Stone Column: Communication and success go hand in hand
During the many years that I have been with Stone World I have sat in on more fabricator forums, workshops and other industry events where ideas and experiences are discussed than I can count. And one of the strong recurring themes in most of them is the importance of customer service and communication. While I thought I understood what everyone was talking about, I do even more now as I am at the end of week four of a kitchen and bathroom renovation. I can actually relate to some of the conversations I have heard.
My husband and I waited quite a while for our contractor to start the project. While I found it frustrating, my husband assured me it was worth waiting for the father-and-son team, as they have an excellent reputation for their customer service and skilled subcontractors. And I have to say, he was right. Since the renovation has begun, they have been efficiently moving everything along and communicating with us at all times about various situations that have risen. I have heard horror stories about contractors disappearing during a job or doing subpar work, so I am thankful that we stayed on course and didn’t fall into the temptation of finding someone else.
I can see how at times customers can make the job more challenging for the fabricator. I was recently attending one of the Stone Summits that Stone World organizes with the Natural Stone Institute and the speaker was asking the group how many of them have to follow up with their customers to find out about the status of the job rather than the customer being proactive and calling them to give an update. At that moment, I realized I was guilty of that. Of course, we chose granite for our countertops and we had selected the material several weeks prior, but I hadn’t been in touch with the fabricator since then to let them know if the project had even started yet. So as soon as I got home, I contacted them to let them know when demolition was starting. From that point on, I regularly updated my contact at the fabrication shop on what stage of the project was going on. They were easy and understanding to work with, as we had to push the templating date a few times due to one delay or another with the other trades.
Even in the best situation with a good contractor and subcontractors, unexpected situations and problems can occur. I can’t imagine what it would be like if there wasn’t strong communication. I also realize even more the importance of quality workers. Not only is it critical to the look of the design, but it also makes for a more efficient job. Having to redo work would only delay the project. And something being talked about more and more at workshops and forums is sales and marketing. Many fabricators and other trades rely on word of mouth for references, so you want to make sure you have a happy customer. I see why this is so important, and once our renovation project is completed (hopefully only a couple of more weeks to go!) I will absolutely sing everyone’s praise and give a high recommendation to anyone looking for a reliable and good contractor, fabricator and all the other trades who helped us make our renovation a success.