Zach knew he could do a better job.
That’s how the story of his company begins, like many other great companies – I can do this, except better! For Zach, his company grew out of customer service – or rather, the lack of it.
Zach’s story also turns out to be a pretty decent echo of ours – and a key reason why many of our clients stick around for years.
The problem was obvious to Zach, from the beginning. He was working in a diesel dealership’s repair shop then, working his way up from mechanic to service manager.
“We’d sit there and tell a customer and tell them we’d give them a diagnosis in 3 days. Weeks pass. The customer would call, and the dealership would tell them “.. Oh yeah, that’ll be a few days” and the process repeats. Ultimately, it would take 3 or 4 weeks – and it may only have been a fuse, something that could have been fixed in a few days, not a month,” Zach says, his frustration still obvious.
For his customers, time is money. Diesel repair often serves trucking fleets and large diesel vehicles that service oil fields; keeping vehicles on the road is critical for these companies. Yet the dealerships Zach worked for constantly lagged on delivering repairs and communicating about those repairs.
“We like to call it the dealership mentality,” he continues. “They have guaranteed business; they don’t necessarily care or strive for customer service. They’re more about their numbers. If their numbers are good, they don’t care.”
He knew he could do it better. But he needed help, and he knew it was key to work with the right people. When he met Jose and Ariel, two brothers working for their father’s painting and coating business, and started talking to them about his idea, they went for it – and founded a diesel repair shop together 18 months ago.
They kept one goal in mind: Have the best customer service. They wanted to be trusted; they wanted to be known for being proactive, rather than reactive, with their customers. Unlike the dealerships they’d all worked for in the past, they’d deliver estimates to ensure no customer got blindsided by high repair costs. Regular, proactive updates happen with every customer. And if it’s a quick fix, it’ll get fixed – quickly. Like us, they wanted no surprises.
Word spread quickly. Zach’s company hasn’t had to do any marketing yet – “no website, no social media” Zach says, proudly – because satisfied customers have done that for them. Steady incoming work quickly proved their strategy right.
“We’re in this to make money – but not to get rich,” Zach says.
It’s hard for Zach to overlook bad customer service, now. Their standards are high. If they can keep a customer informed, fuse by fuse, day by day, about their truck’s engine, what’s stopping everyone else?
“You can trust until you have a reason not to. True for relationships, true for business.”
– Zach, diesel repair shop owner & Far West Capital client
At first, Zach and his business partners worked with another company to factor their invoices. They weren’t impressed, but they also hadn’t worked with a factor before. They weren’t sure what to expect. But even those expectations started to crumble quickly.
“We had to do all the legwork. When it came to resolving issues or needing help, they’d shut it down,” Zach says. “They gave us a deal, but that didn’t really help in the long run.”
Finally, he asked his tax advisor for help, who introduced him to Far West Capital.
“From our first conversation, I knew Zach was our sort of client: honest and hard working and growth oriented,” says SVP David Phillips. “We want to make funding processes as efficient as possible for clients like Zach, so they can focus on servicing their customers and growing their business.”
“It has been significantly better with Far West Capital,” Zach says. “We needed our credit limit raised. David Phillips (VP Central Texas) realized it before we even needed to ask, made the argument, and based on the business we had, our credit limit was raised. Just like that.”
For Zach, maintaining trust – and great customer service – is all about the people.
“We don’t hire as much for skillset as we hire for personality and trust,” he says. “It gets more and more important as we grow. Resumes are important, but I need to trust that you care as much about the customer’s outcome as I do.”
Trust is hard to measure, but you know when it’s broken. For us, a key part of our mantra over here is “no surprises” – aka trust. To measure that, we really like these questions, which we ask our clients – including Zach – every quarter:
- How are we doing with our promises? Are we doing what we said we would?
- Do you have what you need?
- Anything else we can do?
- What can we do better? What would get us fired?
- Who else should we be talking to?
(We borrowed these from Sandler training, which everyone should do – whether they’re in sales or not.)
Zach has his own version of our mantra.
“Customers need to stay happy, and everything else will fall into place.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Far West Capital is in the business of funding the goals of high-growth entrepreneurs. Know a great company in need of capital to unleash their potential? Send them here, and we’ll give them a call.