Creating Customers for Life: Coffee Break With Christeen Parsons, Speelman Electric

Service/Maintenance 2018

Electrical contractors today slap their corporate taglines next to the name of their company in just about every place imaginable—on their fleet vehicles, their office building, their stationery, their business forms, their business cards, their promotional giveaways, and wherever else they can imagine. However, not much imagination goes into most of these mottos, which are typically as unconvincing as they are unoriginal.

We were totally struck, therefore, by the slogan on the sign we found in front of Speelman Electric in Tallmadge, Ohio, because it so refreshingly portrays a truly service-oriented philosophy: “Creating Customers for Life.” It provides a great starting point for our coffee break with Christeen Parsons, CEO of Speelman Electric.

Your company motto is different from the kind we usually encounter. Contractors typically tout their company’s technical expertise or excellent work. Yours goes to the heart of acquiring customers and keeping them forever.

We pride ourselves in retaining our customers. We have based our company reputation on being the company they call to resolve their electrical needs. This has been our goal since our company was founded. History has proven that repeat customers are the lifeblood of our company. As such, we take care of our customers with the idea of creating a customer for life. We work hard to provide the greatest customer service with every customer interaction.

The notion of keeping customers forever implies certain obligations, such as the requirement to keep your customers informed about new products and related services that will clearly benefit them.

We try to keep customers informed through several outlets. From our company website, which offers an overview of our company and a way to contact us, to our Facebook page where we keep our followers up-to-date with our offerings and events, our department managers do a great job of letting our customers know what services are offered at our company. We are also very involved in our communities and local businesses. Our managers and service electricians take the opportunity when possible to offer or suggest new products and services to our customers. Staying in communication and developing relationships is important and is key to our success.

Residential service works appears to be an important part of your overall business mix. Your website features it prominently.

We are a full-service contractor. We believe in making even the smallest service-call customer feel important. No job is too small or too large for our company. Residential work has always been an important part of our business and produces a constant cash flow. Residential work also assists us in building a broad customer base. We have received many commercial projects through our residential contacts and vice versa.

Speelman Electric Inc.

We noticed that disaster-restoration services is one of your company’s strong suits.

We work with several disaster-restoration companies in our area. Unfortunately, families get displaced due to fire and water damage. We do what we can to help get them back in their homes and back to normal as soon as possible.

Electrical contractors today slap their corporate taglines next to the name of their company in just about every place imaginable—on their fleet vehicles, their office building, their stationery, their business forms, their business cards, their promotional giveaways, and wherever else they can imagine. However, not much imagination goes into most of these mottos, which are typically as unconvincing as they are unoriginal.

We were totally struck, therefore, by the slogan on the sign we found in front of Speelman Electric in Tallmadge, Ohio, because it so refreshingly portrays a truly service-oriented philosophy:
“Creating Customers for Life.” It provides a great starting point for our coffee break with Christeen Parsons, CEO of Speelman Electric.

Your company motto is different from the kind we usually encounter. Contractors typically tout their company’s technical expertise or excellent work. Yours goes to the heart of acquiring customers and keeping them forever.

We pride ourselves in retaining our customers. We have based our company reputation on being the company they call to resolve their electrical needs. This has been our goal since our company was founded. History has proven that repeat customers are the lifeblood of our company. As such, we take care of our customers with the idea of creating a customer for life. We work hard to provide the greatest customer service with every customer interaction.

The notion of keeping customers forever implies certain obligations, such as the requirement to keep your customers informed about new products and related services that will clearly benefit them.

We try to keep customers informed through several outlets. From our company website, which offers an overview of our company and a way to contact us, to our Facebook page where we keep our followers up-to-date with our offerings and events, our department managers do a great job of letting our customers know what services are offered at our company. We are also very involved in our communities and local businesses. Our managers and service electricians take the opportunity when possible to offer or suggest new products and services to our customers. Staying in communication and developing relationships is important and is key to our success.

Residential service works appears to be an important part of your overall business mix. Your website features it prominently.

We are a full-service contractor. We believe in making even the smallest service-call customer feel important. No job is too small or too large for our company. Residential work has always been an important part of our business and produces a constant cash flow. Residential work also assists us in building a broad customer base. We have received many commercial projects through our residential contacts and vice versa.

We noticed that disaster-restoration services is one of your company’s strong suits.

We work with several disaster-restoration companies in our area. Unfortunately, families get displaced due to fire and water damage. We do what we can to help get them back in their homes and back to normal as soon as possible.

As their companies grow, many ECs abandon residential service work. We believe that, in taking such an approach, they cut themselves off from a proven source of lucrative business opportunity.

We believe in offering all types of electrical services. We are service-oriented, and our reputation on a small scale is as important to us as our larger customers. Word of mouth and referrals from current customers helps us to maintain our reputation. Also, we are a community-focused electrical contractor and like to make sure that customers in our community know us and think highly of us.

We try to pry at least one secret to success from everyone we interview. What could you share with us about residential service work that might unlock future possibilities for our readers?

Listen. Be honest. Make sure the customer feels they are getting a good value for their money and excellent service. Treat them the way you would want to be treated. They are the reason you are in business. It feels great when a customer calls our office to compliment our electricians. We know that we have done a great job training our electrician and making our customer happy. Beyond that, we have created a customer for life.

About the Author

Andrew McCoy

Service and Maintenance Contributor

Andrew McCoy is the Preston and Catharine White Fellow and Department Head of the Department of Building Construction in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech. Contact him at apmccoy@vt.edu.

About the Author

Fred Sargent

Service and Maintenance Contributor

Fred Sargent is an electrical industry consultant focusing on service expertise. He can be reached at fred@sargent.com.

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