SERVICE/MAINTENANCE BY ANDREW MCCOY & FRED SARGENT
Terry Brogan is service manager and
a 37-year veteran of the electrical industry. Here, he shares his insights into
approaches that have yielded consistent
results for his service team.
The most sought-after result of
developing a robust field-service
organization is to build a loyal customer
base that provides a never-ending source
of recurring revenue. Could you sum up
your philosophy on the subject?
I repeat it quite often, because it’s essential to success in the electrical service
business: People have to like you. What
we call “customer relationships” all gets
back to person-to-person relationships.
And while we’re all used to thinking about this in terms of happy times
when customers call us back once again
because they want us to do the next job,
customer relationships mean even more
to us when something does not go quite
right. It’s not a perfect world. Every once
in a while, we make mistakes. But when
we do, if we have developed a good working relationship with a customer—that is,
if they like us—chances are we will not
jeopardize our standing with them.
How can our readers make their
customers love their service
One essential step in the process, for
sure, is to do a good job in the very beginning to match the service electricians
who you are assigning to an account with
the customers who they will be serving.
The best way to accomplish that is by
Your service group has a wide range of
personally getting involved as early as
possible to size up the situation. Know
your people. Know who fits what kind
of situation, and be prepared to quickly
respond to complaints from customers
who, from time to time, will call to make
their thoughts known to you.
capabilities that spans a much broader
customer spectrum than most electrical
contractors typically serve.
Our team has a widely ranging customer
base that calls upon us time after time
for the kinds of commercial and institutional facilities that most [electrical
contractors] are familiar with. But we are
fortunate to have, as well, a lengthy list
of large industrial, electric utility, major
healthcare, solar power, controls work,
communications, A/V, fire alarm, and
other kinds of customers who regularly
rely upon us for their electrical system
service and maintenance needs. We’re
especially proud of having that healthy
diversification in our customer base. It
means a lot when you consider how the
ups and downs of the business cycles of
different market segments tend to balance out in such a way as to ensure that
our service work activity never falls off.
One of the more interesting things we
noticed is that your service group is
organized to address both traditional and
low-voltage electrical systems.
That is one of our special strengths. We
can serve all of the electrically related
needs that our customers might have.
In addition to our permanent cadre of
Everyone in the business has a special
service electricians who are ready to
deliver whatever may come up in the
realm of conventional power and light-
ing systems, we have an experienced
group of technicians who are specially
trained in low-voltage systems. And by
the way, this dual capability leads to a
lot of cross-selling opportunities. They
go both ways. They are always great
because, as the saying goes, it’s easier to
sell something new to an old customer
than something new to a new customer.
Anyhow, it gives our customers the ben-
efit of one-stop shopping.
source of pride about something that
they have consistently accomplished.
Surely you must have that, too.
I could point to many success stories
that reflect the PCE way, but at the very
top of the list is our safety record. Our
experience modification rate [EMR]
that applies to our workers’ compensation insurance—the truest scorecard for
our safety program—says it all. Our most
recent EMR was 0.55. Knowing that all
of our workers go home safe at the end
of each workday is what means the most
The Importance of Being Likeable
Coffee break with Terry Brogan, service manager, PayneCrest Electric Co. Inc.
STARTED IN ST. LOUIS IN 1953, PayneCrest Electric Co. Inc. is broadly diversified
in electrical and communications installation work, which the company now takes on
throughout the United States. Its signature “PCE way” embodies a customer-centered
philosophy with a constant drive toward creative solutions that has resulted in an
impressive project resume and an enviable client roster.
SARGEN T, a 40-year veteran of the electrical contracting business based in Pittsburgh,
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. MCCO Y is associate professor in the College of
Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech. Contact him at email@example.com.