Service – Win Lose or Draw?

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Today, we lost an important job because the customer found our price too high. I hated the loss but penned a response to the customer to “speak my mind.”

I stated that I thought about this on the drive home and while walking the dog. I asked myself should I have taken our margin below my identified floor to win this opportunity. Certainly I recognize the long-term potential of working with the customer on his development initiatives.

While I was below my predetermined floor gross margin on the bid, I did have enough in the job to support the key principals for which I stand and that make the kind of difference in the building material supplies arena that underpin why I bought SolarGlass. I am betting the farm (literally) that service excellence is a long-term profit enhancer.

At SolarGlass, we have full-time service professional in each location. Our standard is to offer two years of labor warranty where our vendors and industry standards dictates just one year. We do post window installation walk-through inspections to catch product or installation issues long before they cause a problem. Similarly, we do screen installations and final operating adjustments just as the project is turned over to the home owner, and without charge. This establishes SolarGlass as the first person called should anything crop up in the future, exactly where we want to be.

Beyond these policies, we look for opportunities to put service first. When our prospect identified a problem with a window and a door in his own home, we could have chosen to point him to the product manufacturer for resolution, consistent with the parameters of the warranties. Instead, it was an opportunity to walk the SolarGlass “walk”. We want to be at the center of the resolution and not the company that is unwilling to get engaged. When an architect had a problem caused by the predecessor company, we stepped up even though we would have been 100% right to state that the problem was not our responsibility. Just today, I waived a $300 charge to a customer because we did not provided the service level of which we could proud.

What I was trying to say is that when you buy SolarGlass, you buy our service model. You will find windows of acceptable quality priced lower that what we offer. They will be fine in many projects and a person would be justifiably proud of the end result. However, I don’t know of any company that prioritizes the service life cycle the way we do. We are proud of our service model and understand that sometimes we loose business opportunities we absolutely covet in the pursuit of what we stand for.

What do you think? Are we on the right track or does this not matter?

Posted on March 25, 2008 by
Category: Core Business Philosophies
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