Of all the questions potential customers ask, one is common to every sale: “Why should I buy from you?” A fabricator’s ability to respond in a way that satisfies is, literally, the difference between success and failure.
The folks at Stone Services in Chattanooga, TN understand the importance of a great first impression, which is why they have put so much effort into making the countertop purchasing experience a pleasure for the customer. For instance, the showroom is well laid out and is kept spotlessly clean. The staff is friendly and well-informed. No wonder the company enjoys a high closing rate when they can get a prospect into the showroom.
But, in the digital age, so many people form first impressions “virtually” on the Internet, which means Stone Services had to find a way to interact with prospects on a personal level over the Web. The solution? A short video placed prominently on the company website that communicates the core values of quality, personal service, value, the latest technologies, and family values. It’s almost as good as a warm handshake and a friendly smile.
Doing It Better
Founded in 2002 by Tony Allen, Stone Services was an immediate success in Southeastern Tennessee and grew quickly. In 2007, the company moved from its tiny shop in downtown Chattanooga into a 32,000 sq ft building. “That enabled us to build a showroom and design the shop where everything flows smoothly,” explains Mack Conley, Sales Manager. “All of our slabs are indoors. We have two overhead cranes, which means if we have a guy cutting slabs and a truck comes in, he doesn’t have to stop what he is doing to unload the truck.”
The company has invested in slab layout software to improve material utilization and to cut down on mistakes. The software upgrade has a strong customer service component as well. “We have the ability to email the client a layout of the job superimposed on a photo of the slab to show where veining will occur,” says Conley.
“We can even set up an appointment between the AutoCad technician and the customer, which allows Mrs. Jones to adjust the positioning of the layout to the slab, on the spot. It’s helpful to the customer and it’s good for us.”
Stone Services utilizes digital templating technology, slab bar coding and automated processing equipment to help speed up the fabrication process and improve quality. The company installs 20-25 jobs per week, using two installation crews. “Each lead man has over 10 years experience in stone,” says Conley. “They are the last people to see the customer and they are excellent. We get a lot of referrals.”
Improving The Process
With a market area that extends two hours in any direction, it’s important for the company’s single template person to be ultra efficient in order to measure and submit upwards of 20 jobs per week. Conley says Moraware’s JobTracker is an essential tool for making that happen.
“We have a person that organizes the templater’s schedule. He (the templater) may end his day 1 ½ hours from the shop and it is time to go home. In the past he would have to come back to the shop first to drop off the information, so that we could start on the project first thing the next day. Now, with JobTracker, he logs in and emails the dxf files, attaches pictures and the field drawings. In the morning the field rep has all that information at his fingertips and the templater can go on to the next job.”
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo is countertop drawing and estimating software. JobTracker is scheduling software that helps you eliminate the time you waste looking for job folders. RemnantSwap is a free place to buy and sell granite remnants with fabricators near you.