Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUL 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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"I HAVE ALWAYS believed that honesty and being proactive are the way to prevent as much stress as possible. Throw in a little humor – I like to relate it to childbirth: The birthing process is no fun, but the end result is so worth what you go through! It also helps to have a detailed timeline and stick to it! When the client calls and is stressed, I can point out exactly where we are in the process and that way we are all on the same page." Stephanie Frees, owner Plain & Posh Westmont, IL "I LIKE TO remind them of how they stressed out over the wait for a bicycle when they were younger. Then I remind them how hours after receiving it, they had completely forgotten the anxiety over waiting. I like to call it 'The Bicycle Factor' – works every time!" Tim Mummert Cornerstone Carpentry Poughkeepsie, NY "I TALK TO clients before the project be- gins to set expectations. I tell them to pre-plan how they will survive. I even have a print-out on how best to survive a kitchen remodel. I am very honest with them and tell them that it is not pleasant, but that in the end, the results will be worth the pain." MaryBeth Wilson, owner MB Wilson Interior Design Plymouth, MI "THERE SHOULD BE conversation regarding 'the process' prior to signing any contract with your client, pending the scope of work – not only about the schedule, but about inconveniences to them as well. Having this conversation will soften and remind your cli- ent during the process that it is best to focus on the end goal, assuring them all is typical. Remember, in the beginning of most projects, due to the anticipated excitement, you seem like a hero, and about mid-stage, that seems to wane. But again, the goal is to be that hero by the time the project is complete!" Dale Mohler, general manager Diamond Design Kitchen & Bath Gallery Lancaster, PA "WHEN A CLIENT is overwhelmed about a project, I try to get them as much information as possible each step of the way. Telling them not to worry only makes them worry more! I like to approach things piece by piece and break it down into the sim- plest form possible so that they can easily understand the entire process as it unfolds. Regarding financial stress, I plan accordingly based on their project needs, trying to meet their budget with consumer-friendly prod- ucts that are built well and are cost effective. This means a lot of research and testing on my part to determine the cost, reliability and longevity of the numerous brands avail- able to our industry. Financing a project is stressful, so I make sure that my clients are making the right choices with space manage- ment and materials, while still meeting their design goals." TJ Wonak Custom Kitchens & Cabinets Inc. Melbourne, FL "WE STRESS TO our clients from the beginning that renovating a kitchen or bath- room is a challenging process. While honesty helps, we also utilize a variety of strategies to help mitigate client stress. Our most suc- cessful strategy is maintaining constant and ongoing communication with the contractor and client. Close contact with the contractor allows us to anticipate and resolve problems, often before the client is even aware there is an issue. If it's something for which client input is required, we are proactive about informing our clients of the challenge and offering recommendations and solutions. Everyone hates conflict, but being up-front with clients as quickly as possible helps our clients feel that we have the project under control, that we are able to anticipate prob- lems and that we can keep the project moving forward with little or no interruption. Another helpful trick is providing our clients with a chance to have a reprieve at some point during the renovation. We always give our clients a gift card to a local restaurant along with a little note encouraging them to enjoy a night out, away from the dust!" Dana Bacher, designer Jarrett Design LLC Emmaus, PA "THIS IS A great question. I think the real solution begins early in the sales process, as we advise our clients what to expect during various phases of their project (what we call expectation management). If they know what will happen, what could happen and what rarely happens (but still could), they're better equipped to deal with the planned events and even the unforeseen circumstances and the potential accompanying stress. If this becomes routine practice, we cultivate trust through saying what we do, and then doing what we say." Dan Fuehring Craftsman Kitchens, LLC Salt Lake City, UT "COMMUNICATION IS THE key. Being up-front about unseen changes and tackling them with a solution in mind [is critical to minimizing clients' stress]. I never pretend to have all the answers and when I don't, I will say that I don't know at this mo- ment, but will find out. I do welcome client insight or design thoughts and try to see if maybe they have an intuitive feel that I am not seeing. After all, it will be theirs long after I am finished." Lisa Lyttle, owner Lisa Esposito Design Santa Clarita, CA "AT THE BEGINNING of each project, I set up a spreadsheet of all the major items that will need to be selected (cabinet door style, flooring, hardware, countertops, appli- ances, etc.). I share this document electron- ically with my client. As items are selected, they are checked off the list. This seems to help with the 'overwhelming factor' of all the decisions that need to be made within a project. I also like to have clients commit to a scheduled weekly appointment. My clients have busy lives, so we can always cancel or re- schedule as needed, but when they block out the time in advance, it seems to relieve their stress (and mine) about trying to find meeting times at the last minute." Marci Bluestone Bluestone Designs, Inc. St. Louis, MO Designers Discuss Client Stress WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email your feedback, contact information and the subject, 'Market Pulse' with your message to How do you manage clients' project-related stress? What tips do you have for building trust between clients and designers? 6 Kitchen & Bath Design News • July 2019 MARKET PULSE READERS' OPINIONS ON INDUSTRY-RELATED ISSUES

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