This week we talked to Chris Durnford, the manager of our West London showroom, the longest established of London Stone’s three showrooms. He joined London Stone nine month ago as a sales adviser and was promoted to branch manager in May. With four in the showroom, this branch has the largest team with a thriving customer base of landscapers, contractors and designers.
Giving customers who visit or phone the showroom the best service is central to Chris’s role. He makes sure that the expansive outdoor display of paving slabs is kept clean, tidy and in perfect condition to show each type of stone off to its best. The display includes a stunning water feature which needs attending to from time to time.
Chris is not only responsible for the outdoor displays but dealing with the ordering and finance systems, answering customers’ questions and training staff. During the week most of the customers are from the trade. Chris and his team show new customers around the displays and provide them with our brochure, samples and laying patterns. He has seen a trend towards more contemporary patio ideas; for example, a single size of sandstone paving laid in brick bond style. The layout of the showroom, shown below, includes examples of the popular Indian sandstone paving, demonstrating the beauty and uniqueness of each colour as well as granite paving &setts, limestone, sandstone, Yorkstone, travertine, and Portland stone, to name but a few.
Retail customers generally visit the showroom on Saturdays. They may order their selected patio slabs directly, buy sample paving slabs or co-ordinate with their landscaper, builder or designer who will place the order by phone or in person. For customers looking for a contractor or designer, the sales advisers can refer them to the register which is on the website. Chris sees this new register of landscapers and designers as being of real benefit to the customer looking for professional hard landscaping advice, design and build.
The team have recently visited the new East London showroom in Brentwood. They have also had training at the main Depot, where the stocks of stone are held, and at the Bespoke Stone Centre, where the stone is cut to order and products, such as coping stones and step treads, are profiled. As manager, Chris deals with allocating rotas, holidays and other staff admin as well as giving feedback to the management team.
When it comes to marketing the full range of paving slabs, coping stones and steps, Chris refers customers to our comprehensive brochure, website and social media, and our very popular sample boxes. He sees these samples as particularly useful for the range of indian sandstone patio slabs where colour selection is so important. He impresses on customers that new stone, which can look bright, weathers to more muted tones which can be seen in the displays. Why not take a look here at our range of sandstone paving?
When asked what he enjoys most about working for London Stone, Chris replied “dealing with different people every day” and in the spring and summer, “being outdoors for most of the day”. He puts giving excellent customer service as top of his list of priorities. So, if you are in the area, do stop by and see what Chris and his team have on offer. You can find the West London showroom at Vermeulen's Garden Centre, Horton Road, Stanwell Moor, Middlesex TW19 6AE.