K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Miscellaneous

Apr 26 2017

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Three Tips to Win Customer Trust


After a customer picks us as their bathroom remodeler, we send them a quick survey. At the end of it is an open-ended question, “Why did you select us?” I ask this because I want our whole company to know why and then emphasize our best traits to grow the business.

The most common answer is a simple one: our customers choose us because they trust us. We will be working on their home and in their home, doing projects that will keep their family comfortable and improve the value of their most valuable possession. Of course it’s about trust.

Somewhere along the way, our customers decide we are the experts they trust the most. That can be from meeting our sales team, talking to our office staff or reading something about us online. You can earn more customers by investing in the right resources to build your credibility, and here are the resources we recommend emphasizing:

Awards. Think of all the ways you can stand out from your competition. You’re established, you’ll be there if problems arise, and your installers are the best in the business. These qualities can all be embodied in the awards you have won. We showcase ours prominently when talking with potential customers. The message boils down to this: experts in our field think we run an excellent business, so you can trust us to treat your home like our own.

– Testimonials & Reviews. Customers want an easy way to tell they can trust you with their home. What better way to communicate that than to quote customers who trusted you previously and had that trust rewarded with excellent work? If you can, provide photos of the work you’ve done to go along with the reviews. After all, seeing is believing. New customers seek out reviews and choose you based on how you have treated your previous customers.

– Warranties. This is a procedure I would strongly recommend building into your business, and it ties into winning awards and earning great testimonials. Stand by your products, and do it in writing. If you present a written promise that you will stand by your work, that reinforces the trustworthy impression already given by your awards and reviews.

If your customer hears from multiple sources that you are trustworthy, and you stand behind your work in writing, you are setting yourself up for success. When you think about vital assets for your company, few are as important as your credibility. As a credible company, your customers will come to the table already trusting you to do right by them. Highlighting your awards, reviews and excellent warranties – you build that asset and in turn build your business.

Allen Erskine is the owner of Kansas City-based Alenco Inc. – in business and growing since 1986 and ranked in the top 100 largest remodelers nationwide.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Feb 01 2017

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He Said/She Said: Successfully Designing for Couples

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In a relationship, many situations require compromise. Designing a dream space for two shouldn’t be one of them. Award-winning interior designer, Christopher Grubb, believes that designing for two is all about successful negotiation and never about compromise. As a Beverly Hills-based designer accustomed to demanding clientele, Grubb draws on his experience to explain to designers, contactors and remodelers what it takes to make both partners feel they’re being heard and that both of their needs are being met.

Some tips he uses when working with couples include:

Have them pull inspiration images separately. I will joke that I’ve seen in some relationships there is a design override between couples. I’m not saying my clients have that, but it helps me understand what they BOTH want. We as designers can quickly see the commonality of their desires in their images to guide the design to satisfy both of their desires.

Answering the question: “What are the trends?” I don’t exactly subscribe to trends but do see “movements” in design. I can point some trends I see but usually ask them what do YOU see as trends? It gives me a chance to hear what they think and what they like and seem excited about. Of course the next question is how on trend do you want your space to be or how timeless to see how much they really want to be trendy.

Never take sides – no matter who signs the check. Designing for a couple becomes a very intimate relationship, and remodels are stressful. I’ve been in emotional situations often, and to disarm the situation, I will respond with my observations of what each has said they like during the process and remind them we are designing as a team effort.

– Playing therapist. Remodels create a lot of stress with the interruption of ones living space, the financial investment, strangers in their home, etc. We all want to design, and the process of the final result is arduous to say the least. Many calls are the client simply venting and wanting someone who will listen. Another successful action I use is to call and ask, “How are you and how are things going?” This reiterates that I care both about the project and my clients’ mental wellbeing.

– Never compromise – always negotiate. Many clients see the grand total or a project, and their first question is “Can we find materials that are less money?” I remind them that the construction is the majority of the cost, and I don’t want them to compromise on a material and later regret they didn’t get what they wanted. They will walk into their space everyday and be disappointed they didn’t get what they really wanted. Another situation is when one of the couples wants something that is more expensive or the other partner feels is unnecessary. One may like the gorgeous tub fill and the other balks. IF you’ve listened, you can negotiate and remind the other that they wanted the towel warmer and add that it is beautiful and functional. They have both gotten what they want.

– Avoid stereotyping. Many think the husband will be all about the cost or succumb to the old adage “Whatever she wants.” Or that the wife will want a bathtub (that actually only 25 percent of people use). My success is listening and not going into a project with any pre-conceived ideas.

Top image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dec 01 2016

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Fun at Design & Construction Week

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Have friends and family members joining you for the shows in Florida next month? The National Association of Home Builders has some good ideas for last-minute fun in this NAHBNow blog post. See you Jan 10-12 in Orlando!

The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye

This 400-foot observation wheel can be seen from miles away – and offers some of the most breathtaking views of Central Florida. Take in the beautiful Orlando skyline, theme parks, lakes and lush landscape, and on a clear day, even Cape Canaveral on the East Coast. The Eye is on International Drive at I-Drive 360, one of Orlando’s newest dining and entertainment complexes. Pre-book tickets online for the best savings.

Bowling at Kings

This retro-inspired establishment is a great place to hang out for a few hours. It has 22 10-pin bowling lanes, four billiards tables, more than 60 giant high-definition TVs (to catch the game) and great food and beverages. Families with children are welcome during the day until 6 p.m., but it’s 21 or over after 8 p.m.

Disney Star Wars Fireworks

If time is limited, the Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular is an excellent reason to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studio. According to the VisitOrlando blog, this show is a pairing of an “over-the-top fireworks show and larger-than-life video projections displayed directly on the Chinese Theater. The new technology transports guests directly into their favorite moments from the entire Star Wars saga.”

Universal’s CityWalk & Disney Springs

These are great places for nightlife, dining, entertainment and shopping. At CityWalk, there are a number of celebrity restaurants including Emeril’s, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and the Hard Rock Café. Disney Springs is home to over 175 shopping and dining venues, including the House of Blues and the Indiana Jones-themed restaurant, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.

Crayola Experience

Here, creativity is encouraged with 26 hands-on attractions. Children (and adults) can learn how crayons are made, star in their own coloring page, name and wrap their own Crayola crayon, embark on a 4D coloring adventure and more. The Crayola Experience is at the Florida Mall, and for savings, buy tickets online and skip the line.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

Where can you find shrunken heads, an authentic vampire killing kit, a shooting gallery and a wild spinning vortex tunnel in Orlando? Spend a few hours exploring 10,000 square feet of exhibits that will leave you asking: Believe it … or not? Discount tickets are available online.

Madame Tussauds

Millions of people worldwide have enjoyed the extraordinary experience that can only be found inside Madame Tussauds. At the Orlando location, come and pose with some of the most famous faces from history, sports and pop culture, including Shrek, Will Smith, Michael Jackson, Dan Marino, Steve Jobs and Oprah. Discount tickets are available online.

– NAHBNow

Oct 17 2016

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Food and Fun for a Great Cause

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As members of the press, the editors at KBB get invited to a host of industry events all over the U.S. – sometimes internationally. I recently attended an awesome event in a non-journalistic capacity. I was simply there to support my friend who helps make it happen and to learn more about the cause the event itself supports. The 5th-annual Harvest on the Hooch at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Atlanta celebrated farm to table food with a garden party tasting event presented by Whole Foods and hosted by top local chefs and top-notch restaurants.

Chefs

But the most important thing is that it is a fundraiser for the Unity Garden, which supplies more than four tons of fresh produce yearly to the North Fulton Community Charities food pantry.

Garden

I admit I had never been to the center before, nor had I visited the Unity Garden, so my boyfriend and I took advantage of everything the event had to offer: photo opps with life-sized carrots, tours of the garden, a gander at the mini alpacas and many chickens on the property and some really, really great food.

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As you can see in the picture below, this event offered much more than mere samples – we dined on fried chicken drumsticks, Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing sandwiches and whole servings of pasta.

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Aside from stuffing our faces, we actually learned a few things at the event. The Chattahoochee Nature Center’s mission is to connect people with nature, and it definitely did that for us on our visit.