Exclusive bathroom design – an interview
Oliver Volk runs a specialised plumbing and bathroom design business in Stuttgart’s Birkach district. Customers have the opportunity to try the TOTO shower toilets and learn all about accessibility in his newly renovated showroom.
Mr and Mrs Volk, providing advice to people on their bathrooms can be a sensitive topic. What kinds of experiences have you had in your work?
The customers who come to us want our advice - especially the older generation. Some have used shower toilets in the past. Others have gotten positive recommendations and want to check them out for themselves. And some people just want to be convinced.
In other words, you have to convince your customer without embarrassing yourself in the process? What's important when giving people advice on their new bathrooms?
We built a spacious, airy "testing room" in our new showroom where customers can try the TOTO WASHLET in a relaxed environment. We can also show and demonstrate the product here first-hand, and answer any questions they may have. It's essential to maintain people's privacy, and ensure that we keep a comfortable distance. We also show all of the accessible solutions available with the WASHLET in this room.
Mrs Volk, what role do the customers' wives or partners play in these conversations?
They make the final decisions. I start a conversation with them and talk about the individually adjustable features, like the different spray types, oscillating intimate cleansing spray, selectable spray intensity and water temperature. I also mention the heated seat, ease of use and very convenient maintenance and cleansing.
What's important for you as a salesperson?
Of course, it's important for the product to be available in the showroom, in perfect condition and showcased in an ideal location. The salespeople themselves also need to be completely confident of our products, familiar with all functionalities and able to convey this in an authentic, convincing way. Ideally, they should have also had positive experiences with shower toilets.
Which functionality do you usually focus on to start the conversation?
We usually talk about hygiene. TOTO's automatic toilet lid, rimless bowl and no-spray flush are all impressive features, as well as its very quiet noise level. Most people at a certain age have some physical limitations, and are most convinced by the intimate hygiene benefits offered by the WASHLET - especially women who often end up showering for hygienic reasons after using the toilet. This is no longer necessary after using a shower toilet.
What is important to your customers?
On the one hand, we show how to easily control and adjust the functionalities using the remote control. We mention TOTO's decades of experience, the self-cleaning feature using ewater+, the fact that the angle and silicone coating keep waste from accumulating on the wand jet, and that the air filter is easy to maintain. The cost seems to play a less important role if our customers have the opportunity to try the product in a quiet, relaxing environment, and are impressed by the experience.
What do you recommend to younger customers?
Young people who are building or renovating bathrooms usually keep an eye on the costs. It's possible to upgrade toilets with WASHLET attachments. This is why we often recommend that they install a TOTO toilet with a good cistern and an additional power socket, which would allow them to easily add a WASHLET in future.
Accessibility is another main focus for your customer?
Yes, we suggest that many of our customers think about this aspect while doing their renovations. The WASHLET plays a major role here. It can help people maintain a high level of hygiene, health and independence as they age, and is easy to use thanks to the remote control. Many people end up in nursing homes because they can no longer use the toilet on their own. A WASHLET can delay this development considerably. It's possible to install hinged support rails with integrated flush controls, and there's enough space for a walker and the height of the toilet.
Are your customers satisfied?
We've always had great experiences with shower toilets, especially the TOTO WASHLETs. They are especially reliable and easy to maintain. Our customers notice this too - we've never had a single complaint.
Mr and Mrs Volk, thank you for speaking with me today.
1. When advising people on shower toilets, it's important that people be personally impressed by the product, and that customers have the necessary privacy to try them out. 2. The SG WASHLET offers all standard TOTO WASHLET features. In addition to the warm water spray, this model includes a heated seat, filter system to absorb unpleasant odours, a dryer, and the new ewater+ functionality, which has cleansing and antibacterial properties. This photo shows it in combination with accessible fixtures. 3. Oliver and Sibylle Volk in their new showroom. 4. A WASHLET promotes excellent hygiene and well-being.