In the dynamic landscape of modern office spaces, the key to success lies in understanding each client’s unique needs and challenges. This case study explores how we collaborated with a long-term client, focusing on how we partnered to craft innovative furniture solutions for their multi-site offices.
From implementing a unique scoring process to continuously striving for higher standards, our partnership exemplifies the power of trust and a mutual commitment to excellence. Dive into how we worked hand-in-hand, transforming feedback into innovation, and discover how it helped our teams set a new standard for excellence.
Table of Contents
Discovering the Client’s Needs
Our work with this world-class client presented unique opportunities and challenges. When we first engaged with them, they were immersed in various projects that needed completion. They were choosing between four competitors bidding on the same projects. We saw a playing field filled with choices, yet we felt a strong connection and saw an opening where we could make a significant difference.
It wasn’t an instant win but a gradual success story. We would bid on each project, winning here and there, whether it was ancillary, systems, or seating. But over time, our consistent performance, strong partnership with our furniture manufacturer Haworth, Inc., and our reputation began to shine. The field of competitors narrowed, and we found ourselves with more opportunities.
This client was complex, but complexity for us never means difficulty; it’s a signal that we can address an intricate web of needs. Our extensive experience with large Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 organizations positioned us perfectly for this challenge. With the client’s myriad needs and our expertise in innovative furniture solutions, we knew we were embarking on a transformative journey beyond furniture to create a space that resonated with their identity and needs.
How We Crafted a Solution for the Client
Crafting a solution that resonates with a client’s intricate needs requires a multifaceted approach. We’ve honed this approach by emphasizing key strategies that ensured success for this client.
Creating “Swim Lanes”
Swim lanes are more than just a metaphor for us; they represent a way to visualize our entire process. Understanding every project stage is essential, so we spent significant time doing “swim lessons.” We meticulously mapped out every scenario, from engagement to completion.
Why this emphasis on swim lanes? They help us understand the project’s parameters and clearly define what success looks like. By marking out these lanes, we left no ambiguity in our process. We could sit down with the client at the end of the project and verify whether we met our targets.
Crafting a Collaboration Process
Our collaboration process isn’t about imposing our ideas on the client but about building solutions together. It’s about learning the client’s “love language,” whether that means being more whiteboard intensive or jotting down ideas on napkins. Our process is agile and adaptable, and we ensure we are always in sync with the client’s preferences.
We also learned about our client’s preferred method of collaborating through the process of defining success. We adjusted our approach to suit their style, and this emphasis on adaptability became a cornerstone of our collaboration process.
Providing a Dedicated Team
One of the critical solutions was our commitment to consistency and adaptability through a dedicated team. From a core team of three, growing to as many as eight depending on the client’s activity, we ensured that there was always a single point of contact. This approach allowed us to stay nimble, responding to the client’s business needs as they changed.
By having a team there daily, ready to grow and contract as needed, we could respond to any surprise or shift in the process. This single point of contact allowed us to move smoothly, adjusting even for construction delays or other unforeseen obstacles.
Our approach to problem-solving is a blend of systematic planning and innovative adaptability. Through strategies such as creating swim lanes, crafting a collaboration process, and maintaining a dedicated team, we were able to offer a customized, responsive solution for the client.
Obstacles Encountered & How They Were Overcome
Staying accountable, understanding the client’s needs, and delivering the best results are paramount. We always want to meet our client’s unique needs regardless of obstacles. With this particular client, we needed to address the following areas.
Maintaining Consistent Transparency
This wasn’t a walk in the park. Our client expected the best from us and had a keen eye for detail. When something didn’t go as planned, hiding wasn’t an option. We had to face it, deal with it, and make them aware immediately.
We were often accused of communicating too much, but we saw it as a strength rather than a weakness. The transparency we maintained fostered trust, and that trust paid off in the long run. If over-communication was our worst fault, we could live with it because it kept everyone on the same page, nurturing a shared commitment to success.
Understanding Their Needs
Understanding our client’s needs took us on a journey that lasted four months. It wasn’t merely about asking what they wanted but about immersing ourselves in their world, constantly meeting, listening, absorbing their concerns, and building a robust support team.
The time and effort spent were more than an investment. But the more we understood, the better we aligned our strategies and found like-minded professionals to provide top-notch service. It’s one thing to say we understand our client’s needs; it’s another to demonstrate it through action.
Building a Team Aligned with Their Values
When you’re interviewing hundreds of candidates, the task can seem daunting. But it becomes a mission when you aim to find individuals who share your passion for customer service.
Our first hires were four individuals who embodied what we were looking for. They were more than skilled; they were committed to making our product shine in the eyes of the client. They were the cornerstone of a team that would exceed expectations. And it all began with recognizing the importance of connecting service with the beauty of our product
Ensuring We Hit Our KPIs
Navigating a project’s complexities requires a clear roadmap. Our “swim lanes” approach was instrumental in keeping us on track. It was a visual representation of success, a guide we could follow, knowing that deviations were possible but not impossible.
KPIs kept the entire team accountable every step of the way. It was not a post-project assessment but an ongoing evaluation that kept us focused and aligned. It reassured us that we were on the right path or a nudge to steer us back when we strayed.
Measuring Success & Client Happiness
One thing we’ve learned in a decade of working with this particular client is that accountability and a strong desire to exceed expectations can lead to outstanding results.
The client uses a scoring card with ratings ranging from one, indicating the lowest score, to five, representing the highest score. For years, we found ourselves in a solid grasp of the number four, a score that, while respectable, was always a little shy of perfect. We thought we were doing an excellent job, as evidenced by the purchase orders flowing our way, but the client kept giving us fours. We were disappointed; we knew we were doing the right thing but wanted to earn the highest score.
So, we asked, “How do we get a five?” The answer? They don’t give fives. That was a sobering realization. But it wasn’t about numbers; it was about developing relationships and trust. Fast forward six, seven years of relentless pursuit, and now we are getting fives.
But then, an itch started. Now we’re asking ourselves, “How do we get to six even though it doesn’t exist?” We wanted to do better because achieving great results is not the finish line; it’s a checkpoint. Staying there with them, supporting them, and growing together became the new goals.
We work with brilliant people on the client side and must work at a high level to prove ourselves. Over the years, we’ve outlasted some of our competition, getting the bulk of the business, including the recent awarding of 25,000 stands, 25,000 chairs, conference rooms, and ancillary products.
Our team has grown, with specialists coming on board to ensure we deliver stellar results and meet our set standards. Constant feedback from the client has been our guidepost, with touchpoints that are not daily but more on an hourly basis and formal reviews every quarter.
It’s the ability to grow a team, to support their business in a way that reflects our commitment to them. We have a group of people that wake up daily for one sole purpose: to look after them and care for their business. That’s our score of six in a world where it doesn’t exist. That’s doing better and being better.
Building Strong Relationships That Grow
One cornerstone defining the success at FMG is more than just the products we offer; it’s our culture of unity and deep commitment to client care. The emphasis we place on relationships transcends the mere act of selling furniture. It’s about how we relate, grow together, and become a part of our client’s journey in creating complex and innovative office spaces.
We’re not merely providers; we’re partners. We engage in the intricacies of our clients’ needs, understanding their problems and crafting tailored solutions that speak to the core of what they want to achieve. We look beyond the physicality of the furniture and see the spaces, the people, and the dreams they represent.
But what has marked one of our organization’s most fulfilling achievements is the synergy that permeates our teams across the country. Each member is aligned with our mission of caring for our clients and lives and breathes it. There’s no shying away from responsibility, no passing the buck; everybody’s on board, rowing in the same direction. It’s more than collaboration; it’s a shared vision, a unified heartbeat that pulsates through every single one of our offices. And it’s not static; it grows, evolves, and adapts to the ever-changing needs of our clients, making it one of our proudest accomplishments.
This synchrony is what builds strong relationships. It’s not a transaction; it’s a connection, a rapport forged through understanding, trust, and a genuine desire to help. As we align our goals with our clients, we create a mutual growth path where success is a shared destination, not a solitary pursuit.
Let’s Build a Partnership Together
Ready to transform your office space with more than just furniture? We offer a partnership that extends beyond the conventional. Our commitment is to understand, innovate, and collaborate with you to create solutions tailored to your unique needs. Contact us today to find out how we can row in the same direction, building a solid relationship that grows and evolves with your business.
About FMG & WAVE
FMG is more than just a furniture provider; it’s a partner in designing and implementing comprehensive workplace solutions. As a Haworth Preferred Dealer, FMG has a unique partnership with Haworth Inc., a global leader in the design and manufacturing of office furniture, including moveable walls, systems furniture, seating, storage, and more.
FMG’s commitment goes beyond providing world-class furniture and architectural products. The very essence of our company is founded on values that place customers at the heart of everything they do, treating them like family and building trust through exceptional service.
From inception to completion, FMG handles each project with a tailored approach. Our WAVE division is a standout example of innovative solutions, delivering intellectual and physical workplace strategies globally. With a team of expert designers and an unparalleled commitment to client service, WAVE ensures success regardless of project size or complexity, saving clients time, resources, and money.
At FMG, the culture is not simply a statement but the organization’s lifeblood. Our dedication to empowering employees and providing world-class workspace solutions reflects a holistic approach beyond furniture, focusing on building solid relationships and trust with clients. With FMG, you’re not just buying furniture but investing in a partnership that understands your needs and is committed to your success.