Maybe the most important decision you make when selecting a manufacturer revolves around good customer service. It is a part of everyone’s success. You don’t want a manufacturer that sees their customer service department only as order processors.
There is nothing more frustrating than when customer service throws your design or specification challenge back at you. You want them to see through and around your order details. And confidently give you solutions.
For example, they should know how to integrate appliances better than you do (or at least as well). Why? Because they do it every day. They know from their success. And they know from working with their designers
Ideally, the specials department and/or shop engineer support customer service with the more challenging “one of a kind” pieces. Not just specifying and building it, but making those small proportion adjustments that really make it look great.
These two groups working together make for a really great customer service experience. And are a crucial part of your success in your community.
How to best observe this in action? Before making a commitment to display or buy samples, visit the manufacturer. If you are dealing with a manufacturer in your region, take the day and go visit the factory.
If a flight is necessary, and you have done all the rest of your homework, ask your rep if the company will pay for a flight. Or reimburse for a flight once you have established an account.
I sell for a company in Illinois that trusts me to make the decision about paying for flight. And is more than happy to do it. And I routinely have designers take a day to visit the Pennsylvania manufacturer I represent.
A visit can save you from the wrong decision. And give you the confidence of having made the right one.