Woodworkers: Go the Extra Mile Without Being Asked
March 26, 2013 | 10:25 am CDT
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Woodworkers: Go the Extra Mile Without Being AskedMonths ago we worked on a kitchen remodeling job with a home builder for whom we have done quite a bit of work for over the past couple of years. The kitchen remodel was straight forward and the construction and installation went well, except for one minor hiccup.

The client had an existing pantry-type built-in on one wall of her kitchen. It was simply a framed-in sheetrock opening with fixed shelves, a face frame, and six doors which divided the area into four separate storage areas. Since the kitchen was being gutted, the old oak face-frame and doors were going to be removed and replaced with cherry to match the rest of the kitchen. The interior shelving and walls were going to be left in place and painted.

We built the new face-frame and all the doors exactly the same size as the originals, and everything went in and worked perfectly, except for one minor issue. In the bottom left corner of the pantry, there were two existing pull-out trays which were now hitting the edge of the doors and were unable to slide out. The reason this was happening was because we switched out the original face mounted butt hinges to a 1/2″ overlay euro face-frame hinge. The doors now stayed proud of the inside of the face frame and the lowest set of hinges, installed on the inside of the face-frame, were interfering with the operation of the pull-outs.

There are so many details to pay attention to, and to anticipate, especially with a kitchen remodel, that sometimes some things just slip past. The issue of the non-functioning pull-outs was definitely not the homeowner’s fault, it was not the remodeler’s fault, but I also felt like it wasn’t entirely our fault either. We were trying to use existing parts of the original kitchen, to save the homeowner money where possible, and as a result, some items don’t make the transition very well.

It was also one of those moments where a group of people were looking at you for the answer, not in a day or so after you have had time to mull it over and weigh the pros and cons, but right now. My answer to most problems, especially any that the client is privy to, is to correct the error first and then discuss the details, and who is responsible to pay for it.

In this case, we replaced the old pull-outs with two new ones that matched the rest of the new drawers and pull-outs in the kitchen, which were a huge upgrade from the originals, for free. There are times when customer service must rule the day, and this was an example of that. The homeowner was elated with the new pull-outs, since she was not expecting new ones in the pantry, and the home builder, who was not aware of this issue until after it was resolved, thanked us for fixing the problem so quickly and was pleasantly surprised we upgraded the pull-outs to match, rather than just trying to modify the originals.

The moral of the story for me was that, as the cabinet maker, pretty much any issue related to the cabinetry is my responsibility: foreseen or not. Also, when mistakes are made, simply fixing them is the bare minimum. This time going just a bit further, and upgrading the hardware, made all the difference in the world.

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