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Not In My Backyard!

1/6/2014 10:05:05 AM
Article by Russ Lee

No one can service your customers better than you

It never fails. When talking to successful fabricators about their secrets to success, sooner or later I hear the phrase, “We are not the cheapest company out there.” It doesn’t matter if they serve the residential, wholesale or commercial markets, in the final analysis, price is NOT the determining factor why these successful fabricators land the sale.

Then what is?

Service.

Personalized service is what gives small business the edge over even the most nimble of the super-mega conglomerates. The big guys know that – and you should too. Just as you could never hope to compete on a national scale with these well-funded behemoths, you hold the service advantage in your own backyard.

Look at some of the advantages a small business has over its larger competition:

  • Better trained and more knowledgeable sales people.
  • In most cases, an owner (or owners) personally involved in the day-to-day operation of the company.
  • The ability to make decisions and respond to market conditions quickly.
  • Small business owners have a personal stake in the success of their companies, which implies a stronger incentive to keep their customers happy.
  • Local fabricators generally enjoy long-term relationships with their customers and other members of the community.

If you think about it, the big box stores try to co-opt the local fabricator’s ability to provide superior customer service by placing the burden of making the customer happy squarely on the fabricator’s shoulders. The fabricator is responsible for checking the accuracy of the sale and following through with the customer on all aspects of the project. If the job goes well, the store takes all the credit. If there is a problem, the fabricator gets the first call. If, for some reason, the fabricator is unable to deliver satisfaction, the big box store only has one alternative – buy the customer off. The reality is the big box store is physically unable to provide great customer service. That has to come from the local fabricator.

The purpose of this article is not to rag on the big box stores. They play an integral role in our industry and are a major source of income for fabricators in every market across the country. I use them as an example to illustrate the advantage you potentially enjoy in the customer service arena.

So, if excellent customer service is the one great advantage small business has over big business, what about all those other competitors out there who are also small businesses? Don’t they enjoy that same advantage? Potentially, yes. Your challenge is to become the best of the best by delivering the ultimate countertop purchasing experience. Not everyone recognizes how important exceptional service is to the success and health of their business, but those who do turn it into a fine art. Everything about their company – from the personal appearance of their employees, to how they answer the phone, to how well they respond to customer issues – is focused on the needs and wants of their customers.

They are the ones who typically tell me, “We are not the cheapest guys in town, but we manage to stay busy.”

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