With 2022 coming to a close, we thought it would be great to take a moment to look back on the year, what has changed at Millers Music over the past year and share some of our plans going forward into 2023.
We have some truly exciting plans for the year ahead as we intend for our Cambridge showroom to become much more than a shop and to transform it into more of a musical hub and community space where everyone can enjoy music and piano playing.
But what steps did we take this year to get us towards this new goal? Innovation comes in many forms and is definitely the underlying theme of 2022. From changing the entire way our showroom is run to reintroducing our sheet music selection, every decision we have made has been to help inspire more and more people to fall in love with piano playing.
The Showroom Experience
Our first innovation was the development of our Priority Appointment system and being able to truly focus on each client’s individual needs and piano requirements.
Purchasing a piano is not like buying a car or a television, but a core life event that most people only go through once or twice. Our team unanimously agreed that we need to try to make the piano selection experience as special as possible and to help support our clients both before and after someone finds the perfect piano for them.
Through our Priority Booking System, those in a demonstration have essentially ‘booked’ the showroom for themselves so they can explore all of our pianos at their leisure without interruption, our demonstrators will help guide you through the ranges, find out what you do and don’t like about each piano to help find the perfect one for you.
Almost everyone we have spoken to agrees that they would like the same treatment if were choosing their own piano, so even when others do pop in during a demonstration to perhaps browse our sheet music or to play on our pianos, they are always incredibly respectful.
We love seeing our pianos being played, but so those who are selecting a piano are not disturbed, we have also introduced a range of quality silent pianos into the showroom. Our silent pianos not only allow the player to still use a real acoustic piano, but also play silently via headphones and be introduced to the fantastic technology that is silent pianos.
Whenever someone visits Millers Music, our goal is to always enhance their enjoyment of piano as much as possible. We wanted to build a space where people can meet, talk and discuss different styles of music and create a welcoming and engaging musical community.
The start of this was introducing our hand curated range of sheet music titles that offer inspiration, guidance and valuable advice to help you develop your piano playing technique. With the help of our friends at the publishers Faber Music, Henle Music and Barenreiter, we have created a selection that brings forward the very best of piano music. With gorgeous anthologies and collections, to tutorials to help those beginning, advancing or returning to the piano, there is something for everyone to experiment with and learn. We of course also wanted to incorporate some of the great works from the best pianists of all time for those looking to expand their particular repertoire selections.
For those looking for very specific titles or pieces not in our selections, we are continuing to actively recommend our friends at Presto Music who are sheet music specialists with an extensive range of over 500,000 titles that can cater for almost any need and do it in a quick and timely manner.
Introducing our sheet music selection has led to some truly fantastic conversations in the showroom and we are incredibly excited to see how the range continues to evolve, grow and inspire more people to try music they would otherwise perhaps not have tried!
Offering Amazing Customer Experience
A particular highlight of the year was also when our team were kindly invited to attend the Cambridge Independent Business Awards (BID). As part of the awards, independent businesses around the city are mystery shopped throughout the year and reviewed on their customer experience.
Businesses later receive these reviews to see areas where we can improve. Not only were the reviews of our showroom incredibly complementary and highlighted the excellent work put in by our showroom team, but at the BID awards ceremony, we were thrilled to have been awarded ‘Best Customer Experience 2022’ in our industry.
This was a huge elation for the team and gave us a physical reminder on how far we have come over the past 12 months. This award now sits proudly in our showroom as a constant reminder to always help us deliver sensational experiences that our clients will always remember.
Sustainability has been another key focus of ours this year and is definitely one that we will be looking to grow and expand into next year too. We decided it was time for us to give back to our community and support those who have helped keep Millers Music alive over the past two years.
People visit our showroom almost every day asking what they can do with pianos that they perhaps no longer want or have inherited. Pianos are not like other products like a microwave or a fridge, they have real emotional value attached to them and people are incredibly passionate about them. For many, the piano may represent a million memories of a lost relative, or fill them with joy from their childhood, so they would hate to see them simply be thrown away or go to waste.
Many ask us if we would like to purchase these instruments and for the majority, we are unable to take them in to sell for a number of reasons. Whilst not all are suitable for sale, many of these pianos are still perfectly good functioning instruments and have a lot of joy left to bring so it would be a disservice to see them disposed of or left to gather dust.
That is when our team came up with the ‘Piano Equals’ initiative, a charitable, community led plan to help deliver pianos that are perfectly functional to those who need them most such as schools, churches and community groups. We firstly pioneered this idea in the Grand Arcade Shopping Centre with the help of our friends at Conscious Communications and since then we have received a phenomenal amount of support for the cause and are currently in the process of fundraising to help fulfil pianos with new homes well into 2023.
As a part of this initiative, we are also teaming up with the experts at Puretech solutions in order to try to make digital pianos as repairable as possible. Unlike much of the music industry, digital pianos are notoriously difficult to repair, once a fault emerges, the piano is often simply thrown away as it is either incredibly difficult to source the individual components, or is not cost effective to get it repaired. We are aiming to take in broken pianos, repair them and either offer them as secondhand sustainable pianos that still have lots to give, or use them as part of our rental fleet as an accessible way for more people to get started in music.
Click & Collect - Shopping Local This Christmas
Moving into the past month or so, postal strikes were the hot topic this Christmas and we knew that more and more people would be interested in shopping local and supporting local businesses where they can. That is why in addition to making our sheet music, gifts and accessory ranges fully available online, we also introduced a click and collect service right up until Christmas eve to help everyone get their gifts well in time for Christmas without the worry of postal delays. This is a service that we will be continuing through to 2023,the response has been incredible and something we are looking forward to expanding in the future.
There’s our roundup of 2022! As we look towards the coming year, we have many exciting things planned at Millers. The first of which will be the introduction of events, performances and meetups to help like minded piano players build connections and learn together in their local communities…With expert talks and masterclasses, as well as tutorials to help those working on their graded studies with their learning, there will be something for everyone to get involved with.
We are hoping to also introduce a lounge, practice rooms and a coffee area into the showroom in 2023, so for those looking to pop in, relax during their lunch breaks or just take a quick break to play some piano whilst in town, you will be able to come by, relax and enjoy some lovely conversation and piano playing.
Our teams will be continuing to refine the showroom experience to ensure that everyone who visits us leaves with a smile on their face and has fallen in love with the piano a little bit more than when they first walked in.
We’d love to invite you to join our community on our social media channels to stay up to date with our next innovations and also to read through our ever expanding piano journal that is full of tips, tricks and guides to help you improve your piano playing, inspire, and support you.
Thank you again for your continued support. It is only with our amazing clients, partners, and the music community that we can succeed. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
The Millers Music Team