Our business strategy rests on three pillars
1. We respond immediately to our customers’ needs.
2. We provide our customers with incredible service.
3. We encourage our employees to pursue lifelong friendships with their customers.
With success, we pursued this strategy since I opened my first business in 1992. Using the pillars, enabled us to maintain customer relationships for decades. It begins with the first Pillar – respond immediately
Early in my career my father taught me that when a customer calls, they have a problem. That problem travels over the phone line and into our office. Their problem immediately becomes our problem never to return to our customer. Knowing human nature, the customer wants to only make one phone call, not two, or three to make their problem go away. My father illustrated this to me with a story. During the 1970s, as a police officer, my father usually ended up with most of overtime. He did so, because early on he understood human nature. The officer handing out the overtime had one problem. He needed to assign the overtime. He wanted to make the least amount of calls as possible. When the officer called others, some would respond with how long will it last, is it going to rain and sometimes would refuse the overtime. When the officer called my father, my father would simply respond when and where. He would never turn it down. This is the same mentality we require of my employees. When the customer calls in with a problem, we own it and we solve it immediately.
We once worked for a mechanical engineer, now retired, at a large chemical company. One day, I was in his office and I overheard his phone conversation with a supplier. A mechanical process component failed and threatened to shut down an entire process. The quickest the supplier could deliver the component was tomorrow. Having it delivered tomorrow plus the time to install the component meant that the entire chemical process would have to shut down for a full day costing the company a substantial amount of money. I interrupted the phone conversation and I said, “I will get the component for you today”. He looked at me surprised. This had nothing to do with our work. He said, “you would do that”, of course. I said, “I will send our onsite supervisor and he will have it back tonight”. Our customer said “great, I will schedule the contractor to install the component tonight and we won’t have to shut down tomorrow”. This is the level of service we expect from our current companies and all future companies we acquire or organically grow.
Lifelong Customer Friendships
I believe this is the most important pillar is friendships. Over the years, myself and my employees created many enduring lifelong friendships with my customers. Friendship is the ultimate bond. My best man in my wedding was first my customer. We have been great friends for decades. I probably learned this from my father as well. Some of his customer friendships date back to the mid-1980s.
The customer is at the core of our strategy. The three pillars ensure this. The business we own, we eventually acquire and organically grow will adhere to the strategy outlined above.