We need to join together

Natalie Peters, designer at Kitchens Etc, North Creake, talks about how her experience on the Foundation Kitchen Design Degree course has helped her think differently about her relationships with suppliers and customers. 


During my time on the Foundation Kitchen Design Degree course, we were taught to build strong relationships with our peers and our tutors, to abolish the thinking that we were on our journey alone and encourage us to join together and collaborate, to learn from and support each other.

We were encouraged to share our ideas and welcome feedback in order to open ourselves up to a new way of thinking and, ultimately, be more creative. It was an enlightening experience that has set me in good stead for building better, stronger relationships with our clients, sup–pliers and installers.

With clients, relationships matter from the moment they make first contact with you. As a retailer, you have a small but vital window of opportunity to form a relationship by building trust and rapport.

It is fundamental for the design process to have a great working relationship with the client, built on communication, trust, honesty and collaboration, to achieve exactly what the client needs and desires.

This relationship continues long after the installation, looking after the client and continuing the good relationship during aftersales is also imperative.

We have clients contacting us from 25-plus years ago for help and support and we pride ourselves on this aftersales and continuation of our good and strong relationship with them, which in turn is why most of our orders come from repeat business
and/or referrals.

Solid working relationships with suppliers are also fundamental to the success of a retail business. If these are strong, built on transparency and trust, then communication about important aspects like stock issues or new product launches – which is key to a smooth retail operation – will be good.

Sales reps – as the main point of contact between retailer and brand – are really key to tying these relationships together.

I am thankful to work with such great representatives of the many companies we deal with, all of whom are only a phone call away for help and support, which really does make a huge difference.

Building strong relationships with installers is also vital to ensuring that the job runs as smoothly as possible and that you reach your end goal – a happy customer who will recommend your business to friends and family.

Good strong relationships help us all in every part of life and every single person we meet can teach us something, if we are open-minded and receptive enough to listen and learn.

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