DON’T SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRE OR WORSE – CHOOSE A COMPANY THAT DELIVERS “WOW” SERVICE
I know Coastal Windows & Exteriors; they are the company run by homeowners like us. They treated us like family and gave us honest, educated solutions to our home improvement problems!
David Vanderbilt has seen a lot during his 20+ years in the home improvement industry… not all of it good. For someone raised to believe “your word is your bond,” some of the practices he saw in the industry just didn’t sit well.
For over 12 years, David worked for a large window replacement company and as a manufacturer’s representative serving dozens of home improvement companies. He saw just about everything, from fly-by-night operations to sizeable companies who got so big they forgot the importance of customer service and quality workmanship.
He Took 4 Key Lessons From His Experiences
- Forget the “one and done” attitude and instead create customers for life.
David doesn’t believe in “this will be the only job we do for this customer” as it lacks integrity and also made zero business sense. After all, we want happy customers, right? Coastal Windows & Exteriors believes a customer is a customer for life and that is how everyone is treated… even if you never have need of our services again.
- A company’s team members need to understand the products.
David knew as a manufacturer’s representative home improvement companies sent people out into the field who can’t answer basic customer questions accurately. Coastal Windows & Exteriors insists our staff receive comprehensive training so we can educate instead of sell, and become our customers’ trusted advisors.
- Always stand behind both the product and installation.
David noticed two issues that he couldn’t stand “pass the buck” and “ignoring service calls”. Some companies were committed to a good customer experience but often did a poor job of scheduling jobs and tracking outstanding issues. Coastal Windows & Exteriors is committed to customer service and not letting any customer issue ‘fall through the cracks’, trying our very vest to work with mother nature and complete jobs on time and make communication outstanding.
- Never “blindside”your customers.
Many home improvement companies fail to accurately explain what getting a home improvement is like from the customer’s point of view. David decided that Coastal customers would always be told in plain, straightforward terms exactly what a customer can expect during their home improvement project, including time and potential disruptions.
David knew that a home improvement company that did everything the right way would stand out and would earn repeat and referral business. He also knew the perfect person to own the company – his wife.
An Adventure in Business Ownership
Stephanie Vanderbilt knew her husband had the necessary experience in the home improvement industry and would do things the right way. But when David asked her if she wanted to own the business, it was a difficult decision. She loved being a Teacher of the Deaf, although the idea of taking ownership of a new company sounded exciting to her. David would manage the sales and installation, she would be in charge of the overall operations of the company, vision, marketing and customer service.
Empathy and a Passion for Service
Empathy always has come naturally to Stephanie. As a Teacher of the Deaf, she loved the peer in-service part of her job. She was able help the student share issues they had and help their peers what it was like to be deaf and embrace their deaf identity. She developed long-term relationships with her students, by first understanding their needs and creating a solution on a personal level.
Bringing the Same Passion to Her Business
She realized that leaving teaching didn’t mean leaving passion behind: Coastal Windows & Exteriors would become her full-time ‘empathy outlet.’ She wouldn’t be the kind of owner that just paid lip service to a great customer experience… she would actually deliver it. Simply satisfying the customer would not be enough. Instead, she would create the kind of experience that ‘wowed’ customers, had them raving to others, and make them loyal, lifetime customers.
She retired from teaching and has thrown herself wholeheartedly into being a woman business owner. She is hard-wired to bring a full-time intensity to everything she does, but reminds us all, once a teacher- always a teacher. You can see this as she is a Featured Expert column writer with Angie’s List and local papers with Gatehouse Media. You can also follow her blog at https://www.angieslist.com/author/stephanie-vanderbilt.htm.
Doing Things the Right Way Turns Out to be a Great Way to Grow Your Business
David and Stephanie knew that a home improvement company run with a customer-first attitude could do well. When they started out, they only sold and installed windows, but customers love businesses that show them respect and focused on education that high-pressure sales and within several months they added doors, roofing and siding to meet the demand.
Stephanie and David are more committed than ever to maintaining Coastal Windows & Exteriors as a truly exceptional company. Visit our About Us page to learn more about the Coastal Advantage or click here to contact us!