Beyond the Build

Customer Relationships

When It Comes to Business Relationships, Are You Skinny-Dipping?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve thought a lot about the economic pie and how much smaller it is these days. How do we survive and prosper? I think it’s all about a solid foundation built on proven relationships. As Warren Buffett was quoted, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

Ladies and gentlemen, in the construction business, the tide is down. That’s when, to me, it all comes down to the service you provide your customer relationships. It’s about being transparent, authentic, honest and understanding. This has to be true from the outer skin of an organization to its core. I’ve seen large corporations with well-executed taglines, expensive promotional strategies and beautiful logos, but when there’s no follow through, can it really accomplish long-term prosperity?

The simple fact is, now more than ever, our customers have choices. We in the service sectors are like city buses. If you don’t like the bus that you’re on, hop off and another bus will be by in a few minutes to pick you up. All things being equal, the intangible values of what we offer will make the difference. If our team members are authentic, caring and positive, our customer relationships will stay on our bus for the long haul.

Our team members are ambassadors for the company. Hopefully we are empowering our team to do the right thing for our customers – because these time-tested relationships are the fabric that holds it all together.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

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