Best practices put retailers in position to win

Home Inside FCNews Best practices put retailers in position to win

January 2/9, 2017: Volume 31, Number 15

By Carena Tachtchouk

There are many components that go into a successful retail floor covering business. First and foremost, you need the right combination of in-demand products and a skilled workforce to sell, install and service those products. However, there are countless other aspects that go into maintaining a successful retail operation.

For owners like Barbara Clements of Al’s Carpet, Flooring & Design Service, Machesney Park, Ill., the key to consistency lies in making the shopping experience as seamless and smooth as possible, from the product selection process all the way through to measuring and installation. One way she achieves this is through technology. “We want to bring the shopping experience to their homes,” she explained.

A strong focus on customer service is also paying dividends for retailers like Ryan Fairchild, owner of House of Floors, Albuquerque, N.M. “Our customer service is what differentiates us from the big box stores,” he said. “We like to handle everything personally, including going to the customers’ homes and doing the estimates and measuring ourselves. We provide a certain level of expertise that sets us above the rest.”

The same principle applies to Jason Fromm, owner of Carpet Spectrum, Lomita, Calif. The company recently began providing a shop-at-home service, which has produced positive results. “Many of our customers are on tight time constraints and we wanted to provide a convenient in-home service for them.”

Achieving success on a regular basis hinges on effective training, many retailers say. Paul Johnson, owner of Carpet One Floor & Home, Tulsa, Okla., is a case in point. “I often hear retailers bemoaning the fact they have to spend so much time on training their employees. ‘What happens if I train them and then they leave?’ they say. I tell them, ‘What happens if I don’t train them and they stay?’ The importance of having a well-trained staff cannot be overstated.”

Building a connection
For other dealers, the emphasis is on connecting with customers online. “We’ve been focusing a lot on using social media to our advantage,” said Nancy Haley, CEO, Haley’s Flooring & Interiors, Huntsville, Ala. “We’re very consumer concerned, especially with the millennial who are connecting with us on social media. The feedback we have received on our Facebook page and blog is going to be applied to our retail market and will hopefully lead to new clients and overall success when working with these new clients.”

That’s not the only ingredient in Haley’s recipe for success. She also places a heavy emphasis on training and teamwork. “We are a family here and emphasize teamwork heavily at our meetings. This approach encourages our salespeople to address and recognize the needs of the customer.”

In that same vein, other successful dealers strive to raise the bar in terms of conduct and how they engage the consumer. Pam Kulick, owner of JK Carpets, Locust Grove, Pa., has this advice: “Build your business on integrity, honesty and superior customer service. Always be sure to follow through on promises. And learn how to say no to those problematic jobs that you’re not comfortable with.”

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