ELKHART, Ind., November 13, 2018 – Great customer experience happens by design, not by accident. The new Hardwoods Speciality Products customer service centers have been designed with that in mind. Hardwoods customer service centers are focused on assisting and improving the customers purchasing process and design decisions by functioning on levels that are not immediately obvious to the casual observer.
Hardwoods Midwest Group General Manager Jason Sencaj shares his philosophy by saying “Each and every interaction forms an impression on customers and vendors that either adds value or weakens our brand. Whether it’s a conversation with any of our staff, the timely provision of technical information or samples, or the condition of an arriving shipment, we are always being evaluated. With that in mind we have created a new customer service center to improve every aspect of our customer’s experience with any Hardwoods employee.” Mr. Sencaj is a 17-year employee of Hardwoods that has risen through the ranks. He oversees the operations of four regional customer service centers in Elkhart, Indiana, Mattoon, Illinois, Grand Rapids, Michigan and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Drawing on his experience he created a showcase facility in Elkhart, Indiana where customers and designers can meet with Hardwoods sales representatives in an environment that surrounds them with a broad assortment of materials, inspirational samples and sales collateral from the finest producers in North America and internationally.
The Elkhart upscale office space functions as a live decorative surfaces show room, with custom furnishings and decor installed in every office, meeting room, and common room, providing a showcase of materials from EchoWood, Egger, Querkus, Michigan red oak and soft maple lumber.
The warehouse utilizes a modern industrial design that is set-up to accommodate the loading of trucks indoors, thereby ensuring the condition of the products and also improving the working conditions for employees. The building features a purpose built space to promote higher levels of productivity to increase the volume of products carried and facilitate speed and safe access to them. An increased number of storage racks accommodate materials for orders that require less than lift quantities. The new facility will also implement a new ERP and CRM program that is being introduced company wide and will further enhance the customer experience.
As a company, Hardwoods believes that staff training is an investment well worth developing. “The more your staff can do, the better it is for your business. Continuous training will make your staff feel valued, as you’re investing in them and their future,” said Aaron Laninga, branch manager of the new Elkhart facility, and a member of the team that designed the 36-seat-training hall in the new customer service center. “Employees will learn new skills, helping them feel more confident in the workplace. This boosts staff morale and loyalty, which makes for a happier working environment. The role of the frontline employee is changing and they increasingly need to be better trained and better prepared to play a more strategic role.” Over 15 years ago Hardwoods created their first in-depth training programs today this has evolved into three programs: Consultative Selling Skills, Composite Panel and Hardwood Lumber product knowledge courses…all designed to ensure the best possible customer experience.
Hardwoods recently held an open house to celebrate the grand opening of its Elkhart, Indiana 135,000-square-foot customer service center. Over 200 customers and business associates attended the event that included a tour the modern new building and décor centered offices, they enjoy an award winning BBQ lunch, and took home an assortment of gifts in appreciation. Customers were able to inspect the new Dragon Ply 2.0, see the new Shinnoki and Querkus veneer panels from Belgium, touch the exciting new Egger TLF Panels from Europe, not to mention the vast inventories of domestic and imported lumber.