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The True Value of a Kitchen, Beyond the Price: Q&A with Adrian Wing, Founder of KCA

A KCA client recently left a 5-star Google review and spoke about the value they received when choosing KCA for their new kitchen. The topic of great value is one that appears in daily conversations between the team at KCA. However, we haven’t yet written about the topic, so in this article we explore how to establish the true value of a kitchen with KCA’s founder and owner Adrian Wing.

A 5-star customer service review for KCA

Adrian, what challenges do homeowners and builders face when determining if a kitchen is good value?

Often, when people approach KCA, they share their experiences with other companies. Through these conversations, we hear an all-too-common story: the sale prices just don’t add up, and the choice is overwhelming. Our clients tell us that they find it challenging to compare companies because of the confusing number of sales discounts running year-round, a growing range of products that vary in quality, and intangible service messages that are difficult to differentiate.

A good value, modern kitchen from KCA

Why is determining good value so difficult?

Any discussion about value starts with price. Price is always a driving factor when carrying out any home renovation. After all, everyone has a budget they are working to. Unfortunately, price is only one part of the equation. While initial discounts are appealing, the best price doesn’t necessarily equate to the best value. Choosing a kitchen company or supplier purely based on price alone will not necessarily ensure you get your new kitchen for the best value.

“The best price doesn’t necessarily equate to the best value.”

Whether you’re a builder or a homeowner, everyone wants to get good value for their budget. The challenge, however, is working out the true value beyond just the price, the hidden costs, the intangibles, and the differences between a cheap price for a cheap product and a competitive price for an excellent product.

What qualities make a kitchen product good value?

Ultimately, quality is about how well a product does its job and meets expectations. Kitchens have to meet multiple expectations, they need to look great, function effortlessly and last for many years if not decades. The quality expected of a kitchen is determined by the property it’s in and the specifications of the build. For instance, a property valued at over £1m demands attributes and finishes that demonstrate quality to increase – rather than detract from – the home’s value. This quality is demonstrated in every detail, from the precision of the joinery to the robust feel of the doors, drawers and components. Beyond the experience of quality, we look at quality as longevity and satisfaction over time. A good quality kitchen will withstand heavy daily use. The finishes won’t easily mark or degrade, resulting in a kitchen that looks great for years after installation; ultimately, offering better value than a fast-fashion kitchen that will show its age.

Dovetail joins on a bespoke shaker drawer by KCA

For example, when purchasing a kitchen from a full-service company, you aren’t just purchasing a product (the physical cabinets, worktops and appliances). You are also purchasing design expertise, service, and peace of mind. The true measure of value lies in the balance between quality, service, utility, and cost. It’s not just about finding the cheapest option but rather identifying the product or service that offers the most benefit for its price.

To determine whether a kitchen is good value, it’s important to consider the following elements: product, design, service and peace of mind.

 

What role does design play in the value of a kitchen?

Design and service are two areas of a kitchen project that are most difficult to quantify. Quotations don’t include an itemised line for either of these elements, yet they are absolutely pivotal in determining the value of a kitchen.

When it comes to design, we know that it is so much more than a functioning kitchen. Good design adds the ‘wow factor’ that makes a space feel special to live in, adding value through the experience it offers. Design is used to reflect the standard of the home it’s installed in, and much like product quality, it should be appropriate to the specification of the home.

Beyond the wow factor, design is about creating a space that works efficiently and comfortably. Good kitchen design unlocks the space’s potential by maximising its features, storage, and functions. For kitchens that will last several decades, design is even more important to create a space that fits the owner’s lifestyle and needs now and offers flexibility and room to grow in the future.

KCA Completed Kitchen KCA Kitchen Design

What is ‘great service’, and how can people better understand the service a company is offering?

During my time in the industry – thirty years of which have been running KCA – I can’t stress the value of service enough. While anyone can undercut the competition on price, it’s the standard of service that sets a company apart. Anyone can lower prices, but delivering great service requires dedication, expertise, and a genuine commitment to customer satisfaction.

But what constitutes great service? It’s a question that both homeowners and builders grapple with when finding a kitchen supplier. Great service ensures a positive, consistent experience for every client, from when they walk through the showroom doors to long after their kitchen is installed. For our clients, great service means they don’t have to worry or chase. It’s service that guides them through the process proactively, raising the next steps and actions required ahead of time. It’s an in-depth knowledge of the process so that potential issues are identified in advance and rectified to minimise delays. It’s a connected team supported by detailed communication software so that everyone in the business has the most up-to-date information about a project, and no detail is missed through miscommunication. It’s excellent communication with trades, so they don’t have to spend their time being the middleman.

Delivering great service requires a holistic approach that encompasses all aspects of a business. From recruitment, training, and product research to process development, design, and aftercare. All of this is only possible with the backing of good business practices, sensible forecasting, and financial stability. Therefore, to get a better understanding of a kitchen company’s service, these are all of the elements that people should ask questions about.

KCA High NPS score of 92 2024

At KCA, service isn’t just a buzzword; it’s our guiding principle. Clients can ask us about our holistic approach to offering great service. One system that we implement is Net Promoter Score surveys to all of our clients. This goes beyond the common 1-5 scale often used in reviews to a scale of 1-10 which differentiates ‘good’ service and ‘excellent’ service. To us, the true measure of success is in offering service that surpasses expectation and we’re proud to have an NPS of 92 along with over 120 5-star reviews on Google and Houzz. By prioritising service excellence, we’ve built enduring relationships with our clients and over 80% of our projects are from recommended or returning clients.

You mentioned ‘peace of mind.’ What do you mean by this, and how does it relate to value?

 Peace of mind is the assurance that your chosen company will stand by you every step of the way throughout your project and beyond. It’s knowing that the company you choose is a safe pair of hands, that they will deliver on their promises and that there’s always someone on the phone ready to help. While this may sound like an obvious requirement for any kitchen company, sadly, it’s not a guarantee. An integral part of any construction or renovation project is finding trustworthy and reliable trades, and many of our clients who come to KCA have been let down by companies in the past.

In uncertain times, not every company can weather the storm. Recent forecasts in early 2024 note that retail kitchen demand has declined as much as 20% since 2023. In the past year, the industry has also witnessed the downfall of several kitchen companies, leaving projects unfinished and customers stranded. This only underscores the importance of service and peace of mind in decision-making. A cheap kitchen can quickly become expensive when faced with delays, abandoned projects and poor communication with trades on-site.

Do you have any final advice?

Getting genuine value from your kitchen is about never sacrificing quality, design and service for the sake of a lower price. Kitchens are a substantial project, a significant emotional and financial investment for homeowners and builders alike. People want a fantastic design that’s a pleasure to use, stress-free customer service and a kitchen that really lasts. So, whilst some kitchen companies may tout rock-bottom prices, remember that true value lies in balancing price and the benefits, both short-term and long-term.

With all this in mind, ask your shortlist of kitchen companies questions about their design approach, their products, and what makes their service different. Spend time to get to know the intangibles that aren’t listed on the quotation.

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