworthy — even your subcontractors. Clients always want the truth in business. If being honest means your company looks bad because a mistake was made, your client is going to appreciate your upfront acknowledgment of it.
Showing is telling
Your image is all prospects know of you until they speak to your staff. Even after they’ve been impressed by your website and team, clients see your company’s image regularly until your job is complete. Paying extreme attention to details all along the way will help maintain a positive impression of your brand.
This means knowing what your customers want — in some cases before they do — to determine how best to serve them. The greater the specialized services a business has, the greater the client satisfaction. Some points to see how your firm’s service measures up include:
- Is there a project manager on board who is great at catching ordering mistakes and overseeing your installation and job completion process?
- Is there a communication system in place that handles everything needed for a job launch after the sale is made, such as change orders, delivery times, and scheduling dates, etc.?
- Does it have innovative technology that helps make the budgeting process and project management easier, is more engaging for the client, and provides an easy way to present multiple designs and product choices, providing a great customer experience?
Your new clients want to be sure they’re getting the best price and service and that they are a priority to you and your team. This kind of effort and transparency assures prospects that they are receiving dedicated focus from you for all of the options they’re considering, enabling them to confidently move forward with your company. And when you place a priority on quality, communication, value, trust, and project management, your clients are assured to have an exceptional customer experience.