Visit The Office

  • Listen to office communications and observe the functions.
  • How do the staff members work together to achieve overall customer service goals?

Throughout this grand tour, consider whether you would be pleased to have your customers walk through with you, including the break areas and restrooms. That's an acid test.

As you move from area to area, speak with all the people who contribute to operations. People who actually do the work are frequently aware of, and glad to tell you what needs to be done. Sometimes though, management never asks or is not lis-

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  1. Watch for employees who might injure themselves, the furniture or others. For example, don't stand on bedrails, practice safe box cutter protocol and refrain from horseplay.
  2. Another example of professional staging.

tening.

Your notes will provide an internal assessment of strengths and weaknesses. They will help you focus on improvements achievable with your internal staff and help you determine areas in which you may need to hire outside consultants to supplement your in house expertise.

You may also want to reference previous FURNITURE WORLD Magazine articles (posted to the Operations Article Archives on the furninfo.com website) that provide specific recommendations for receiving, hiring and compensation.

Daniel Bolger P.E. provides operations consulting services to clients throughout

North America. FURNITURE WORLD Magazine readers can contact him at [email protected] or call him direct at 740-503-8875.

For more information on this or other transportation, logistics and furniture warehousing topics, go to www.furninfo.com to read all of Dan's articles.

A Typical Furniture Store Can Save $5,260 And Still Look Great!

Replace Your Table Lamp Bulbs

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Replace Your Recessed Downlights

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Replace Your Track Light Bulbs

90PAR38 to a 60PAR38/IRC: Annual Savings $12.00 per lamp

100 Table Lamps x $12.40 = $1,240 25 Downlights x $16.80 = $420

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SHOPPER

Transactional shoppers are more interested in price than relational shoppers. They shop around and rarely make their purchase on the fist visit.

Sales Management Magic by Joe Capillo

Where to begin? The November/December issue of FURNITURE WORLD Magazine included thirteen points to attend to in this awful economy and I hope they were helpful. Now let's take a closer look at steps you can and should take today, tomorrow and every day from now on.

I have personally been affected by this perfect storm of events that overtook us in the past 18 months, having been involved in a family business that spi-raled out of control through the failure of a group of branded stores, an attempted merger with an even sicker company, and the crashing housing market. I speak to you from close to where you are. I hate to say it this way, but I feel your pain.

Here's my advice for owners and managers at all levels, particularly small family businesses: Take control of the cations to be funded. point of contact.

In our business, nothing fails like success. All the sales you've ever made, and the sales your individual salespeople have ever made, have been closed in an environment that no longer exists. In the past, you've probably approached customers in ways that no longer will work, so you'd better have a Plan B.

Things may never go back to the way they were in, say 2005, 2000, or 1998. Maybe those companies that survive this will end up being one of the few places left in the neighborhood to buy furniture and thrive in an under-stored marketplace. Perhaps other channels of distribution will become stronger than ever and the whole idea of furniture stores will become passé. But, meanwhile there are mortgages to be paid, health insurance premiums to maintain, and college edu-

Companies who hope to thrive need to take control of the point of contact between customers and salespeople. Be right there with them all the time. This is not the time to trust that things are being done well. You know that there is a consistent, wide range of performance among your salespeople, and you cannot afford to let anyone get away who could buy, and should buy from you.

Business owners and managers, particularly at the highest levels in large, multi-store companies, are just not close enough to the point of contact. In these large companies it's understandable. But in smaller companies, it's inexcusable. Someone from ownership or management needs to be out there every hour of every day to make this happen. You'll close some sales that otherwise wouldn't be closed, and you'll learn a lot about

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"Everyone becomes more transactional in times like this."

what your customers are thinking to help you promote and advertise the right things.

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