Recognize Your 'Moment of Truth' Each Business Day,
Every kitchen and bath design firm has one "moment of truth" and perhaps several in the course of each business day: It arrives any time a prospect or client has an opportunity to render a judgment concerning the value of the service being offered to them.
That's the view of Hank Darlington and Steve Vlachos, CKD, CBD, the educators who, for the past several years, have led the successful "Managing for Profit" business management seminar series, co-produced by Kitchen & Bath Design News and the National Kitchen & Bath Association.
According to Vlachos and Darlington, sub-par service reflected in actions such as unreturned phone calls, missed service calls and a high-pressure sales approach may be just the symptoms of larger, underlying problems with a business.
"You may really need to get the root cause of these problems in order to correct them," Darlington says. "Ask yourself: Has your company policy been communicated properly to your employees? Do you even have a policy? When was the last time it was reviewed, and when was the last time your employees were properly trained or re-trained in these areas?"
Darlington advises business owners to create a simple Customer Service Survey Form, which enables customers to rate services from "excellent" to "poor." The forms, he says, should be reviewed regularly, with an eye toward making improvements, if necessary.
Among the questions on the form should be the following:
- Were you greeted and helped in a timely matter?
- Was your initial contact with our sales staff pleasant, and were they helpful?
- Was our product selection and showroom presentation above average?
- Did you receive your quote in a timely manner, and was it easy to understand?
- Were our prices competitive?
- Was your project completed in the promised time?
- Was your project completed at the agreed-upon price?
- Are you satisfied with your project in visual appearance and quality?
- What is your overall rating of our service?
The objective is to receive ongoing assessments, from customers, about the company's level of service and to be sure the "moment of truth" provides a favorable impression.