The door kept slamming and the walkie-talkie broke the normal quiet of a hotel room at 11 p.m. My room neighbored a staff workroom used day and nights as they went about their business. When I called to inquire about moving rooms, they told me: 1) The staff had to work (my response—I understand and respect that, but I’d like to be able to sleep); 2) The hotel was booked tonight (my response—OK, but how about the next two nights of my stay?; and 3) They couldn’t offer any other rooms to me for the remainder of my stay until they saw what reservations came in overnight (My response, combined with some choice words—Don’t existing guests get consideration over new reservations?).

I spent five minutes packing my bags, five minutes educating them on the finer details of customer service, and five minutes walking to a new hotel.

Customer service was my first lesson at NARI’s recently concluded Spring Business Meeting in New Orleans, but it wasn’t my last. Sessions ranged from government regulations (think EPA and OSHA), to growing our next crop of lead carpenters, to technologies that help my business. attracts homeowners considering renovations, so my interest was piqued as I listened to one of their executives share best practices on maximizing their powerful site. Among her revelations:

  • Storage ideas represent 10 of the 20 most popular images on the site.
  • The younger the consumer, the more modern their taste
  •  The most popular kitchen images are neutral tones
  • The most popular master bath images offer bountiful light (skylights, pendants, etc.) and just showers (at the expense of the tub)
  • Personality is key—Respond to reviews (good or bad), participate in their “Ask the Expert” segments, and use a picture of you (rather than your company logo) in your company profile.

Like all of the amazing meals I enjoyed in New Orleans, it will take time to digest all of the actionable business insights from the NARI meetings.  But customer service, opportunities for growth, and the gracious hearts of fellow remodelers were reinforced in spades.