Provide Excellent Customer Service and Watch Your Company Grow!
Is providing excellent customer service important in
today's competitive marketplace? Winning more work seems to be
everyone's top priority. Most construction business owners use
every waking moment trying to figure out how to lower their bids,
reduce their costs, cut their overhead and trim their margins to
get more work. Is this the only solution?
Several years ago, I got a call from Jim Didas, the
CEO and co-owner of Range and Civil Construction LLC (RACC) in
Junction City, Kan. He wanted to meet with me and his two business
partners to update their business plan. As I got to know them
better, I began to question their business strategy.
Their company mission statement is: "No Problems -
Just Solutions!" The mission of RACC is to provide unparalleled
construction services with efficiency and effectiveness. RACC is
committed to 100 percent customer satisfaction through a partnered
approach with our dedicated management team, experienced employees,
comprehensive safety program, quality control systems,
schedule-driven commitment, and cutting-edge methodologies.
Their No. 1 company key success factor is to, "Please
and satisfy our customers to obtain excellent evaluations, build
with excellence, superior quality, safe projects, and meet project
schedules and deadlines."
This seemed contradictory in the public works
marketplace, but I realized they had designed their business
development strategy focused on securing customers who value
excellent service more than or equal with low price.
Putting the Customer First Pays
RACC began in 2007, and the three owners had many
combined years in building all types of civil construction projects
for government entities. They decided Jim would be company leader,
Brian would handle administration and finances, and Duke would
handle field and equipment.
Their initial goals were to install a professional
organization consisting of a supportive bank, a reactive bonding
agent and a construction-oriented accountant. They soon realized
they would have to find new customers and opportunities to make it
on their own. During their first year, they bid over 20
pre-selected jobs within their target size and customer criteria
until they landed their first contract in 2008.
Customer Focus = Win More
RACC seeks customers who also value excellent work,
construction performance, partnering through problems, a thorough
understanding of the system, teamwork, a perfect safety record, and
the ability to obtain top customer satisfaction ratings.
When bidding projects, they look for ways to
implement their construction plan and satisfy the customer. The
estimating team also looks for ways to build the project faster,
with the best possible solution, and job-specific equipment. Faster
jobs reduces overhead and satisfies customers.
For their first few projects, Duke and Jim supervised
the jobs themselves with a goal to develop a winning team focused
on satisfying customers. Over time, they hired experienced and
qualified managers, field foreman, supervisors, etc., who had
positive attitudes and strived for building with excellence.
Customer Focus = Company
Their company mission and vision has paid off, as the
company has grown to $16 million plus and they have maintained a
perfect safety record with zero lost time accidents. Their customer
satisfaction ratings are almost 100 percent excellent.
Building a business that provides excellent customer
service takes a major commitment and large investment. To ensure
RACC achieves the highest ratings from their customers, they go way
beyond the normal call of duty.
8 Business Building Secrets from
1. Secrets to
building a great company:
I try to always remember that I run a business, not a
project. We must continually focus on the eight traits of great
companies. I also try to hire right and believe in our people. Let
go and delegate. I often use the command "Manage it!" when people
ask me to solve their problems for them. And, of course, please the
2. Secrets to working
with three owners:
The best thing is breaking our company management
into three distinct categories: administration and finances;
equipment management; and estimating and production. This way we
can all focus on attention to detail and the ability to trust
things are being taken care of. If in doubt, we attempt to have fun
3. Secrets to
building a great team:
Hire up; explain the mission; provide clear goals for
customer satisfaction, safety, quality and the budget; systemize;
ongoing training; and manage the process.
4. Secrets to doing
Focus on the details, explain and train
5. Secrets to a
perfect safety record:
Mandatory daily safety meetings on every job, weekly
tactical meetings on every job, provide regular safety training
sessions, discuss potential hazards at the beginning of every task,
and create a safety culture by embracing quick hazard recognition
6. Secrets to making
Focus on the details, communicate production
expectations, execute work superbly but quickly, please the client,
and beat the estimates.
7. Keys to sustained
We hold a two-day strategic planning retreat every
year and update it every six months to stay on track. Knowing what
future projects are being funded to keep the pipeline full. Focus
on bonding growth.
8. Other tips for
Management and field: Focus on execution; that's
where the money is made.
Production: Do it right once!
Scheduling: Tie the construction schedule directly to the budget
Financial: Secure enough operating capital to support growth and
Equipment: Rent unless utilization provides an equity
Estimating: Create a thorough scope and then price the scope.
Excellent Customer Service Pays
Focusing on a single strategic objective and seeking
customers who fit within your company mission guarantees success.
By not wavering in their top priority to satisfy customers, RACC
has grown their top-line revenue and bottom-line profits. They have
a long list of happy customers who trust they will do an excellent
job, and they have a strong team of experienced management and
productive field employees dedicated to a respected fulfilling
mission. Are you willing to get focused on providing the best
customer service possible? Try it! It might also work for your
George Hedley is a professional
construction BIZCOACH and popular industry speaker who helps
contractors increase profits, grow and get their companies to work.
To learn more, visit www.hardhatpresentations.com.