Accept that products alone can’t really differentiate you.
This may come as a shock to you, but product (and price) alone won’t sufficiently differentiate you from your competition. Without a team of passionate and dedicated experts who bring those products to life for customers, you are no better than your competitors.
Embrace flooring installation as a true service differentiator.
Flooring isn’t completely sold until it is installed in the consumer’s home. Flooring products take on meaning after proper installation when customers can enjoy their beauty and usefulness.
Realize that quality is never an accident.
Quality is never an accident; it is planned for. Great companies prioritize for quality; they never expect their staff members to self train. Rather, they take control of the expectation for consistent and high quality by developing systems for ongoing training and education. They reward improved performance, pass on compliments, say thank you for doing things right and generally encourage good attitudes. They focus on what matters to customers.
Make sure customer handoffs never break down.
Think of your flooring sales experience as a relay race where the baton being passed around represents your customer. It starts with the salesperson, then moves on to measurement and installation. Everyone plays a role in ensuring that the exchange or handoff takes place smoothly.
Ensure your flooring installation staff looks and acts professional.
Do you have a first class installation staff? Do they look and act professional? Complaints cost the average flooring store 2-4% of annual revenues because the industry tends to embrace a “fix-it-if-they-complain” attitude toward installation. That strategy offers no long-term benefit. Better to properly train and support your installation staff. Be proactive and spend that money on training.
Welcome feedback (including complaints).
Customer reviews and feedback are gifts to treasure and acknowledge. Even complaints. Many customer service calls are a function of poor communication, rather than subpar installation. Complaints are usually concerns that aren’t initially well handled, and expectations aren’t met. Thank customers for calling. Complaints also come from people purchasing the wrong product and not being happy with the end result. Learn more about each customer; don’t rush to show product.
Create a high level of confidence for your customers.
First impressions leave lasting images. For that reason, plan to impress your customers.
- Call them to let them know you will be on time, and what you are driving. This creates a high level of confidence.
- Look sharp. Feel sharp. As a society, we respect crisp uniforms.
- Act and look like you know what you’re doing.
We perform to a higher level when we are perceived to be more capable. Remember, that it’s the customer’s initial impression that matters!
Be deliberate about completing a customer job.
Finally, when it comes to completing a customer job, what is your process?
- Installers should always leave a business card upon completion. It makes them accountable.
- Be sure to do a walk-through with the customer.
- Address any problems on site: have a plan and explain full details, including time expectations.
- Sales personnel should always follow-up with customers within 24 hours of completion, giving them enough time to experience the job. When you call, use a positive tone; say “I trust we did…” (vs. I hope).
- Ask for referrals.
To put this stage into perspective, artists always sign their work. What kind of a signature do you leave on your work?
– Niki Boesen