Beyond the Build

Management

No Matter How We Paint the Company…

This week I was reminded of something I’ve seen over and over through my years in business. Cost and quality are important, but all things being equal, we will make our “buy” decision by the person with whom we deal, not necessarily the company they work for. Our greatest assets are not in the bank, but our boots on the ground.

We had a particularly tough geotechnical situation recently. Most of the time, I think this area is a matter of gray hair and the wisdom of experience. Anyone can follow the book, but the technician who shows they really care, putting himself in our shoes and looking for real solutions–not just engineering solutions–gets to the top of our list of repeat service providers.

Beyond construction, there is a convenience store operation I frequent primarily because the managers at the cash registers always speak to every customer walking through the door. To be honest, I’m not sure what I’m paying for a gallon of diesel at the store. It’s these small courtesies that make them see to care.

Conversely, I can name another dozen examples of good companies that have hired poor ambassadors, and we don’t deal with them anymore. I can think of other companies that might not seem quite as stellar, but their people take them to another level.

For better or for worse, it’s often the person you are dealing with who makes a difference and earns real respect and returned business.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

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