Monday, July 23, 2007

Future of Home Improvement? Better Service

Service is the key to future success in the home improvement business, according to a new study from the Home Improvement Research Institute and Yankelovich. Some 86% of consumers polled say that the prices they pay now should entitle them to the highest level of customer service, and 67% say they will walk out on a store giving them bad service, even if that store has exactly what they are looking for.This indicates that salespeople should reposition themselves as “personal shoppers,” offering easy-to-use, time-saving tools to help homeowners plan and complete their home improvement projects. The survey suggests that after-purchase, personalized support is an opportunity for future business.
Households are rapidly changing. In 1970, just 23% of all U.S. households were single family or one-person households, but by 2004 that number had risen to 35%. By way of contrast, married households with kids made up 40% of the total in 1970 but just 23% in 2004. During that span, the number of U.S. households nearly doubled, from 63 million in 1970 to 112 million in 2004.
The study suggest that kitchen and bath dealers should look to single women as a huge source of growth, empowering them to get their projects done.
And the way to empower them is to give them greater confidence and supply information on demand.
In 2004, 59% of consumers said they felt overwhelmed by the amount of information on home improvement that was available; today, just 47% feel that way. Some 74% say they always know how to find the information they need, but 62% say they hate the work involved in getting that information.

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