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!


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