Recently, we noticed that we had some water spots on our ceiling in a couple of different places.  Knowing that it was not the plumbing, it left us with the uncomfortable feeling that we had an issue with our roof.  I don’t know about you, but the prospect of replacing a roof was less than exciting especially since it likely had 5-7 years left of useful life.

I proceeded to get the name of the company that had replaced my mother in law’s roof several years ago, and did some additional research on the web.  The reputation of the company was stellar, with great reviews and local community awards listed. The contractor looked at the roof from the ground to check out the condition.  He explained that the roof was still in pretty decent shape, and that there were likely a couple of different places where the shingles met up with the house, etc. that had eroded causing the problem.  He said there was no way to know for sure without going on the roof, and that if there was an issue his company would only replace the entire roof instead of doing a spot repair.  The contractor’s recommendation was to try to find someone who would be willing to do that work for $500 – $700 and to give him a call in a few years when the roof was ready for replacement.  I appreciated his honesty, but it would have been nice if when I placed the call they would have informed me up front of what they would or would not be willing to do.

So on to “Plan B” where I noticed a contractor’s sign in front of a house up the street from me with a phone number. After I showed him the water spots in the house he said he would be happy to climb up to see if he might be able to identify the problem.  After spending about 10 minutes on the roof, he came back down and said he was able to locate the problem areas.  I asked when he might be able to fix them and how much it would cost (and if he was insured), and he quickly responded that he would be happy to do the work now for $100.  Approximately 30 minutes later, he finished the work and asked me to give him a call in a few years when the roof is in need of replacement.
This story is just an illustration as to how two companies can be asked to perform the same service, but provide very different experiences.  It makes me think about our business as Marketing Service Providers, and the way in which we go about providing value to clients.

Lessons Remembered:

  • Be transparent with your customers and prospects so that there are no surprises. The first contractor came out to see if there was in fact an opportunity to replace the roof, not necessarily fix my problem from a “value” standpoint.
  • Channel in and of itself is not the most important.  What matters is communication with your customer wherever they are.  Yes, in this case it was actually a tent sign at a house up the road from me, although word of mouth and the web were the initial channels that I used.
  • Timeliness is imperative.  The fact that the second contractor was willing to jump on the roof and fix it immediately was great.  If he had suggested that he come back at another date, etc. I may have continued to look at other alternatives.
  • Price matters – surprise right!

Guess who will be getting the first shot at the business when it is time for that roof to be replaced!

Steve has 14 years of experience building trusted relationships with clients and leading innovative marketing strategies in targeted one to one initiatives.  An avid Buffalo Bills fan, he hopes someday to see the team win a Super Bowl, in part to alleviate the guilt of having passed this passion on to his 12 year old son.  Steve resides in Western NY with his wife and two children.