While tenacity, perseverance and business savvy are all requirements for any successful business, I think another philosophy has really paved the way for my business, Duval Roofing. I’ve always believed a worker is only as good as his tools, and with that in mind, I’ve never shied away from trying out new technologies, exploring up-and-coming business practices or being the first contractor in my area to invest in a new type of machinery or equipment.
While every industry has its own beneficial new technologies, practices, and equipment, the results of making those investments are often the same. Here’s how keeping up with the times will help you boost your business:
You can win over more customers. Knowing how to amplify positive word-of-mouth feedback is essential for every business owner these days. Of course, the web offers many opportunities for doing so. We post customer referrals on our website, and I regularly point potential customers to the Duval Roofing Better Business Bureau page, which shows our good standing with BBB. You can also engage customers and potential customers via social media, too, as many businesses do.
However, I’ve learned not to shy away from negative reviews in either of these online forums. As I recently told American Express Open Forum, last year’s extreme winter left us overrun with business. To serve clients efficiently, we had to shrink our service area, which left one customer, who lived outside that area, so upset that they left a negative review on our Google Plus profile. For me, that review was a clear indication that we needed to make some changes to our customer service protocol. As a result, we amped up our priority response system, adding online forms and a better voice messaging system. Sometimes, the way you handle negative customer feedback says far more about your philosophy as a company than the positive reviews you receive.
You can improve efficiency. Over the years, I’ve worked to improve my crew’s processes so we can install a roof in one day. But fulfilling my “roof in a day” vision wouldn’t have been possible without a key investment in technology. We use an imaging software called EagleView, which provides a 3D image of our customer’s roof. With an easy way to break down work assignments, we’re able to install a roof more quickly and with minimal disruption to our customers. Chances are there’s an efficiency-improving technology available to you in your industry. As a business owner, I strongly recommend that you take some time to consider how that technology could help you set yourself apart from the competition. How can you use it to make a big difference for your customers?
You can increase safety. Recently, my region (the Boston area) has experienced a record number of ice dams. An ice dam is an accumulation of ice on a roof that prevents the water/ice behind it from flowing off the roof. Ice dams can be quite damaging and dangerous to a home’s inhabitants. I recognized that we didn’t have the equipment to handle them safely and efficiently. So, I purchased a steam machine from Minnesota. It offers a safe way to remove ice dams without damaging shingles, decking, or gutters. The increased number of ice dams was a great lesson for me: No matter how long you’ve been in a business or industry, you never know when you’ll need to make changes in order to keep up with the times. Looking to available technologies is a great way to give your business the agility it needs to adjust to changes in your market.
As your business’s owner and leader, you set the course. You’re responsible for pushing the pace and pushing it forward. And you can do both with the best results when you’re open to exploring the new tools and technology available to you.
Ken Duval has owned and operated Duval Roofing, of Reading, Massachusetts for more than 20 years. He and his crew of 14 roofers typically finish a roof in one day, and they’re the only local roofing company with the infrastructure to recycle their waste. Ken is also an active kayaker – he spends at least an hour each morning on the water before starting the day with his team.