During this unprecedented time it is no longer possible to meet with clients face to face, so Design Insider spoke with our BCFA members to find the new ways in which they are keeping in touch.
Fameed Khalique, Managing Director, Fameed Khalique
We are trying to work as normally as possible given the current situation, so although our showroom is currently closed, our team are in close contact with one another and we are having virtual meetings with our clients. Communication is key at this critical times and we are fortunate to have access to programs like Skype, FaceTime and Zoom that make it possible for us all to stay in touch. We are having virtual planning meetings, where clients are sharing mood boards with us, we are then able to respond with ideas virtually, and once selections are made we are able to send out various surfaces samples to designers home addresses. We have access to imagery, samples and any information our clients may need from every category of material, from fabrics to wallpapers, precious stone to resin or inlaid flooring, allowing us to assist with every element of a project, a position that is quite unique and certainly beneficial to clients, meaning they can communicate with just one person to source and scheming for a project.
Jade Webster, Inside Out Contracts
In a time we are forced to stay apart, we are even more thankful for our well connected world. As a team we are discovering new ways in which to collaborate and deliver the best service to our clients; luckily as our team is already spread between our London and Berlin office this isn’t completely new to us. Beyond the normal emails and calls we have found Facetiming, Skype and Zoom meetings have been ideal for both checking in with clients as well as working on new and existing projects.
While our Showroom remains closed we have been making the most of our image and video archive of both furniture and finish samples. While we all wish we had a access to our complete library we are still able to arrange samples to be delivered to clients homes rather than office while we’re all WFH.
Rebecca Hamer, Camira
With our usual ways of working currently on hold, many of us are trying to adapt to this new situation in which we find ourselves – one which doesn’t allow for the physicality so integral to interior design. With the freedom to visit sites, meet clients, collaborate with team members (in person at least) suspended for the time being, at Camira we’re trying to find new, more digital, ways to both inspire and stay inspired!
Our website has a number of great resources for customers – whether they simply want to pin a swatch to a moodboard or upload tileable scans to CAD software, these tools are just a few clicks away and can be a great way to create project schemes without physical samples. However, it can also be tricky to get that creative energy going when you’re surrounded by the same four walls! Our A&D Consultant, Sarah-Louise Dixon explains how she’s managing to stay inspired whilst remote working:
‘At times like this, wellbeing is the priority. Staying healthy in both body and mind is what we all need to do, and I’m getting my creative juices flowing by creating palettes and moodboards to share with customers on our social platforms. Digitally checking in with one another is so important right now, and simply sharing a lovely colour palette or interior scheme can provide a burst of inspiration – and we all need that positivity right now!’
Mark Catchlove, Director, Herman Miller Insight Group
Like many organisations, we’re keeping a close eye on the developing situation and adjusting the way we work as things unfold. We want you to know that we’re here to help everyone stay connected, focused, and engaged as they work remotely and stay safe during this uncertain time.
We’re delighted to invite you to be part of our Insight Series Online, a series of weekly webinars brought to you by the Herman Miller Insight Group. Every Monday and Wednesday we’ll be sharing insights and research on a variety of well-known Herman Miller topics, as well as some ideas, inspiration, and ergonomic best practices to help you make the best of a WFH experience.
David Osborne, Managing Director, Roman
We have been doing lots of important group email communications via mailchimp; we have been using a variety of video conferencing apps as appropriate to the customer; and of course lots of time on the phone and emails. In short, trying to keep relationships as close as they were and trying to make communication as normal as we can.
Drew Barker, Marketing Officer, Lee & Plumpton
Lee & Plumpton is continuing communication through a range of channels including email mailshots; web site updates and social media. Most importantly, our sales and customer service teams are in regular contact over the phone. Particularly in the current circumstances, one-to-one conversation provides a more personalised service and we are able to offer marketing tools including visuals and space plans, advice regarding delivery arrangements and product availability according to each customer’s particular requirements. Being a British manufacturer, we are less reliant on overseas supply chains so can provide a continuity of service and supply.
Kerry Knight, Head of A&D Business Development, Yarwood Leather
We have two new faux leather’s that have just launched, our products are key to our business, so we are communicating to our clients through digital routes.
The current situation hasn’t made us stop anything we weren’t already going to do. We feel our clients still want normality and to feel we can all work together to keep business as normal as much as we can. Business will continue in one form or another. When some new normality returns, we will still have restaurants, hotels, bars, cruise ships, transport and offices to furnish. To safe lives we just have to put how we were working on hold, but continue in a different way as designers will still want to be stay creative and this may actually excel creativity and change things in a positive way and have a good effect on the environment and our mental health going forward.
We use our Company Website as our first form of communication, it is our digital hub of information. Social media channels, emails and telephone calls allow us to keep in touch with our clients, we have even started to use more personal forms of communication like Whatsapp and video calling apps to keep in touch.
We are finding that when we call our clients this is helping to support them with projects that need to still progress and seeing where we can provide samples firstly by email format PDF then by physical format only if it’s critical. We love how everyone is pulling together to help one another, through story telling we are sharing experiences and by doing this makes it easier to know we are all pulling together in this situation and making us stronger.
As a team we are using “ZOOM” to have a Monday morning meeting which would have been held in the office. This has given our team insight to working from home, it’s great to talk and see each other face to face and gives us our normal work family social interactions. Keep safe everyone and we are here together to help everyone get through this the best way we can.
Tell us how you are keeping in touch with your clients, leave a comment below or tweet us @DesignInsider1