Dustin Knapp is a people-person. Anyone encountering him personally or seeing his video clips on the website of The Wickertree – which boasts B.C.'s largest selection of high-quality indoor and outdoor patio furniture and accessories – will notice his passion for connecting.
It is fitting then that Knapp, as CEO of the company, gets to reach out to past, current, and future customers to not only share his vision for the family business, but also listen to what they may want to reveal about their dreams and expectations.
“Connecting is very important to us,” says Knapp. “We want to connect with every customer who walks through our door.”
With the overarching vision to help customers create their dream outdoor or indoor living spaces, this connection should be “on a human level rather than focused on a sales pitch,” he emphasizes. “We want to engage people in a discussion about the products they are looking for and about what they are hoping to accomplish.”
Gaining background information about the plans of customers allows The Wickertree team to make recommendations based on their expertise and knowledge of different product lines, Knapp explains. “Exploring options together often means that everybody's happier in the end.”
For a job well done, customers will have a seamless experience – and come away feeling a connection to The Wickertree.
The many online videos and customer testimonials suggest that this approach is working, and further evidence bolsters the claim of “customer satisfaction,” says Knapp. “In my previous role as general manager, it was my task to deal with complaints and returns. However, I had to spend very little time on that, because we have extremely few complaints, and we don’t have returns.”
While the team’s efforts to help customers find the perfect fit is part of this success, there is another key element: a strong partnership with “excellent suppliers,” says Knapp, adding that many of the connections with trusted suppliers have been established over time by The Wickertree, which has been in operation in Langley since 1976 – and owned by the Knapp family for about 16 years.
“Quality is very important to us,” he says. “Everything we sell, every product – whether it's furniture or an accessory – is of high quality.”
The Wickertree’s motto – to choose quality over quantity – is also reflected in the number of suppliers, who are vetted not only on how well their products perform but also on whether sustainability and ethical sourcing are part of their value proposition.
Although this requires due diligence and investigations into the reputation of suppliers, the efforts are well worth it, Knapp says. “We have a lot of confidence in our suppliers, and we know how good our products are. We simply don’t carry things that would fail our customers within a short period of their purchase.”
And should an issue arise, good warranties paired with strong relationships with suppliers will help to see it resolved in a timely manner, he adds. “We have a lot of repeat customers, people who continue to come in and tell us they loved our product and service. We've worked hard to build a reputation for quality, and I don’t think we would have our following, reputation and trust if our approach wasn’t genuine.”
“For more than a decade, The Wickertree has been partnering with the VGH, UBC and BC Children’s Hospital Lotteries, furnishing the outdoor spaces of the homes that are part of the draw, says Knapp.”“We're very proud of this connection, and that’s another area where you can see our work in a real-world setting.”
At a time when people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on workplaces and travels, Knapp has observed that “people are more comfortable investing in their homes, whether that’s renovations, upgrades or enhancements.”
He hopes The Wickertree can be part of such plans and urges Wickertree customers, “Think of us when you’re sitting in your beautiful new spaces with friends and family. We’re grateful when you share your experience, because word-of-mouth is still the best medium for spreading our message.
“We want to continue to grow and reach more people because there's something about our approach that is really positive and resonates widely.”
The Wickertree is featured in the 2023 Profiles of Excellence Magazine