This past week, I learned that communication and following through are most vital in sales, jobs or a relationship in or outside of the business.
We had a customer that was eager to order stone panels for their fireplace mantel. However, When natural stone is chosen, we always make aware that there is always chance that there will be variation in all stone. We inform all customers of this, however, sometimes new homeowners are so excited and anxious to start the design process that they’re willing to take chances about the physical appearance and aesthetic of varying product. With this said, they were not interested in ordering an updated sample of the natural stone panels. Unfortunately, when they receive the ordered stone, the product’s color varied from our showroom sample piece.
One of the spouses had placed the order and the other had originally seen the product before ordering; their was a lack in communication about checking with the other in regards to whether they should order an updated sample or not. Because of this, they wished for the manufacturer to take back their special order in replace of other product or to refund. This can become an issue when dealing with different manufacturers due to their policy. Fortunately, the manufacturer was willing to take back the disliked product order. However, we had placed a new order for updated samples for the showroom and clients, and the manufacturer took two weeks to get the product to use because they had forgotten to send use the newly requested samples.
Normal lee time on special orders is five to seven business; however, because the manufacturer forgot to ship out new samples, this caused a lack of communication or awareness of the situation from the manufacturer to us and from us to the clients. Moreover, this lack in follow through and notification from the manufacturer’s end caused us to contact the manufacturer’s reps and points of contact multiple times in efforts to track down the sample tiles and find out what the issue was. Due to their internal issue of lack of communication and follow through, this effected our ability to efficiently provide samples back to our clients in standard time. However, the issue had been resolved after the manufacturer reassured us that they would send out new samples as soon as possible and would refund our clients due to the discolor/inconsistency of the product from the sample.
This was a learning lesson for all of us as while we always inform our customers of the chance of variation in natural stone and offer the option of ordering an updated sample, we now will enforce this so our clients know EXACTLY what end product they will be receiving when dealing with natural stone. Moreover, we realize that while sometimes things accidentally fall between the cracks on the other end, we will continue to contact and be persistent to solve the issue and find the solution!
This past week, I actually presented to UK 101 design class on my experiences thus far as a design student, intern, and participant in the shadow-ship program through UKCoD. It was really rewarding to have the opportunity to share personal endeavors and experiences I have had since I began my journey at Mees and within the School of Interiors.
I explained to the class how I heard of the opportunity to work as a PAID design intern at Mees and how I tailored a design resume as well as went through two interviews to receive the internship. Moreover, I explained how my internship blossomed into what is so far a three year employment and have gained broad experience co-working with others in the design field as well as assisting licensed interior designers within the state of Kentucky who bring their clients into Mees to help pull together different materials for their projects. Something that I really harped on during my presentation was not being afraid to reach out to others and get outside your comfort zone to seek opportunities for yourself. As I had reached out to Mees on my own, I reaped the benefits of what was only to be a one semester paid internship that had turned into a permanent part-time job. Then I was able to later earn internship credit for my continual work at Mees. Moreover, I have learned an extensive amount about product beyond tile, such as different natural stone like granite and marble, as well as its applications and adjacent products, such as grout and transition strips. One of the cool things about working as a design consultant in a showroom is that I get to work with real clients as well as their designers. For example, we had one of the interior designers come in from Anderson & Rodgers, located out of Lexington, who brought a couple in who were building their new house. they were interested in two tiles from the Fiandre French Clay series: the 12×24 Sombre and the Flume. The couple originally matched both tiles with a coordinating 4×12 subway tile of the same colorways but then switched to two different mosaics from the manufacturer Onyx. The mosaics were 12×12 sheets of 1×1 squares of mixed material such as porcelain and glass with an iridescent touch. My showroom manager was working directly with the designer and the couple while Elizabeth and I assisted in collecting tile dimensions, pricing and providing our personal feedback. It is always a great learning experience to see how a real designer interacts with her clients as well as allied workers in the field. The designer was extremely obliging, bubbly and quick to help pull samples and provide appropriate design advice. She also was very understanding and empathetic with her clients, realizing that the design choices made were very important as they were permanent unless changed otherwise. Overall, I appreciated the process that was taking place and learned through observation how to communicate and collaborate on ideas with your client and allied designers for the best possible design solutions. Thinking back to my presentation I gave on Tuesday to my experiences at Mees this week, I really am thankful of the design experiences AND opportunities I have received through UK as well as at my internship at Mees.
Below, I have included a link to the tile series which the designer and clients were incorporating into their master bathroom and guest bathroom.