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>Humble Pie

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My mentor says, “Meeting with your managers to solve business issues is bull s . . t! If you want to learn about your business, if you want to solve a problem, talk to your customers”.
We survey our customers a lot. Once a year we ask our customers to rank ”what’s important” when it comes to hiring a service company (the survey concept was taken from the Frances Frei EO Event). At the end of each job we send out the classic survey question “On a scale from one to ten how likely would you recommend us to a friend?” Occasionally we ask our customers how they perceive our brand? Specifically we ask them “How would you describe us to a friend? Heck, we even asked our customers, through our facebook page, to vote on a “Wolfgang” Bouncy Castle that we are going to donate to community events (another borrowed idea from an EO colleague).
The feedback we receive from our surveys is invaluable and sometimes painful. The results are invaluable because our customers hold the answers to most of our strategic questions. And, painful, because our customers have a keen sense of where and how Wolfgang needs to improve.  Sometimes, you need to eat a piece of humble pie.
I hold my breath every time the results of a survey come back. The strokes are great, the pokes hurt. I am a passionate guy, I have poured my heart and soul into the business. Any time I hear something negative about Wolfgang I get defensive.  It’s something I ‘m working on and I still got a ways to go. So, reviewing the surveys is not my favorite task.
This year our surveys respondents told us that we are easy to work with, our workmanship is solid and our customer service is great. At the same time, our customers suggested that Wolfgang should work to become more consistent.  Specifically, we need to start and finish projects in a more timely fashion.
One customer stated,  “It doesn’t matter how easy or friendly your staff is to work with, if the you take too long, if they don’t deliver on a deadline, I am not happy with your service.” Ouch! We heard similar feedback from enough customers that we needed to take action. After all, any construction project is a pain in the rear and no one wants it to drag on.
We listened and learned. When we sat down to talk strategy for 2011 we let our customers feed back guide us. In fact, consistency is our organizational theme for 2011. And, we are putting our money where our mouth is.
For 2011 we will be offering a “Start and Finish” guarantee.  In short, we guarantee to start and finish our projects when promised or our customers get five percent back.
We have aligned the staff and built a bonus package for the entire organization based on our “start and finish” guarantee.  This guarantee is risky for us. Commercial Painting is competitive and we don’t want to give away five percent of our hard earned profits. But, improving our service is important and we hope that this guarantee gives our customers another compelling reason to buy from us.
So, Wolfgang is stronger for 2011 because of our customer’s feedback. We will keep on asking them for help in 2011 and I will try not to cringe every time a survey with a “poke” hits my desk.

 

Wolfgang Commercial Painters

Call (888) WLF-GANG or email service@wolfgangpainters.com

Street Address:

112- 4268 Lozells Ave. Burnaby, BC, V5A 0C6