Lenny Kharitonov likes to tell the story about the “very sophisticated system” he used for tracking customers when he first started selling furniture. It involved index cards.
Kharitonov, who’s in New York City, still sells furniture – Unlimited Furniture Group’s clients include celebrities and professional athletes – but his method for creating and tracking sales leads has advanced considerably. Kharitonov developed and now markets Greenboard, a software system that automatically generates leads for furniture retailers from phone calls, emails and other digital consumer contact points.
Greenboard, a Home Furnishings Association solution partner, gives store owners and sales managers insight into, not just the customers who shop their store, but also how their salespeople are performing.
“It really gives you a good view on how your business is reacting and interacting with customers when they make contact with your store,” says Kharitonov, who is a member of HFA’s Board of Directors.
When a shopper emails a retailer’s store or e-commerce site, Greenboard automatically creates a customer profile. With caller ID integration, when a customer calls a store, Greenboard searches its database for an existing customer profile. If one exists, the pertinent information – name, salesperson who has worked with the customer’s financial information – shows up on a screen and is routed to the right salesperson. If a profile doesn’t exist, Greenboard creates one. Walk-in traffic can also be recorded by a sales associate – either in an existing profile or one that is easily created on the spot.
Much better close ratio
What’s the importance of grabbing that information up front? A lot, says Kharitonov. The typical close ratio for a furniture store is anywhere from 22 percent to 30 percent, he says. By re-engaging with customers a second or third time through Greenboard, Kharitonov says that ratio can jump to as high as 70 percent.
“You can’t measure what it means to a customer when they get a call from your store to let them know you’re thinking of them,” he says. “Sometimes a customer leaves (a store) and gets caught up in other things even though they really are serious about making a furniture purchase. Greenboard keeps your sales associates and your store in front of them and lets them know you are serious, too.”
When a customer returns to a store, Greenboard has all his or her information stored, including what products he or she was looking for with fabrics and finishes. “If the sales associate who first helped them isn’t in that day, there’s no catching up to speed, no confusion for the next associate who will be helping them,” says Kharitonov. “That makes for a better customer experience.”
For more information about how Greenboard can help your store improve its close ratio and customer experience, contact an HFA membership specialist at 800-422-3778.
Robert Bell is author of the HFA’s Shop Talk blog.