Pub­lic wants knowl­edge­able, friendly staff

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Mike Moore

RE­CENTLY, I had the op­por­tu­nity to take part in a plan­ning ses­sion hosted by the Western Re­tail Lum­ber As­so­ci­a­tion. The board of direc­tors and in­vited guests were led through a day­long ex­er­cise in an­a­lyz­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion and the in­dus­try for the road ahead. The pro­gram fa­cil­i­ta­tor in­tro­duced a num­ber of top­ics, but one that stuck with me was the pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment of staff, es­pe­cially in front-line jobs that were face to face with the pub­lic.

It is so crit­i­cally im­por­tant that those in­di­vid­u­als who in­ter­act with the pub­lic are knowl­edge­able about the prod­ucts and ser­vices they rep­re­sent. In the case of the WRLA, dis­cus­sion cen­tred on those who are as­sist­ing the walk-in pub­lic and those who work with pro­fes­sional con­trac­tors. At first glance, one might think those who are deal­ing with con­trac­tors must have greater tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise and be more fa­mil­iar with the prod­ucts. Not so. Pro­fes­sion­als gen­er­ally come into the store with more prod­uct knowl­edge and know ex­actly what they want. The am­a­teur handy­man may need more ex­pert guid­ance and ad­vice; also more pa­tience from ser­vice per­son­nel. The mes­sage was both client groups are equally im­por­tant and the same level of ex­per­tise within staff is re­quired for both. As some­one who oc­ca­sion­ally stains a cedar deck, re­places switches, in­stalls rail­ings or per­forms myr­iad small re­pairs, I ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­pert ad­vice I re­ceive from my lo­cal build­ing sup­plier. That then got me think­ing about other first-con­tact per­son­nel in the new-home and ren­o­va­tion in­dus­tries. No mat­ter how good your prod­uct is, if the first point of con­tact is an un­pleas­ant one, you may have trou­ble sell­ing that prod­uct. Who an­swers the phone? Who re­sponds to emails? Who greets you upon en­ter­ing the premises? Is the company web­site invit­ing and in­for­ma­tive? Is there a con­tact for ques­tions or com­plaints? All of th­ese can make or break your business. I guess that’s why I have a prob­lem un­der­stand­ing cross-bor­der shop­ping for build­ing ma­te­ri­als and home­ren­o­va­tion prod­ucts. I con­cede you may be able to save money on the pur­chase price due to our tax struc­ture. How­ever, who is there to help you through­out the process? How do you take back the ex­tra can of stain or the box of screws? Even worse, who is go­ing to tell you a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct isn’t CSA ap­proved and there­fore isn’t war­ranted to be in­stalled in Man­i­toba? I’m not say­ing buy only Cana­di­an­man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts or never shop out­side of our prov­ince; how­ever, I am ad­vis­ing to take ad­van­tage of the ex­per­tise and as­sis­tance you can only get lo­cally from per­son­nel trained to take care of your spe­cific build­ing needs. Mike Moore is pres­i­dent of the Man­i­toba

Home Builders’ As­so­ci­a­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.