A father’s lessons last a lifetime
I started to know my father better when I started working for him as a teenager in his grocery store in Iowa. Stocking shelves, cleaning up aisles and manning cash registers taught me something about business, but I learned more by observing my father interact with his customers. He taught me two valuable lessons about keeping customers satisfied: “if you don’t have time to do it right, when are you going to have time to do it over” and “whatever you do today, you have to get up tomorrow, look in the mirror and be proud of yourself and what you did.”
My father’s advice taught me how to be a better businessman and a better person in general. Doing things right the first time is something we all strive for, but in construction it is not just an ideal situation, it is our way of life. Clients depend upon our finished projects to serve their needs immediately. When they have to wait to complete a lengthy punch list because the job was rushed, the project ends up going over budget and the contractor is held responsible. Kajima Building and Design Group is in the business of doing things right the first time by using proven technology like BIM and Procore to manage projects, and by serving as a counselor who advises on the best course of action for the customer’s interest instead of acting like a vendor just trying to get work done.
We recently worked on a project where a client signed an agreement on a 220,000-square-foot facility and expected to occupy the empty space in a matter of days without lights, power, office space or bathrooms. In all fairness, instead of telling the client we could build out their space hastily without regard for quality, we had to caution the client to have patience as we created a proper space while adhering to an extended deadline of one month. We worked hand-in-hand with our client, and we got the job done while remaining a valued partner. We treated them fairly by not overpromising, but by being upfront about delivering the superior product they needed in a timely fashion.
It was one thing for my father to teach me how to treat customers with respect, but it was another to show me how to make decisions I could be proud of. Looking back at what we have accomplished in 2015, I can honestly say we made the right decisions on behalf of our clients. Customer service combined with competency kept my father’s grocery store customers coming back even with heavy competition. The products he sold were no different from the items sold down the street, but my father made the decision to create an atmosphere of fair prices and treatment, which kept his customers coming back over and over again. I believe that same philosophy keeps KBD Group customers coming back too.
What we are selling in construction is no different from what my father sold in his store. Steel is steel, concrete is concrete, but customer service and superior finished projects are what sets us apart from everyone else. We constantly ask what we can do to provide quality customer service. We continuously improve our in-office and on-site processes to keep our clients happy. We keep up with industry trends so we can offer quality solutions at fair prices along with the expertise needed to exceed our clients’ expectations.
In my more than 30 years in the industry, I have found when we give our clients more than they expect instead of telling them what they want to hear and not deliver on the promise, they have a tendency to keep working with us. We help them plan ahead for any foreseeable delays. We create a unified team to achieve one goal instead of three different contractors all working toward three different goals. This type of service kept our projects running smoothly throughout 2015 and will continue to do so in 2016 and beyond.
As I look ahead to the New Year, I thank my father for his example of fair customer service and I remain confident in KBD Group’s ability to exceed our clients’ expectations on current and future projects.
From all of us here at KBD Group, happy holidays.
– John Evans, Regional Manager, KBD Group USA