Every book on success in the business world comes down to one basic tenet: supply good service. But that is often easier said than done.
“You want to be successful in today’s marketplace; (and) whether you’re selling widgets or zippers, you just need to have service,” says Peter Miragliotta, CEO of security company Tenable Protective Services.
Miragliotta’s approach to service has enabled the Cleveland-based company to grow revenue from $870,000 to more than $17 million in the last 13 years. The company has also opened offices in Akron, Toledo, Cincinnati, Columbus and Detroit.
Tenable Protective Services provides security and guest services for Cleveland Browns Stadium, among other clients, and in April it was awarded a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Here Miragliotta shares the business techniques and ideas that have enabled his success.
Treat every client like it is your best client.
Treating clients equally is a great way to build loyalty, especially with smaller clients who may have felt snubbed by other vendors in the past.
“Whether we’re doing eight hours of security or we’re providing 1,000 hours worth of ushers, everyone is our No. 1 client,” Miragliotta says. “Nobody gets slighted. My management knows to take care of all of them equally, to the best of our ability.”
Listen and communicate. “As we went around and listened to (new clients), we kept getting (told) this same thing that basically companies were telling them what they needed, instead of asking them and working with them,” Miragliotta says. “Our management have learned to sit there and ask the client what they want, and then we know that we need to adapt.”
This doesn’t mean you can’t offer guidance or suggestions, but you need to ask lots of questions to determine what’s going to make your client happy.
“It’s communication, both on the top end and on the bottom end with your client to find out exactly what the expectations of your client are and where they see things and where their priorities are,” he says. “Then communicate that to your work force and say, ‘Look, this is what’s important to our client. This is why.’”
Offer customized solutions. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to service. You’ve got to be prepared to offer each client a specialized plan that’s customized to their needs.
“In Cleveland, the way we handle a rib cook-off will be different from the way a promoter may want something at the IX Center,” he says. “At the IX Center, all those shows have a different promoter, and each one of those promoters all have a different priority system.”
Here’s your opportunity to offer suggestions. For example, Tenable worked with the Browns to come up with a wheelchair response team. When patrons in need of assistance get to the gate, someone is dispatched with a wheelchair to assist them in getting to their seat.
It’s a simple premise that requires little additional effort on the part of Tenable, but the idea was received with delight, Miragliotta says.
Be accessible. People are tired of calling a company with questions or concerns and speaking to a machine or not getting the immediate help they need. That’s why Miragliotta gives every client his personal cell phone number.
“If you’ve got a problem and it’s not resolved within my chain of command, I’ll be here,” he says. “It might take me a day a two, but I’ll get in front of you and you can tee off on me if you need to. By my senior staff members and my junior and mid-level staff managers knowing that, that sparks them to answer our clients’ questions.”
HOW TO REACH: Tenable Protective Services, (877) 836-2253