People are saying the constant use of technology has made us lose sight of the customer, or that we have lost the “human factor.” These days, when you enter any manner of retail store, as often as not you can check yourself out at the register, order from a kiosk if the product you’re looking for isn’t in store and walk out, purchase sourced and completed, without ever talking to a single person.
But this increasingly rapid integration of technology into the customer service experience does not portend the death of customer service, not at all. Aaron Pirner, CEO of CAP Carpet in Wichita, Kan., is bringing a whole new approach to “customer centricity” through and with – not in spite of – technology.
“We know we can work closer with our customers and offer better quality if we practice higher and better use through technology,” Pirner said.
CAP Carpet’s goal is to create and continually improve a technology-fueled environment that revolves around better quality for the customer, Pirner said. Every action and activity at CAP Carpet is performed to help improve the visitor’s experience, transform the visitor into a loyal/returning customer and, when the customer is heading out the door, to be sure he or she is leaving with exactly what they want.
“I would say that, on a scale from 1 to 10, from an industry peer perspective we are a 10,” Pirner said regarding how up-to-date his company is compared to the industry. “I think that most companies are very product-centric, and they lose track of the customer. Technology is a functional piece of the business that allows you to focus on the customer. It helps reduce mistakes, you can provide honest answers and in real time.”
A long-standing RFMS company, CAP Carpet has fully integrated the software into business operations, utilizing it to its full potential. The company has an eye on what Pirner describes as “perpetual inventory” to make for better, more effective interactions with customers; for example, personnel can check a warehouse halfway across the country for a particular product, see if it is in stock and be assured the information is correct.
“You’ve got to be able to deliver on your brand promise and do what you say you’re going to do,” Pirner said. “Making sure you have it, you have enough of it, and that it’s on time. This protects you and the customer as well.”
For some people, technology is a strange world, one to be entered into with caution and, too often, trepidation. Pirner remembers exactly how his company flipped the switch : “We were a bad RFMS user back in the 80’s, and we had some problems. Terry Wheat came out and spent some time with us to help us clean up those problems. And he helped us move forward, learn what we needed to do and execute,” Pirner said. “We couldn’t have done it without the great people we’ve got. Getting help and gaining insight into how to properly use technology can be a great investment and create a great ROI.”
Looking forward, CAP Carpet is beginning to test new interactive platforms and services, such as touch screen technology, that continue to improve the customer-service experience, keeping customers positioned as the main driver for moving their business forward.
Personally, I am excited to see what Pirner has in store, and what CAP Carpet will be doing to stay ahead in the industry. It is very important today for companies to be integrated with systems that can keep their business running smoothly, efficiently and effectively. If you or someone you know is using technology to take their floor covering business to a whole new level of success and want to share your storey, email me at email@example.com.
As the editor of TalkFloor and associate editor for FTand FCI, Lauren Forshee keeps readers up-to-date and informed on the latest happenings in the industry.