Best Practices - December 2010
By Sonya Jennings
Westboro Flooring & Décor is the first flooring store in the Ottawa area to begin a post-consumer carpet recycling program, giving retail and property management customers new reason to shop at this 48-year-old business. In addition, the company’s focus on customer satisfaction and quality control helps Westboro stand out.
It was earlier this year that Steven Kimmel, owner of Westboro Flooring & Décor, decided to begin recycling carpet for customers. He launched a recycling program with the tagline, “Design with the environment in mind.” Over 40,000 pounds of used carpet and pad are collected in a shipping trailer every two to three weeks and delivered to a third party carpet recycler. The carpet comes from both retail and commercial installations, which include property management, hospitals and hotels. According to Kimmel, “You have to do something to make your company different.” And with an increased environmental awareness across North America, it made sense to become more environmentally conscious.
To align with the recycling campaign, the logo on all company vehicles, clothes and advertising was changed from blue to green, and a smart car was brought into the Westboro showroom and filled with clear plastic bottles. Customers were encouraged to estimate the number of plastic bottles in the car. The customer whose guess was closest to the actual number received $1,000 worth of Mohawk’s SmartStrand carpet.
Customer satisfaction is a central focus at Westboro Flooring & Décor. After each job is completed, a team member of the marketing department calls the customer to conduct a survey about the salespeople, the selection process, the products and the installation process. If a customer cannot be reached by phone, a survey is sent through the mail. If the survey identifies any issues that need to be resolved or addressed, the company moves on this immediately. According to Kimmel, “The reason we do these surveys is to continually improve our processes. If you don’t want to know the answer, then don’t ask. We definitely want to know.”
Sometimes a customer will offer praise for a particular installer or team member during a survey. In that case, the employee is always made aware of the great job they are doing. This boosts morale and encourages the employee to keep up the good work.
The quality control effort at Westboro Flooring & Décor is comprehensive and effective. The company employs five site foremen who supervise ongoing projects. The Ottawa area, approximately 1,800 square miles, is split into five territories, and each site foreman is responsible for checking on the progress of the jobs in his area. The site foremen keep tabs on all types of jobs, including builder, commercial and retail, with the goal of addressing anything that could become a problem and remedying it before the project moves forward.
The company also employs a quality control inspector who inspects all types of flooring and is certified by the National Wood Flooring Association. The quality control inspector handles all concerns, problems, complaints and questions from customers after a job is completed. The site foremen and the quality control inspector drive vehicles with the Westboro logo on the side panel, providing more advertising for the company.
Personal touches are valued at Westboro Flooring as well. After a purchase is made, a handwritten note is sent to the customer by the salesperson. In addition, once the survey is given and the purchase and installation are complete, a thank-you letter from Kimmel is mailed to the customer.
Westboro Flooring was founded in 1962 by Morris Kimmel, Steven Kimmel’s father, to serve the builder market. In 1974, Kimmel became involved in the business and launched it into the retail sector in the 1980s. Unlike in the United States, the home builder business is alive and well in Ottawa. Nearly 70% of Westboro’s business still comes from builders, 20% is retail business, and the remaining 10% is commercial. In the builder market, Kimmel notes that berber and cut and loop are popular carpet trends at present; hardwood with darker stains is in demand as well.
Westboro offers carpet, hardwood, ceramic tile, laminate, cork, vinyl and window coverings. Carpet accounts for 50% of sales, ceramic and vinyl tile 20%, and pre- and site-finished hardwood 30%. Westboro sells products from Mohawk, Shaw, Beaulieu, Kraus, Nature’s Way and Godfrey Hirst. The company invests 4% of retail sales back into advertising, some of which is used to showcase special offers and some of which is used for brand building.
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