In May, we were thrilled to announce KF Kitchens as the winners of our prestigious Studio Partner of the Year award in recognition of their fantastic, dedicated and knowledgeable team, as well as their continuous commitment to the Ideas for Living philosophy – offering their customers honesty, patience and guidance throughout the kitchen buying process Dedicated to creating amazing living spaces, the KF Kitchens team have a combined experience of 65 years and pride themselves on delivering functional wow factor. In this Studio Partner Spotlight, we get to know the team and understand how this Plymouth-based business has achieved it’s award winning status.
1. A huge Congratulations on winning our most coveted award – Studio Partner of the Year at this year’s Studio Partner Awards. What do you think were the key factors that helped you win this award and what does winning mean to you?
Unique Customer Experience
Many thanks! We are very proud to have won the award, especially as we were up against some very strong competition! To be recognised nationally for what we do locally is something that we are very proud of. Häfele felt that we deserved this award for our “fantastic, dedicated and knowledgeable team”. We pride ourselves on our commitment to customer experience and believe this is what makes us unique and we are honoured to have been recognised for it.
2. And it sounds like you’ve had more to celebrate since – congratulations on your 10-year anniversary! How did you celebrate? Thank you, it’s certainly been an exciting few months. We hosted a cooking day for both existing and new customers at our showroom. The whole event was a fantastic way to celebrate! We had a stunning cake made by one of our existing customers, Cakes by Kate, and our son sold raffle tickets for his football team, Under 8 Plymstock United, who we sponsor.
3. That sounds great and the photos look fantastic! Will you be holding any other events? We are hosting another cooking day in December with a Christmas theme (of course). This will give our clients, old and new, a chance to see how the appliances work and find the answers to any question they may have. We also hosted a KF Kitchens Golf Event at Celtic Manor for installers, customers and friends in May.
4. What can customers expect when they walk into your showroom and how do you help them prioritise their needs?
Our showroom is where the unique experience starts. Most homeowners we meet are “stuck” or “kitchened-out” as I describe it to them. This is generally because they have started by considering colour of doors, worktops etc and are afraid of getting these decisions wrong. We encourage our customers to rethink this and start by talking to them about the fundamentals of the kitchen. The kitchens we design start with cooking; how you cook, when you cook, where you cook in relation to the room and worktop. We also ensure that customers “future proof” their new kitchen – our kitchens are built to last 20 years, not to be traded in after a few years. We talk to our customers about solutions that will have a positive impact on the way they live now and in the future, such as accessible storage, eye-level cooking, eye-level refrigeration.
5. How do you balance function with style?
Once the fundamentals are secured, we return to colour and interior design options. Kitchens are a balance between practicality, cost and look. Our job is to ensure the right balance is met and allow customers to go on a journey. Once a customer has committed to a kitchen from us we often spend 15 to 20 hours with them considering this balance. I tell customers often, “you’re going to live here, not us” and that is something we are always considerate of. The key, though, is clear information. Transparency allows our customers to make educated choices without fear.
6. What do you pride yourselves on delivering to customers?
We always give customers enough time to ensure they are completely comfortable with their options and feel confident with their choices. We truly get to know our customers, so if we think they are choosing something that is not right for them, we will advise them. This continues to completion; choosing wall colours, floor colours etc. We also ensure that we spend time demonstrating how to use their kitchen most efficiently after installation – how their appliances work, for example.
7. How important is it for you to play a positive part in supporting your local community?
Giving back to the community
We like to sponsor local children’s sporting activities, this has included Signal Box Frankfort AFC Under 11 girls, Plymstock United and Staddon Heights Golf Club Juniors. These sponsorships are a great way for us to get involved with the local community and give something back to the children involved – it’s great to see where our support goes. We will also be hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning in September. There will be a cake sale and we will be raffling off a beautiful cake donated by Cakes by Kate, along with other prizes. We want to raise as much money as possible for this worthy cause.
8. How can a customer trust that you offer the very best service?
Partnerships with brands are incredibly important to us and provide an extra guarantee to our customers. We are proud that international companies such as Häfele choose to be involved with us as part of their Studio Partner network. On a local level we are part of the Trading Standards “buy with confidence” scheme, which actively encourages customers to post online reviews.
Reviews – our customers tell the story
Our website is key. In 2011, we wanted an interactive site which allows the posting of images and reviews- warts and all. We believe we offer the best service available, we can do no more than our best, therefore we are happy for customers to tell their story. Hearing about the KF Kitchens experience from an existing customer helps new customers feel reassured and that they are in safe hands.