(Editor’s note: Following is the eighth installment in a new series promoting Women of the Flooring Business, a social media group that provides members with a platform to share their experiences, observations and best practices.)
We have all heard the cliché, “A woman belongs in the kitchen.” I did not experience this firsthand until I had an older man come to my store and actually tell me to go make him a sandwich as I greeted him at the door. This is the problem: He would never have said that to a man. He proceeded to walk straight to one of my male employees, assuming he was the owner. And no, he was not joking. He had no desire to do business with me when he found out I owned the business. No apology was given, no laughter was made.
Remarks like that and others that question my ability to succeed because I am a woman, and a Hispanic one at that, still occur. Their assumptions that I cannot understand the technical aspects of flooring have driven me to prove them wrong time and time again. Throughout my 17 years building my business, I have had to learn to deal with prejudice and use it to push myself to work harder and smarter to get the results that have built my store into what it is today.
Communication is key
I would like to say a positive attitude and hard work is all you need to succeed, but it is not. You need help. You need to bring in support that will help you develop a successful system for your business. In fact, there is no point in my writing “I” when in reality it should be “we.” We—my team and I—worked together to create a strong business; to find out where other stores were falling short. We determined that our competition lacked a connection to their customers and employees. Customers would come in and make remarks about the chaos they had experienced in other stores. This is where we felt we could excel.
We built a good internal team communication program by designating groups within our staff (sales team, warehouse receiving team, estimators, etc.) to constantly remain in contact with one another. This communication, which is helpful on an everyday basis, proved to be a life saver to our business during the COVID-19 lockdown and partial reopening. Our communication included our customers and vendors.
Though we would love to say that our jobs are completed flawlessly without [issues], there is always something that does not work out. Whether customers are unhappy with something as small as a transition or as big as an install, we listen and offer our best to settle their issue. We have found that customer satisfaction does not always come from an easy job but rather from how a problem is resolved. We try and we care, and our team is always there to help one another. That is important in our business, and we are proud of this.
Doris Garza is the president and co-owner of Alexanders Carpet One Floor & Home in Corpus Christi, Texas. She has been in business for 17 years and focuses on providing the best customer service experience her customers can get.