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Business Sense: Good customer service will make you more money

Posted on 19 July 2021 by cradmin

by Katherine Gifford of Moraware

It’s too easy to deprioritize customer service when you’re overworked and you don’t have a large enough team to step in and help. And given today’s market, when the jobs are rolling in with little effort, it’s hardly motivating to put extra work into a part of your business that isn’t production. 

But, the really important, really overlooked fact is that your customers are buying more than new countertops when they sign up with you. They are paying for a whole heap of things: your expertise, their peace of mind, a smooth experience from start to finish, quality products, feeling like they aren’t being ripped off, the list goes on and on. 

The experience you provide will determine if that customer writes a good review, refers you to new customers, and/or books you for future jobs. By offering a less than stellar experience, you’re really only hurting yourself in the long run.

On the other hand, you can choose to provide an amazing experience for your customers and leave them so thrilled they can’t help but refer you to everyone they know looking for new countertops. You’ll reap many rewards, my friends. Like more customers, more money, and less complaints! Let’s discuss some areas for improvement.

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Business Sense Juen 2021

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Business Sense: How to Get Your Time Back With Countertop Software

Posted on 14 June 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

“I am finally able to leave work and go spend time with my family!”

An actual countertop fabricator said that. A few years ago Moraware asked its users how software has helped their business, and their quality of life. The answers were overwhelmingly about the time they were able to get back. The freedom to focus on the important things, whether it’s other parts of the business or more time away from the shop.

So, if you are a countertop fabricator and your days are so jam-packed that you are pulling your hair out, where do you begin? Read on for the first steps to take in reducing the chaos and creating some peace of mind.

Ask yourself, “Where’s my time going?”

When you look at your work days over the last week or so, what projects or tasks have taken up the majority of your time? This is the first step. Any successful countertop fabricator will tell you that knowledge is power. If you track your activities, you’ll easily be able to find areas that you can shave off time from. 

Start with an easy win

With the right software, you can streamline your countertop business all the way through install. Taking a look at your current processes will help you find areas that need improvement. There will always be bottlenecks, so don’t be overwhelmed!  

Many fabricators start by taking a look at their quoting process. It’s an easy, high-reward move that will get you almost  immediate results. When shops switch from quoting by hand to using estimating software, they are able to produce more bids faster than ever. In this case, using software to speed up the bidding process allows for consistent and accurate quoting by anyone on the team and frees up time. Less time wasted on revisions, pricing mistakes, calculations and hand drawing. Extra bonus: because you are able to increase your bid output, you’ll naturally and easily increase your countertop sales. More time and money!

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May 2021 Business Sense

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Business Sense: How to Better Manage Countertop Shop Scheduling

Posted on 12 May 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

What words come to mind when you think about your scheduling process? For a lot of fabricators – especially those with smaller operations – it’s chaos. 

Striking the right balance of supply and demand is what scheduling is all about, but when everyone at your shop is adding jobs, removing them, and making changes, that delicate balance gets thrown off.

Overbooking, underbooking, last-minute additions, and forgetting about holidays are incredibly common, especially when there’s no defined process in place for scheduling.

When your shop has too much on its plate, more mistakes are likely to be made. Not to mention some of your best staff members can get burnt out and leave, and replacing talent in this industry is incredibly difficult.

All of this boils down to a lower margin in an already low-margin industry. But don’t worry – there is a better way, and you can take small strides towards a more efficient scheduling process.

Why Focus On Scheduling?

We talk to fabricators every day, and scheduling is typically one of many bottlenecks they’re facing. What makes the scheduling problem so important?

If you think about it, the schedule is the pulse of your business. It’s what keeps everything else alive. Providing amazing service, having stress-free days, and keeping up with demand all rely on good scheduling.

If you overbook, then you have to call the customer and reschedule, but they just took off work to meet you, and now they want to be compensated for their time. It’s a world of hurt just waiting for you at the end of an already stressful day.

Aside from quoting, nailing down scheduling is often the first place shops start when they want to improve their processes.

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Business Sense April 2021

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Business Sense: Grow Your Countertop Shop With These First Steps

Posted on 15 April 2021 by cradmin

by Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Business is booming in the stone industry! Either you are flooded with new business or you are wanting to be flooded with all that new business. Am I right? Hint: say yes so we can stay friends.

Working with fabricators for decades has shown us that growth can be a huge blessing, but also a huge pain. A growing shop is suddenly faced with strains on their current processes and more stress than ever.

But, growth is something to celebrate! And you deserve to be excited about it. So, we’ve compiled some practical tips that you can start thinking about now. That way you can put your feet up and enjoy the rewards sooner rather than later.

Update Your Processes

I know what you’re thinking – “You always say that!” And you’re right. Because it’s tried and true. The most successful countertop fabricators will tell you how streamlining their processes from quote to install have changed their business for the better.

This quote from the All Slab Fabbers facebook group was so perfect, I had to save it. “If you save 30 seconds on a step you do hundreds of times a day…”

If you could save time by increasing your efficiency in every step of your process, what could you spend that time doing? Being able to focus on the next part of your business that needs attention like marketing, customer experience, and metrics is vital to your growth. So is being able to take a vacation! With a streamlined process established, your shop can scale and grow without being dependent on one or two key people. That’s why we’re in the software-for-countertop-fabricators-business, after all.

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Business Sense March 2021_kpis-400x250

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Business Sense: A Quick Guide to Setting Goals For Your Countertop Business

Posted on 24 March 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Goals are critical for any business, including the fabrication industry. Without them, it’s like playing a game of darts in a pitch-black room. You keep aiming and throwing, but you have no idea if you’re ever going to hit the bullseye.

That’s where KPIs come in. 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are indicators that track your progress toward a specific goal. KPIs give your business focus – something to work towards. According to Peter Drucker, “What gets measured gets done.”

In this quick guide, we’ll go over how to set and track KPIs that matter for your countertop shop.

What are KPIs?

KPIs help you track the health of your company. For example, here at Moraware, we track new customer activity as a measure of success. Why? Because we’ve found that if our new customers aren’t active within the first few weeks, they aren’t likely to be active at any point and will cancel. 

That’s one KPI we measure and report on that directly affects the way we do business. What metrics are important for your business?

First and foremost, you want to make sure it can check a few boxes. Here are a few features of a great KPI:

  • You should be able to tell if you’re making progress toward your goal
  • Your measurements along the way should help you make better business decisions
  • You should be able to compare performance change over time – for example, sales this month versus sales this month last year

A KPI can track efficiency, effectiveness, quality, timeliness, governance, compliance, behaviors, economics, project performance, personnel performance, or resource utilization.

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Bus Sense - January 21

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Business Sense: Why Taking Photos of Your Finished Jobs Should Be Part of Your Process

Posted on 05 January 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

One of the best ways to advertise your business is by showing proof of your craftsmanship. Posting photos of your finished jobs on social media and website is a great way to show new prospects what kind of work you’re capable of. Images can also save you from ornery customers who call about issues that might not have any merit.

Taking great photos isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Who should take the pictures – the installers, a photographer, or the customer? How do you motivate your team to take great photos? What kind of equipment should you provide, if any? And lastly, how do you make sure it happens every time.

Two Reasons Countertop Installers Should Take Photos of the Finished Job

Great photos of the finished countertop serve two purposes:

  1. Prevent miscommunication with the customer in case they call about a crack or chip.
  2. Help you promote your shop by showing new prospects what you’re capable of.

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Business Sense Dec. 2020

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Business Sense: Creating a Work-Life Balance at a Countertop Shop

Posted on 07 December 2020 by cradmin3

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

We talk to many shop owners and managers, and unfortunately, it’s more common than not to be totally and utterly burnt out.

Mental exhaustion. Emotionally drained. Never-ending stress.

It’s no way to live, but it’s the norm in our low-margin, high-speed industry. While it’s easier than not to be discouraged and keep your head down, it’s very possible to have an excellent quality of life with a little life-changing strategic thinking.

Why are we so stressed out?

It’s relatively common in the countertop fabrication business to work long hours.

According to researchers, working more than 10 hours in a day, more than 40 hours of overtime in a month, and 60 or more hours in a week leads to stressful feelings.

Certain times of the year, such as leading up to the holidays, are stressful times for everyone. 

Read more: Avoid Getting Burnt Out During the Holiday Rush

But often, owners and managers are so burnt out because there are too many bottlenecks in their processes. And here’s where things get hard – when you’re burnt out, how can you keep your team motivated?

Whitney Johnson, the author of Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve, says “Your team is picking up on your stress, and it’s making everything worse,”

Understanding your business and its bottlenecks is the first step toward making improvements that’ll give you back some of your time and lift the weight of stress. Your employees will notice the difference.

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Business Sense Nov. 2020

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Business Sense: Avoid Getting Burnt Out During the Holiday Rush

Posted on 10 November 2020 by cradmin3

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

The holidays are a beautiful time of joy, family time, and relaxation. Well… for about 10% of us.

For more than half of us, the holidays are a breeding ground for stress. It shouldn’t be that way, but here we are.

According to a study, there are three main culprits for holiday stress:

  1. Lack of money
  2. Lack of time
  3. The general focus on commercialism and spending money

For many fabricators, this is all happening at home and the workplace. Your customers are in a mad rush to get their homes ready for company, and you’re to blame if things don’t go according to plan.

Here’s some advice for handling the holiday countertop rush like a pro.

Practice Benchmarking, or Setting Customer Expectations

Before we get into any Moraware-specific solutions, we have to mention a super simple customer service tip: set expectations. This is also more formally referred to as “benchmarking.”

We all use reference points to evaluate the world around us. 

For example, if all your friends eat out every single day, you feel pretty good about cooking three times a week. If all your friends cook at home every single day, you feel like you aren’t making enough home-cooked meals.

The same thing happens in business – if you say you’ll reply to all emails in 24 hours or less, that’s the reference point your customers will measure you against.

“If we don’t provide our customer reference points by setting customer expectations, customers will search out their own reference points,” explains Sarah Chambers, a Customer Support Consultant.

In other words, if you don’t set any expectations at all, your customers will pull from other experiences to set a reference point. Maybe their friends said their countertops were ready in two days. If that’s your customer’s reference point, they’ll hire you the week before Thanksgiving and expect a perfect kitchen by Thanksgiving Eve. Sound familiar?

Be cautious around the holidays. Set clear expectations! Even if you think you can pull it off, make sure your customers are fully aware that they may not have their dream kitchen installed by turkey day.

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Business Sense Oct. 2020

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Business Sense: Enhance Your Countertop Software Experience with Moraware Integrations

Posted on 06 October 2020 by cradmin3

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

We think CounterGo, our estimating software, and Systemize, our scheduling software, are pretty amazing. But sometimes, you need more. More time. More money. More coffee.

But seriously, you might need more features and options than our software currently provides. And that’s where integrations come in.

Maybe you need help assessing the health of your business or you need Slabsmith to connect to Systemize. Integrations can enhance your software experience and connect all the important tools you use. You may not need any of these integrations just yet, but if the time comes, it can simplify your setup and increase functionality.

Without further ado, here are four killer integrations you may not know about that can really enhance your Moraware experience. These are in no particular order – they’re all awesome!

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Business Sense Sept. 2020

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Business Sense: How to Overcome the 3 Most Common Objections During a Countertop Sale

Posted on 10 September 2020 by cradmin3

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Odds are you can handle any objection under the sun if it has to do with your craftsmanship or materials. When customers inquire about how marble can stain or how granite can crack, I’m guessing you have an answer ready to fire back.

But what about sales objections, like “your price is too high” or “I need to think about it?”

These kinds of objections plague every industry, including countertop fabrication. At the surface level, they seem impossible to crack, but trust me – we can overcome them.

First Thing’s First – Know Your Customer

Before you handle an objection, it can be helpful to understand the kind of person you’re dealing with.

Are they a logical or analytical thinker? These buyers want data and lots of information about everything to feel comfortable making a decision.

A story I once heard from a friend was about her father-in-law. He is an analytical thinker, and it seems like the only place he buys from is QVC. Can you guess why?

They spend a long time explaining and rehashing every detail and possible benefit about their products, arming him with enough information to make an educated buying decision.

Are they a relationship-centric person? These buyers will buy from you if they know you, like you, and trust you. The more comfortable you make them feel, the more likely they are to buy.

Are they an emotional buyer? These buyers want to feel good about the purchase – they can imagine what life would be like when the project is done. They make decisions based on emotion, not necessarily logic.

These are just a few examples, but try to understand what’s important to your customer. That will help you field objections more effectively.

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