By Jacqueline Hinchcliffe While 2021 was a year of change all over the world regarding lessened COVID-19 restrictions, vaccine developments and regaining a sense of normalcy, it sparked change within businesses as well. FCNews asked flooring retailers to reminisce on their year and discuss what best practices they have implemented to improve their business.
“The best practices we implemented this year was pretty basic but one of the most important—improving our overall communication. At the beginning of the year, I ran the staff through a SWAT analysis to see where we excelled and where we needed improvement. In tallying everyone’s responses our top three were around communication. Communication with our clients, with one another and with our subcontractors. We then spent time going over procedures already in place, creating new ones if needed and intentionally practicing basic communication skills to form habits. Communication is something that we will strive to always improve but it will be refreshing to see how far we have come this year when we begin [the] 2022 analysis.”
– Michele Batye, president, Dave Griggs Flooring America, Columbia, Mo.
“I have two best practices. One is a ‘service bulletin’ that is given to each installation order at the time of consummating the sale. In short, this bulletin reminds people of the issues that will create delays with getting their orders installed in our usual timely manner. (i.e., labor shortages, shipping delays, etc.) ‘We humbly ask for your patience as we continue to do our best to get your product into your home as efficiently as possible.’
The second are large posters throughout our showrooms and warehouse that remind customers that there will be delays beyond our control and to please be patient. Both have worked to keep at least 95% of our customers from wanting to shoot us when we inform them of schedule changes!”
– Steve Weissberg, president, Crest Flooring, Allentown, Pa.
“In the last year we have concentrated on really taking care of our installers. We have a large, heated warehouse that is kept extremely clean. I bought a cutting machine in 2020 and our warehouse guys do a lot of coordination with installers as far as cutting the carpet for them and even in some cases delivering to the job site. We also make sure they get paid in a timely manner. All of these have helped us to attract and maintain the best installers in the area, which only increases our customer service and perception from our customers.”
– Eric Buehler, owner, CarpetsPlus of Wyoming, Star Valley, Wyo.
“We are proactive with customers that come into our store by having them make multiple selections, and before they even take it home or are out of the store we are calling the mills to check on stock and availability based on their time frame because there’s no use taking the sample home and loving it and finding out it’s not available. While they’re out there looking, we’ll run in, get on the computer and check and go, ‘OK, that color is not available. Do you have another choice?’ With us being able to check on their selection beforehand and literally follow them home or set up a measurement that day or the next morning, they feel like the follow-up is more than what they’re getting at other places.”
– Mike Montgomery, owner, Montgomery CarpetsPlus Colortile, Venice, Fla.
“Just our open lines of communication [is what] our customers have been very appreciative of and our safety precautions. We always ask people if they want us to wear masks, we have plexiglass up in the store… so we try to stay on top of all that and customers just appreciate [that].”
– Claire McCoy, owner, Rugs and Rolls, Plaistow, N.H.
“I think we’re going out of our way a little more because of COVID-19 and, of course, with the shortages. We’re not just saying, ‘Oh, we can’t get that!’ and walking away. We are spending many hours trying to help our clients get the final product that they’re after.”
– Ed Smith, owner, Flooring America Poiema Carpets & Interiors, Kalispell, Mont.