Since Sign Brothers started in 2007, we’ve strived to be a business that pushes our team members to be better people and that adds value to our customers and our community. To do that, we specified five core values that would serve as guideposts to make sure we never put short term gain above providing lasting value. This blog post is part of a series of posts breaking down each of our core values. In our first two posts we covered our first core values: “Integrity” and “Quality.” This post will break down our third core value: “Do What’s Best For The Customer.” In this post we’ll be looking at where this core value comes from, why we chose this core value as our third core value, and how this core value impacts our day to day operations from our highest level leadership making company decisions to our newest team members. Let’s dive in…
What do we mean when we say “Do What’s Best For The Customer”? Here’s Co-Founder and Brother Michael Seibert on what this core value means and how it plays out practically:
“In a nutshell, we want our employees to prioritize happy customers more than profit.
The reason this value is so important is because it speaks to the core of any business. Our business (any business) exists to fill a need for their customers. At its core, a business doesn’t exist to make money, provide jobs, or build cool things. All those things can come as a byproduct of providing the customer with what he or she needs. People working in a business can occasionally lose sight of this fundamental fact, but we did not want that to ever be the case at The Sign Brothers. Our team members make decisions every day that help fulfill our obligations to our clients. Some of those decisions are clear & easy. Others are more difficult (the gray area), giving rise to a question in the mind of a team member, ‘what’s the right thing to do in this situation.’
By reiterating this core value, we have coached our employees to answer that question: the right thing to do is whatever answer has the customer’s best interest in mind. It might be more costly on a particular project to ‘do what’s best for the customer,’ when deciding to rework or stay late to get the job done right. But that is what we expect because that’s our standard; that’s our value.”
Keeping The Long Game In Mind
We knew that if we ran our business with integrity and offered a quality service, then if we focused on creating valuable long term relationships with customers that helped their businesses grow, profitability would fall in line. This is where “Do What’s Best For The Customer” comes into play. Doing right by the customer is a natural extension of integrity and quality and is only possible when a business has firmly established integrity, and has done the work to hone their skills to offer quality products and services.
It’s easy to approach business with a scarcity mindset, especially when starting out. After all, around 50% of small businesses fail in the first 5 years (Zippia). In an attempt to be successful, lots of small business owners can find themselves asking questions like: “How can we make the most profit with the least amount of effort?” While from a productivity standpoint, this can be helpful for cutting out inefficiencies, it’s not a strong long term mindset to operate out of.
Strategic Partnership Over Transactional Service
If you focus on providing value long term instead of nickel and diming customers at every opportunity, as long as you are working with the right customers, and have set your pricing appropriately, you move beyond a commodity that they HAVE to buy, to a strategic partner that helps them be a more effective business.
There are lots of sign companies out there that can make a sign. Sign brothers is focused on understanding the business needs of its customers and designing a sign solution that perfectly aligns with their business and branding goals. Like all of our core values, they don’t stop at the executive level, but all our team members know our core values and actively use them in their everyday interactions.
Here’s what Account Manager Chris Nelms has to say about this core value:
“Doing what’s best for the customer is one of the foundations of our company. It’s how we’ve gotten to where we are today. We don’t view our customers as transactions, but rather as relationships that we get to build with those in the community. No matter the situation, we strive to help the customer and leave a positive impact on them. We want anybody who works with us to know that they are working with individuals who care.”
Values Are Contagious
We’ve found that when we set the tone of our customer relationships by making decisions that are in our customers best interest, that they are more appreciative of our services, more responsive to our advise, and that a little bit of that core value rubs off on them.
Instead of budget and timeline conversations being hardball competitions with customers to see who can win, we can play on the same team against whatever signage, branding, and design problems they are trying to tackle and come up with a solution that helps everybody win.
How This Value Impacts Our Process
While this all sounds great, how does this value affect the way we plan, design, manufacture, and install custom signage solutions? We’ve created a detailed process that allows us to consistently deliver signage solutions to large scale commercial real estate developers and multi-family housing developers. Here’s a snapshot of how we designed our process to put the customer first:
signage design influences
Doing what’s best for the customer includes understanding our customers so that we can offer them the perfect signage solutions for their needs. We don’t create signs in a vacuum. First, we get an understanding of your brand identity and goals with signage. Are you a multifamily developer working on a luxury product that needs signs that fit with your development’s world class living experience? Are you operating a healthcare facility that needs to make sure your signs are clear and compliant?
We are very familiar with the different compliance protocols for each kind of development and can guide our clients through creating the perfect signage solution that fits their budget, branding, and compliance regulations.
takeoffs: Planning With Construction In Mind
Before we throw a number at you for a signage solution, we will analyze your construction designs and use our cloud-based software platform to place a sign at each spot that needs it. This allows us to know exactly what signs we need to design, how many will be manufactured, and where our installers will need to go.
budgets: Multiple Options To Fit Your Goals
Once we know exactly what signs are needed and where, we will create three different solutions at three different price points. Each price point will include different materials: the lowest price point with the most budget friendly materials, and the highest price point using the most robust materials available.
project management: Proactive Communication Throughout The Process
There’s nothing worse than having to bug subcontractors about each stage of a construction process. While signage is only one part of a major construction project, we make sure we clearly communicate timeline and what to expect in our process.
Once we start the process we are proactive to get everything we need from you and you team so that we can provide you with your signage solution on time and on budget. We are proactive about keeping you up to date on everything from planning to designing to manufacturing to installation.
“Doing What’s Best For The Customer” is important to us, from the way we designed our process to handling unforeseen hiccups in complicated projects in a way that keep your best interests in mind, from our top leadership to every member of our design, sign production, and installation teams.
Are you working on a project that includes a multifaceted signage solution? Fill out our contact form and we’d love to talk to you about your project.