Kitchen & Bath Design News

APR 2014

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

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20 | Kitchen & Bath Design News April 2014 C onsolidation, chang- ing societal dynamics and more technology and digitalization will contin - ue to alter the way customers buy and DPH showrooms sell. While these changes can be scary, they also create great anticipation and opportunity. The opportunity stems from the fact that so few decorative hardware and plumbing showrooms have responded to the paradigm shift in consumer buying behavior and patterns. They continue to go to market the same way they always have. Every marketing guru states that gaining a com- petitive advantage requires delivering outstanding cus- tomer experiences. The challenge is to determine what a great customer expe- rience looks like and how it can be delivered consistently. CUSTOMER JOURNEY One tool showrooms can use to improve customer experi- ences is a customer journey map, which illustrates the steps customers go through when undertaking a bath renovation or new construc- tion project. The customer journey begins with aware- ness, moves to research, then to purchase and fnally to us- age. To look through the lens of your customers, you need to understand what they do as they move through each phase of their journey. Awareness of the need or desire to renovate their bath can come from seeing a bath- room in a magazine, on TV or at a friend's house. It may come from the decision to build a new home or remodel an existing one. All of these activities create awareness of the need to buy decora- tive plumbing and hardware. The journey then moves from awareness to research. Research almost always in- volves going online to fnd ideas and create wish lists. Customers' research may also include visiting showrooms, identifying products that ft their needs and obtaining guidance from professionals. The third phase is pur- chase: when customers decide what and where they will buy. Showrooms have a distinct advantage over online com- petition in the purchasing phase, because they ofer op- portunities to see, feel, touch and experience products frsthand. Showroom consul- tants can answer questions and reassure customers that the products selected are best suited for their needs. The last phase of the cus- tomer journey is usage or after-purchase experience. This may include determining if everything needed has ar- rived, completing the job and getting to use the products ordered and determining that everything functions properly. Showrooms support cus- tomer journeys through touch points. Touch points are any interaction between a cus- tomer and a showroom. For example, a touch point can oc- cur when a plumber says the new faucet does not work, but can't provide a reason. That's a touch point opportunity that can go either south or north. Most showroom pro- fessionals would probably conclude that the plumber erred. But that's not the lens the customer uses, since they often take the installer's word at face value. How does the showroom turn this touch point in its fa- vor? These are the questions showroom owners must dis- cuss with their staf, as they're the ones on the front lines. LEVERAGING TOUCH POINTS Creating a customer journey map with your sales and sup- port teams helps to identify touch point opportunities and determine how you can lever- age them to your advantage by asking these questions: ◦ Which specifc things are we doing at each touch point? ◦ Which touch points address customers' motivations, answer their questions and allay their concerns? ◦ Do our actions and com- munications provide a consistent message? ◦ Do we hit potholes from one stage to the next that cause customers to go elsewhere? ◦ How are our touch point interactions diferent from our competitor's, and how do they provide a competitive advantage? Author Daniel Pink il- lustrates how the rules of selling have changed in his book, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Mov- ing Others . Pink claims that selling in today's digital, go- to-Google-frst world requires the ability to infuence, per- suade and change behavior while simultaneously strik- ing a balance between what customers want and what showrooms provide. Charting a customer journey, according to Pink, requires looking through the customer's lens, moving the sales process from fea- tures and benefts to creating emotional connections and asking the right questions. Questions showroom consultants need to answer in order to establish trusting relationships with their cus- tomers include: ◦ Who are our target customers and what do they want? ◦ What do we know about them, and what kind of experiences do they desire? ◦ What do they think is missing in a showroom today? ◦ What are the biggest cus- tomer needs that are not currently being met? ◦ What causes them pain and how can we allevi- ate it? Why don't DPH show- room sales consultants ask the right questions? Pink be- lieves we are conditioned to be reticent because we don't want to appear to be aggres- sive or confrontational. You can avoid this by asking permission to ques- tion your clients. Explain that your goal is to develop solutions that best suit their needs, desires and budget, and ask if they'd mind if you ask some questions. P i n k adv i s e s t h at showrooms engage in a question-storming or a brain- storming session to identify the best approaches. Under- standing others' experiences is accomplished by asking, "what is" types of questions, i.e. "What is the goal the cus- tomer is trying to achieve?" Uncover motivations by ask- ing customers what prompted them to come to the show- room and what products they fnd most appealing. Asking "why" questions helps to obtain a better un- derstanding of customers' current situations and helps them imagine what might be. Finally, asking "what if" questions helps to elimi- nate or identify constraints. For example, "If you had an unlimited budget, what prod- ucts would you select?" If you want to establish trusting relationships with your customers, look through their lens by charting a cus- tomer journey map and asking your team to develop a full range of "what is," "why" and "what if" questions. Richard Campbell is opera- tions manager for Belmont Hardware, and serves as a member of the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware As- sociation Board of Directors and co-chair of the DPHA Conference and Product Showcase Committee. "Showrooms support customer journeys through touch points, which can be defned as any interaction between a customer and a showroom." Read past columns and features and send us your comments about this article and others by logging onto our Web site: DPH Perspective { Richard Campbell } The View Through Your Customer's Lens Creating a customer journey map can help you learn how to better connect with your clients by viewing the process from their point of view. KBD_20-21_DPHCampbell.indd 20 3/14/14 9:13 AM

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