It’s not often you see a mid-size fabrication company where the new owner purchases the operation and then goes to work in the shop; where the main showroom is located across town from the fab shop; and where the company opens a satellite showroom 100 miles away and stocks it with slabs, just so customers can pick their colors locally without having to drive into town.
Meet USA Stone in Nashville, TN.
“It may sound crazy,” says general manger, Darryl Miller, “but we don’t want to get too big. I’ve seen companies get too big, too fast. Then they lose that attention to detail and they lose focus on customer service.”
Customer service is huge for USA Stone, because the company lives and dies on referrals from satisfied customers. “The bulk of our work is renovation,” Miller explains, “and the majority of our jobs come from referrals. We track where all of our sales are coming from, so we know that most of it comes from satisfied customers.”
Of course, everyone says their quality and customer service are the best in town. But listen to Miller talk and you begin to think that, maybe, USA Stone is the real deal. Take their policy on correcting mistakes, for example.
“We are like anybody else,” he says. “We are not 100% all the time. If we mess up, we do whatever it takes to make it right. We don’t hesitate.
Above all, we don’t offer the customer a discount to keep a sub-standard countertop. We replace it. We are not in the discount business. I’ve had customers ask if it wouldn’t be cheaper just to knock $300 off the price. I tell them we don’t want their friends to see something wrong with the top and know they accepted it at a discount. That’s not the impression we want to make.”
It’s a philosophy that seems to work for USA Stone. According to Miller, the company is not only profitable, it has grown every year since he was hired over four years ago.
“We really haven’t been affected by the recession,” he explains. “We have a very simple philosophy here: it’s about making the customer happy. We don’t have high pressure sales. Even when doing the template, if I get any idea that the customer is unsure about the stone they have selected I tell them, ‘We are not going to rush you. If you are not 100% sure that this is what you want to do, we can start all over.’ It’s all focused on the customer and making their experience the best it can be. It works for us.”
USA Stone stocks 80-100 different colors in the warehouse behind its Nashville showroom, which is currently undergoing a major renovation. That comes on the heels of opening the satellite showroom in Cookville, which involved investing heavily in improvements to the building. It seems an awful big bite for a 12 man operation.
“We do have overhead,” Miller acknowledges. “We have no desire to be the low price leader and we are not foolish enough to think that we can do all the stone work in Nashville. We have a highly focused target market. If people are looking for someone that is going to give them a good experience, from the sales end all the way through to the finished product, that is where we come in.”
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