12 customer service ideas that work: WOOD 100 Strategies for Success
October 6, 2020 | 12:04 pm CDT

Now more than ever, wood products manufacturers must work faster and smarter than their competitors while providing customer service, quality and added-value to the wood products. What follows are some of the methods put in place by the 2020 WOOD 100 class, which includes cabinet manufacturers, closet and home organization providers, architectural woodworkers, commercial casework, wood component manufacturers, and more.

Now in its 31st year, the WOOD 100: Strategies for Success highlights the innovative as well as tried-and-true initiatives put in place by 100 North American wood products manufacturers to grow their businesses. Here's what some of them had to say about their customer service strategies:

Wood Specialties Inc., Omaha, NE —  A manufacturer of high-end custom cabinetry and furniture, the firm services clients in the Midwest, and also ships furniture throughout the country.

Cameron Young, owner & vice president, attributes the company’s success to its “attention to detail and pursuit of perfection while creating the most positive experience possible for our clients,” he said. “We push the limits on our drawings and 3D modeling to bring the project to life before any product has been made. From 3D walkthrough presentations to full VR headset walk through tours we leave nothing to chance and the client knows exactly what they will be getting.”

The company also invested in technology, including a new Biesse Rover S CNC machining center. A new edgebander is also in the plans.

The Closet Works Inc., Montgomeryville, PA —  Crediting customer  service for the company’s success, President David Cutler added, “I am a firm believer in the adage that states ‘he who fails to plan, plans to fail.’”

The home organization firm plans for immediate, 12-month and long-term needs, while allowing for new trends, technology, materials, and products. “Being a smaller operation enables us to react much more quickly than companies that have more cumbersome corporate structures and infrastructures. Once we hit on an item to address, we can go from zero to 60 very quickly.”

“The Closet Works mission is to create excellent solutions to help our customers organize and simplify their lives easily, beautifully and affordably.” Closet systems, organizers, custom cabinets and furniture are provided to clients in 15 states.

More service specialists

Hollywood Cabinets, Shelby Township, MI
Vice President Tony Pacella credits quality control, “our attention to detail and customer service,” for spurring the company’s 10.0% sales growth in 2019. To aid production, the producer of custom kitchen cabinets for the Metro Detroit area plans to purchase a Casadei spiral head planer and Casadei Libra 45 wide belt sander in 2020. 

Pennville Custom Cabinetry, Portland, IN
“Our engineering team goes through our dealers’ orders and make sure they work,” said Mark Goldman, president. “If there is an optical illusion, they will tell them how to correct it.” Pennville produces custom cabinetry, both frame and full access, starting with rough lumber and making every wood component ourselves. “We will make almost anything a customer could dream of.“ Sales grew 25.3%. 

Pacific Store Designs Inc., Garden Grove, CA
The manufacturer of store fixtures, check out counters and specialty retail displays credits customer service, along with the ability to provide “unique, one-stop shopping designs, build and install,” for its success, said Christian Miller, president. The company also optimized its production process and saved labor costs by standardizing the material thickness for building counter edges.

Diversified Wood Products, Jeffersonville, IN
The provider of veneered architectural panels, blueprint matched veneers, custom aircraft veneer interiors, as well as sheet stock is focused on “providing our customers high-end veneer projects, on time and within budget,” said Tim Griffin, president.

Jayakas Inc., High Point, NC
Sales grew 14.3% in 2019 for this provider of wood and metal components to the furniture and cabinet industries. President Jason Cheng credited the company’s “competitiveness and quick turnaround” for much of the success, and said 2020 and 2021 sales also project to be positive.

Coppes Napanee, Nappanee, IN
“We worked closely with our customers, asking for constructive feedback that allows us to make a  smoother process for working with us. We also work closely with our installers as part of quality control,” said Wesley Mast, CEO.  “We experiment with many ideas to make sure we are continually growing to the next level.” At 144 years old, the semi-custom cabinetry shop is the oldest continuously operating cabinetmaker in America. 2019 sales grew 7.8%.

Kitchens and Closets by DEA, Tempe, AZ
Sales at the cabinetry and closets firm rose 9.3% in 2019. “We pay attention to our customers' needs and provide them with amazing products,” said Eric Marshall, senior sales. The company also invested in computer design programs.

Cal Door & Drawer, Morgan Hill, CA
At the cabinet components provider, “we have the same inside person working with the same outside salesperson, so our customers have the same point of contact throughout the entire process,” said Edward Rossi, CEO. “We also have over 10,000 customers throughout the U.S. and deliver on our own trucks in California’s Nevada & Arizona.” The company also recently installed a multi-million dollar Homag flexLine and panel processing line for zero-edge banded doors, and a Mereen-Johnson high yield rip line.

Houtman LLC, Sun Valley, CA
“We closely work with clients to achieve their vision,” said Ronald Wright, owner of the high-end custom cabinetry and furniture firm. The strategy is successful, as shown by a 21.4% sales growth in 2019.

Premium Woods LLC, Lincoln, NE
Sales for the commercial casework and tops manufacturer grew 16.8% in 2019, and President Bob Long projects positive results for 2020 and 2021. Inherent in its customer service strategy is “being proactive,” he said. The firm also added a JLT drawer clamp to aid production.

Read more 2020 WOOD 100: Strategies for Success

Marketing Initiatives

Business Strategies

Productivity Enhancements

Technology Integration

Product Innovations

Customer Service

Return to WOOD 100 main page

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About the author
Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at [email protected]