Designing Remotely (because of Covid-19)

One day, we are all going to wake up from this Covid nightmare and realise that the world has changed and if you haven’t changed and adapted with it, you may find you have been left behind.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the USA was never the same and this had a ripple effect across the world. Just try getting on a plane anywhere now without having to take your shoes off at security. The impact of the Coronavirus will be no different, in that it’s effects are surely changing the world and how we will do things. Even right now some of the changes are being seen. The kitchen and bathroom industry are being forced to find and embrace new ways and different tactics to engage with their customers.

One of the biggest changes the industry is being be faced with, is undoubtedly the acceptance of remote designing. No longer will a customer be forced to visit your showroom. No longer will the customer have no choice but to take time out of their day to come and sit for two hours while you design their new kitchen or bathroom. The technology we have at this moment with the likes of Skype, Zoom, Face-time, etc., has to be embraced and the designers that are embracing it already, will end up ahead of the game.

The greatest currency we have is time. We should all spend it wisely. By offering your client the option of remote designing, you are indeed saving them time. Time which is valuable. The more you can give them back, the more value you are offering them.

“But customers need to come into the showroom to touch and feel the products”……….really? Look at Amazon.

The kids that are on TikTok, they are the real future, they are more than happy to buy anything without visiting a showroom. They don’t need to touch and feel products before they buy, they buy virtually. We must all put more time and energy into thinking of ways of embracing the virtual customer and how can we help them. Nothing has changed, it’s still all about communication, it’s just a different form of communication.

The remote, virtual experience doesn’t have to end with the customer. This design experience can easily be continued by building a successful and close collaboration with your installer. Under normal circumstances, there is really no absolute need for the installer to have to visit your client in their home to be able to give an accurate quotation for the installation of your design. With a series of photographs and a brief video call, including a tour of the room, an experienced installer can easily offer a detailed quotation.

Changing some of the communication with your installer from text or email to using to Face-time or Zoom would have a hugely positive effect on the success of your projects. Essentially, people buy into people and while it’s great that we live in a world where we can talk to each other by typing words on a screen, seeing a face and being able to understand expression is still vital in a social world. Your designer / installer relationships should be no different to your designer / customer ones.

By changing over and offering a remote design service, perhaps consider the creation and offering of a short video of the whole process to your client. A five minute video that takes them from their first video call, through the remote design procedure to installation and completion of their new kitchen. The two hour showroom visit is not meant to be replaced by a two hour Zoom call. By sending a short video of the whole process from start to finish before your first video meeting, you’ve just taken 30 minutes of questions and explanation off your initial call. Imagine contacting a customer for the first time and they already know exactly what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. They are already comfortable with the procedure.

It is rumoured, with the customers use of the internet for research and online reviews, 70-80% of a sale is already made before the customer actually makes contact with you. Whether you are a designer, a salesman or an installer, I still think it will take a face to get that sale over the line, it doesn’t even have to be a pretty face, but you may need to smile for the camera.

Now if we could only work out a way to remotely install the kitchens and bathrooms.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Published by markconacher

Born in Toronto, Canada - Raised in Dundee, Scotland - Living in Vancouver, Canada

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