Eric and I recently attended the Natural Stone Institute and Stone World South Carolina Stone Summit hosted by Pacific Shore Stones in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a great group gathered, with featured speaker G. K. Naquin of Stone Interiors in Loxley, Alabama.
The importance of metrics, in all aspects of business, was stressed. How can you know what to charge if you don’t know your costs? How can you reduce your costs if you don’t track what they are, especially those that are not related to inventory? How can you manage your employees and meet shop goals without detailing what that looks like? Metrics are the answer. The numbers are impartial and can point the way to efficiency and prosperity when used well.
Utilizing social media for a professional platform is a must today. It can be a convenient way to stay “connected” to your customers, but don’t forget to understand its limitations. Best advice, always keep social media professional and relevant to your customers.
Technology and innovation are what drive the industry forward, from better polishing pads to laser templating. Change is important and necessary for the health of everyone’s business. Embracing technology and innovation can keep your shop thriving.
The importance of how technology can tip the scales in your favor tied in with customer communication. Utilizing technology to track workflow means when a customer calls, the person who answers the phone can help him or her, they do not have to go track down the shop manager or templater to see the status of a job, while the customer sits on hold. Quick access to job information yields informed conversations and positive customer experiences.
Questions about how to integrate such a system into your business? Give us a call, we can certainly help!
Customer and Employee Experience
A common theme that comes up at these events is how difficult it can be to find hard working, talented employees. What about when technology potentially displaces a great employee’s job within the shop? Think of reallocating great employees, they are great for a reason and may have lots of untapped skills.
Several attendees discussed that it is not just your customers who need a good experience with your company, your employees do too. Use incentives and rewards for well run shop, quality controls, and completed checklists. Clearly spell out expectations and people can rise to meet them better. Incentives and rewards are more effective than punishments. Attitudes can really change when employees feel they have a stake in the work beyond a paycheck, and when they feel they are heard.
When designing your rewards, ask yourself what motivates your employees. What incentive would they find most valuable? Pizza lunch once a month, being able to leave by a certain time one day a week, or monetary bonuses for meeting certain goals are great examples of how some shops create the right experience for their employees. Get creative and ask your employees what matters most to them.
G.K summed it up well by saying “this is a noble industry. Don’t price based on your competitors. Many customers may only look for cheapest price, you don’t want those customers.” Emphasize your strengths and technological edge with your customers, this is an added value, not just a means to stay current in your industry.
Now is a great time for you to drive your business, your customer and your employee experiences looking forward!