Best Practices - April 2008

By Sonya Jennings

Classique Floors has many interesting and effective ways to pull in new customers, as well as methods to keep the store in the minds of past customers to encourage repeat business. The company offers a product mix of middle to upper price range carpet, ceramic tile, laminate, vinyl, hardwood, cork, bamboo, and wool carpet, along with countertops. Carpet has been the anchor for the company, but owner Judith Huck notes that ceramic tile and hardwood sales have increased dramatically over the last few years. 

About ten years ago, a newspaper ad salesperson asked Huck whether she attended chamber of commerce meetings. A light bulb went off, and she and her staff are now heavily involved with three area chambers of commerce. “Basically, this is the most inexpensive marketing we do,” she notes. Chamber members live in town, and they own homes. 

When attending meetings, she or a member of her staff always has a new and exciting product sample to show. It’s a conversation starter, and it keeps her business in the minds of the other attendees. 

“If I have a sample tucked under my arm, people come up to me and want to see it and touch it. Everyone at the chamber is aware of what I do, and that translates into sales when they need to replace flooring in their homes.” Classique Floors also separately hosts all three chambers in the store once each year. 

Huck is the president of the local Habitat For Humanity chapter. She also donates frequently to local schools and charitable organizations. When the opportunity arises, she purchases low-cost area rugs and donates them when local organizations ask for help. Her store is in the minds of anyone involved with local schools or charitable entities because her name is visible and present during their activities. Whether in a basketball program for the local high school or on discontinued carpet samples donated for kindergarteners to sit on during story time, the Classique Floors name is visible throughout the community. Huck feels that being a part of the community is not only the right thing to do, but it is a great way to build her business.

Huck was surprised by a recent survey that showed 75% of people who entered her store did so because the building caught their eye and made them curious. Classique Floors is now in its third location, and apparently Huck chose a great spot. The building sits on a main street in town, and the exterior is yellow stucco with rows of slate tile at the bottom of the building. Wrapping around the building is a red and white striped awning topping large windows. According to Huck, “It is a building that you really notice when you drive by.” A designer helped create the eye-catching exterior. When drivers pass by, they can literally see into the store and get a feeling for what’s inside.

Along with sending a newsletter two to three times per year to her current customer list, Huck has a couple of added special touches to make her customers want to return to the store. One is her focus on customer satisfaction. To ensure that her customers are happy with their Classique Floors experience, Huck mails a customer satisfaction packet to each customer five to seven days before an installation. Along with information about the installation schedule and payment details, a customer survey is included with a postage-paid return envelope. There are three questions about each person involved in the process, including the showroom employee, the job coordinator who measures in the home and closes the sale, the installation coordinator, and the installer. All of these areas are rated on a scale from one to five. At quarterly meetings, store staff and sub contractors are rewarded with $5 for each survey that gives all 5s to their individual performance. This is added incentive for top performance.

Another way that Classique Floors is different from many flooring stores is that interior designers are on the showroom floors working with customers. Instead of just a flooring expert, customers get a design expert as well. These free design services encourage the customer to purchase now what she may have been putting off due to an overwhelming number of options. The store’s designers offer direction on what products will suit their needs and match their design tastes. Huck comments, “Many people do not have a flair for design, and customers feel comfortable buying when a design expert tells them that this flooring choice will create the look they want to achieve in their home. And once the product is installed, it will look great.” She adds that many people simply put off changing their floors because they’re not sure what product will work for their needs while updating and complementing the style of their home. The store has four interior designers on staff.

Classique Floors has unusual ways of attracting new customers and keeping current ones. It has proven to be a recipe for success. 


Copyright 2008 Floor Focus 


Related Topics:RD Weis