Tips Offered to Upgrade Service Levels for Kitchen & Bath Retailers
A psychological study once revealed that someone who has a positive experience shares the story of that experience with an average of three people but someone who has a negative experience will share that story with an average of 11 people.
That statistic ought to hit home in dramatic fashion for kitchen and bath retailers, who rely so heavily on referrals for future business and for manufacturers, reps and distributors, who rely on those retailers as their lifeblood.
Following are some basic guidelines for accomplishing that task:
Create a formal customer service program. It's one thing to say that you're devoted to customer service, but its quite another to actually do something about it. Set up formal written guidelines for dealing with customers and train your staff on what is accepted. Get your people to focus beyond immediate tasks and on the customer's entire concern. Teach them how to deal with complaints, problems and customer objections.
Communicate clearly with installers and subcontractors. When it comes to customer service, your installation staff and subcontractors need interpersonal skills as much as your sales staff perhaps more so, since they'll inevitably spend more time in the customer's home than anyone. Be sure your installers and subs know how to react in the face of unexpected job site problems or customer complaints. Be sure those same installers are well-schooled in terms of appearance, cleanup, job site practices and related matters.
Focus on fundamentals. For you and your staff, a kitchen or bath remodeling job may be routine, but for your customer this may be the only kitchen or bath remodeling they ever undertake in their lifetime. Be sensitive to that fact, and put yourself in your customer's shoes when dealing with questions and concerns.
Follow up. Ask your customers about the service you've delivered. It signals that you care, and it is the only way to get information on whether you're delivering the customer service you think you are.
Deliver on promises. Be sure your marketing materials convey the level of customer service your company is capable of delivering and be equally sure that you deliver what you promise. Your Yellow Pages ads, corporate brochures and other advertising materials should spell out what the customer can expect to receive as service, and your levels of service should be consistent, in all respects, with the expectations you set.