Willoughby-based Marous Brothers Construction Inc. prefers to use the word “client” rather than “customer,” because it says “client” conveys a long-lasting service delivery experience.
President Chip Marous, COO Scott Marous and VP Ken Marous say they attract clients for life, not just for the life of a construction project. They service clients beyond contract and warranty requirements, and as a union contractor, they say their price may not be as low as their nonunion counterparts, but they say the quality and guidance received by clients is superior to any of their competitors.
Chip says more than 90 percent of his company’s work is gained through referral or repeat business, making the company’s relationship-based sales model vital in establishing long-term relationships with each client.
In 1999, the company implemented its Total Quality Management (TQM) Program, which encourages office and field personnel to cooperate in identifying and solving problems that could help the company manage growth, promote teamwork between staff and clients, and improve upon the company’s high standards.
New employees are taught the importance of the TQM Program at their orientation. Through this program, they learn how each employee represents a piece of the puzzle, and without their understanding and commitment, the puzzle would be incomplete.
Marous Brothers also sends out a TQM Client Evaluation Survey one-third of the way into a project’s construction schedule and again as the project is completed, giving clients an opportunity to offer feedback on the company’s performance. Sf any service defects are exposed, the information is used to improve service in the future.
HOW TO REACH: Marous Brothers Construction Inc., (440) 951-3904 or www.marousbrothers.com
Frankin & Seidelmann Subspecialty Radiology product is its service, so it focuses on providing the best possible service.
Scott Seidelmann, president and COO of the Beachwood company, says his business provides clinically specific subspecialty teleradiology reports and must provide quality on a consistent basis. If it doesn’t measure up, it affects not only its clients, which are imaging centers, physician groups and hospitals, but the clients of those entities the referring physicians and ultimately, their clients the patients.
Due to the nature of the industry, F&S can’t give gifts or comp products when a service defect arises. Instead, it empowers its employees to make it right for the client by offering the next best solution at no extra charge.
Because every department deals directly with clients, the entire organization has to be customer-service-driven. The management team says world-class customer service comes naturally when a company is built around the idea of service, using it as the backbone of the infrastructure and not as side product that gets developed as an afterthought once the money starts coming in.
F&S uses multiple software systems to provide exceptional customer service. Its teleradiology platform and operational infrastructure automates the complex process of distributing and routing information, large image files and reports between clients and radiologists all over the country. Its VoIP phone system allows clients quick access to client support representatives.
Its Customer Relationship Management system allows the company to set up home pages for clients; each page contains all the relevant information about the client and every contact at the company. As a result, F&S employees have become more effective, more efficient and more knowledgeable about the clients they serve.
HOW TO REACH: Franklin & Seidelmann Subspecialty Radiology, (216) 255-5700 or www.fs-rad.com
A trip to the orthodontist can be a positive experience; just ask the adult and child patients of Dr. Gen Orthodontics.
With offices in Lyndhurst and Twinsburg, exceptional customer service and personal care are an integral part of the corporate culture. Dr. Felix Gen says these foundations establish value that goes beyond price competition.
The best way to provide good service is to establish a good relationship with customers. Dr.
Gen’s patients are asked about their hobbies, families, likes and dislikes, and the information is noted on their chart and reviewed by staff before each visit.
Employees conduct a huddle each morning to discuss the patients who have appointments that day and the unique needs of each patient. At the end of the day, staff members choose two patients who were successful in their part of the orthodontic treatment or those who need a little extra encouragement; those patients receive a “care-card” signed by all team members.
Gen offers a “Shining Star” incentive program for child patients to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Whenever a child has a cleaning by his or her general or pediatric dentist and has no cavities, the dentist signs a special card provided by Gen’s office.
When the patient brings the signed card back, he or she is entered into a drawing to win personal televisions, DVD players and iPods.
Customer care doesn’t happen on its own, and Gen’s employees receive a book of customer service scripting because he says knowing how to handle every situation and what to say is an invaluable tool for a service-oriented business. When the rare service defect happens, every employee is prepared to make up for a negative experience with several positive ones.
HOW TO REACH: Dr. Gen Orthodontics, (216) 291-3525 or www.brace4success.com
Employees at the Akron Zoological Park know that customer service is not a one-time deal but an opportunity for continuous improvement.
Patricia Simmons, the zoo’s president and CEO, recalls an older couple’s visit to the zoo on a hot summer day. The man couldn’t walk the grounds anymore, so a guest service staff member brought him a wheelchair, but his wife wasn’t strong enough to push it.
Thinking quickly, the zoo employee pushed the man in the wheelchair, gave the couple a private tour and allowed them to finish their visit at the zoo.
Taking a valuable tip from this incident, the zoo now provides motorized wheelchairs to customers for these situations.
In addition to observing the needs of guests, the zoo has hosted focus groups that provide a wealth of information. Zoo guests always want more animal experiences and greater education and entertainment value but also have said they will return time and time again because of their treatment by staff members as guests, rather than just customers or visitors.
To communicate this message to employees, the zoo requires all staff members to attend its customer service training program. New hires learn what the organization expects of them, from customer service techniques to tips on how to please a difficult guest.
An annual refresher course on customer service teaches employees how to deal with day-to-day issues, provides ideas for increasing guest satisfaction and empowers staff to make guest-focused decisions. As a result, all employees are prepared to turn a negative experience into a positive one for guests.
This training also reminds employees that their co-workers are also zoo guests and to treat them with the same kindness, enthusiasm and sincerity, a concept that has led to enhanced teamwork and more effective work relationships.
HOW TO REACH: Akron Zoological Park, (330) 375-2550 or www.akronzoo.org
When it comes to air travel, time is of the essence. The Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) found larger airports lacking in this area and so found “a better way to go” by constantly striving toward a more customer-friendly facility.
Director Fred Krum welcomes feedback and strives to make sure the process is hassle-free for customers with an easily navigated Web site and direct-mail feedback.
Krum pays close attention to this feedback and makes changes accordingly. And providing commendable customer service took precedence over budget when Krum hired additional staff to answer questions after normal business hours.
CAK focuses its energy on the customer’s needs by providing services beyond the necessary. A recently expanded building helps customers reach their destinations with minimal difficulty, and its parking system includes logically placed parking lots and a shuttle service.
The terminal’s central location caters to travelers and their need for speed. Gates are closely placed for added ease in connecting flights.
CAK provides complementary Wi-Fi Internet access with quiet work areas. Relaxation stations provide customers with massage chairs to reduce the stress traveling. And a central baggage claim and convenient passenger pick-up area leave customers with a good impression of the airport.
Krum says his staff focuses on the individual traveler and works to make each customer’s experience comfortable and quick. Employees are encouraged to share ideas and do whatever is needed to ensure a positive traveling experience.
The CAK slogan “a better way to go” has proven accurate, as hundreds of customers have given positive feedback, Krum says.
HOW TO REACH: Akron-Canton Airport, (330) 896-2376 (Akron), (330) 499-4059 (Canton), or www.akroncantonairport.com