SCHAUMBURG, IL – Closet and organization professionals have to be willing to bend over backwards to satisfy their customers these days, said two speakers presenting during the opening keynote session of the 5th annual Closets & Home Organization Conference & Expo.

“Leaving no stone unturned is critical in this economy,” said Diana Augspurger, owner of Creative Storage Systems of Buffalo, NY, to an attentive audience of professional organizers. Augspurger, who is the reigning president of the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals, said attention to customer service is fundamental to weathering the economic storm.

Augspurger said, “your powers as a leader” are being tested now more than ever. She said it is important to make sure every employee is aware of the need to service customers. For example, she said it might be wise to “position your team to execute one-day installs.”

Jim Mathis, president of the Mathis Group, took Augspurger’s example one step further. He recommended that rather than tell a customer “we can install your closet in one day,” tell them “you can hang up your clothes tonight.” Mathis said this distinction would not only convey to the customer that the install will be quick, but that it will be complete and void of any extra cleanup.

Mathis also focused on the “need to get into the business of selling what people want to buy. People don’t buy a product they buy what the product will do for them. If you can determine what your customers want that you aren’t supplying, then you can own a market.”

Mathis seemed to echo Augspurger’s remarks that this is no time for complacency. “Every recession changes life as we know it. Don’t expect that things will return to normal after this passes. This is the time to reevaluate and reinvent your business.”

Rich Christianson, associate publisher of CLOSETS, opened up the keynote session, noting that while business is down, things will get better. “It’s not a matter of if that will happen, just when.”

Christianson quoted former Notre Dame football coach Lou Hotlz, who spoke at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas. “Holtz said, ‘Housing is not a fad.' I’ll take Holtz’s observation one step further. Not only is housing not a fad, neither is closet, garage and home organization. The products your companies design, assemble and install are becoming a staple of modern living – and there’s still a heckuva lot of room to grow!”

Jim Mathis, president of the Mathis Group, was one opening day speaker that encouraged an emphasis on customer service.

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