The Fix Is In
 

Faulty sockets and broken wires are big business at The Lamp & Shade Fair in Orlando, FL. “About one-third of our revenue is from repairs, which often lead to other sales,” says Ralph Waters, the showroom’s Treasurer. “People will come in to get something fixed and walk out with a new lamp shade. Or else they’ll come in to find a shade, and we can point out something that needs to be fixed on their lamp.”



    Such customer service is so integral to the business philosophy at Hartford and Southington, CT’s Connecticut Lighting Centers that when a local lamp shade repair busi-ness closed its doors a year and a half ago, Connecticut Lighting jumped to fill the void, opening in Hartford the 3,500-square-foot Restoration Lighting Gallery, which also sells antique and one-of-a-kind lighting. Owner David Director says once people visit the space and see a few revitalized lamps, they’ll dig a tired, old fixture out of their basement and bring it in. What’s more, Restoration’s extensive menu of services—from matching and replacing antique glass to refinishing brass fixtures with other metals—has already helped boost sales at Connecticut Lighting.
Restoration and Repair Manager Paul Dalfino
Under the able direction of Restoration and Repair Manager Paul Dalfino (pictured here working on a Tiffany shade), Hartford and Southington, CT’s Connecticut Lighting Centers locations have always offered repair services.

    “There’s definitely a synergy between the two spaces,” Director says. “We’re customizing new fixtures. We can shorten a pendant or change a piece of glass pretty easily.”



    Even small-scale repairs can reap big benefits. Consti-tuting less than five percent of the business at Des Moines, IA’s Albright Lighting & Interiors, tune-ups still “increase [other] sales because customers know we stand behind what we sell,” says showroom manager Janet Albright.



    Offering repair services also helps quickly weed out lower-quality products. “If customers are bringing in the same fixtures for new sockets over and over, we know the product isn’t well-made and stop carrying it,” Waters says.



     With so many fixtures coming from overseas and more manufacturers using unique, proprietary elements, it can be difficult to track down replacement parts. Though Waters stocks the basics, he’s frustrated by the increasing number of parts he has to special order or fashion himself.



    Nevertheless, repair services certainly pad your bottom line, and they also offer a great way to get to know customers. “We’ve been really impressed with the emotional connection we’ve [built],” Director says. “They’re so happy that you can bring to life the lamp that was in their grandmother’s living room. People have called us gushing.”


 
Don’t want to store all the cords and switches required for repairs? Cleaning or polishing services are another great way to keep customers coming back.
• Many showrooms require customers to bring in delicate fixtures to avoid the liability of potential breakages during showroom-sponsored transport or in-home cleanings.

• If you do send a cleaning crew to work inside a customer’s home, your business and all crew members must be properly

bonded and insured.

• No matter the customer benefits you offer, a clear-cut guarantee, like a one-year warranty on all parts and services, is a must.


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