Beyond the Build

Customer Relationships

Call Me…

At a Phoenix CenterBuild Conference many years ago, I heard something that has resonated with me ever since. “Success is about finding the right customers and keeping them.” One of the things I’m most proud of is having a series of customer relationships who we work with regularly. While our company welcomes and truly enjoys unique projects, “repeat customers” are at the core of our business.

Early on in our working relationship, one of these customers told me, “Call me anytime you need me, but don’t call me just to talk.” That really stuck with me. I’ve never been one for small talk, but you better believe I think hard before I call this person. When I do reach out, it’s about something I feel is important, and he always takes the time to listen and be in the moment, so to speak. In turn, I think it makes those around this person want to work even harder to please.

To me, this same approach applies to just about every business call we make. I truly care about our team members and customer relationships as people, and we catch up on personal things over lunch or happy hour. But when I pick up the phone to call one of project field leaders or one of our customers across the country, I always ask or text in advance to see if they have time for me before launching into what I have to say. I get straight the message, and make my ask clear. They appreciate the respect for their time, and we’re all more efficient for it.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.