KG is back! This is the final part of our 7 Centers of Management Attention series with Ken Goodrich, CEO of Goettl, and this time we’re honing in on Client Fulfillment. If you haven’t read or listened to our previous episodes, be sure to catch up! This is the episode that ties together everything we’ve covered so far.
Here are the first three episodes in the series:
Ken has announced some really incredible news during our recording of this series. Goettl has recapitalized and partnered with a new PE company, and is in the final stages of a new transaction with an industry-leading multiple. For Ken, the exciting part of this isn’t so much the money, but rather the accomplishment. It’s a sign that he and the Goettl team have continued to raise the bar, and now they’ve ascended to a point where they are truly in the leagues of top companies in the nation; not just other service companies.
Some backstory is important here to contextualize this deal. In 2018, Goettl had brought in a PE sponsor, and in the process Ken had brought his management team together and introduced equity for them as incentive to help them grow the business. Ken told the team they were going to work hard for 1,000 days, and asked them for their all. The goal was to 10x the value of the company, and for everyone on the management team to have a seven figure wealth gain. They have rallied together since day 1, and 45 days away from a final close, Ken is reflecting on what they’ve accomplished.
Between Ken and 12 of his partners, they were able to 10x Goettl and command an industry-leading multiple. This isn’t just from hard work, either. Ken points to using these 7 Centers every single day throughout their 1,000 journey. What could you accomplish in 1,000 days with the right systems and processes?
Client fulfillment is a broad term that Michael E. Gerber refers to in The E Myth. In Ken’s eyes, client fulfillment is really about delivering on your promise to the customer. It’s fulfilling the contract, and your obligation to the customer. With Goettl, it’s things like installing an HVAC system, doing the repairs, etc. Once the job is booked and converted to a sale, client fulfillment begins.
There is sort of a “chicken and the egg” with the other 6 Centers of Management Attention. None of the 7 Centers are necessarily the most important, but rather each works in harmony with each to create an overall system for your business to move in the right direction smoothly and efficiently. Consider the first 6 Centers as a means of supporting the 7th and final Center, Client Fulfillment. You can’t miss out on this one, because it’s the product your customer receives as a result of all your work.
With Goettl, the client fulfillment process is about several things. The “product”, or what the customer is receiving in the end, is tailored for more than being what is promised. It’s also designed to be proprietary in the sense that it stands apart from what others offer, and the process is detailed, deliberate, and planned out from start to finish to be the Goettl way for doing things.
When Ken first started as an owner, he was more of an expert technician than anything else. He was into the quality of the work and their unique way of doing things, and took a lot of pride in this. It can bring in repeat business and be a major factor in client fulfillment levels. However, as things grow, many owners begin to dilute this highly valuable component of what is being delivered by hiring others to do the work. You may tell them to do things a certain way, but it just doesn’t always get done that way. In order to ensure a high level of quality and that your way of doing things is actually being done, you have to have a system in place. Otherwise, the quality of your product will get watered down.
When you get started in business, you’re the salesman, installer, supervisor, and everything else. It’s your brand, and everything is personal. Then you grow, and things get watered down as you try unsuccessfully to duplicate yourself. How do you make sure that everything continues to be done your way? You have to go through the processes and document everything. For example, how does your company install an air conditioner? What sets you apart? Why is your method the best? From showing up at the house to the final QA check, you have to document and perfect the system to the point of timing the process. Once you have things documented in detail, you can train and duplicate the proprietary system you have created.
If you aren’t quite sure where to start with all of this, it can be as simple as a checklist. Go out and build a system with your team in a warehouse your way. Put together a checklist and make sure no one is doing things without doing it your way. Do this for every product you are delivering. This way, when you sell something, you will have a high degree of confidence that you will be able to deliver what you’ve promised to the customer. No more worrying about one person doing things the right way and someone else doing things a different way.
We make this mistake quite a bit in our industry. You’ll hire an installer with decades of experience and assume they know what they’re doing. And they might! But they don’t know how your company does things. They don’t have that special sauce that only your company offers; the thing that makes your product different from everybody else. You have to give your team a playbook for each process, train them, make sure they are getting it right, and then allow them to serve your customers. Otherwise, it’s going to be the Wild West.
Ken is speaking from experience. When he bought Goettl, his manager wanted to put together a separate warranty department with 8 full-time people just to handle warranty work from the past. This shocked Ken, and he immediately investigated why on earth they would need this. It turns out it was just from a lot of very poor installations in the past. They didn’t have systems in place, and everyone was doing things their way instead of the Goettl way. Ken went back and contacted every single customer who had an installation over the last 3 years and did a QA inspection on those that granted permission.
The result of these QA inspections? Goettl re-installed 640 systems. This may seem crazy, and it was certainly not cheap, but it’s what Ken had to do. They didn’t need a team for warranty work, they simply needed to get things right the first time. That was the birth of the client fulfillment system for installations.
If you’re just starting out or struggling with business, how do you get started creating a client fulfillment system? The barest element is a checklist that details your steps of how to complete a project, and then holding your team accountable for staying true to the checklist every single time. This is how you are going to protect and maintain both the quality of your work and the proprietary factors that set your product apart from the competition. Combined with your passion, this is what will give your company that secret ingredient that results in the best product available to customers; ultimately giving you the lift you need to get where you want to go.
Goettl isn’t stopping after this first 1,000 days. Ken and his team are continuing their mission to Goettl-ize the nation and are already considering the next big goal. The 7 Centers of Management Attention are the blueprint to the billion-dollar building blocks of Goettl. You can use the very same 7 Centers, avoiding many of the pitfalls Ken and countless others have struggled through. This is how you finally go from being trapped inside your business to working outside of it; using it as a vehicle to get what you want from life!
This concludes the final part of our series, and we’re hopeful that it helps you on your journey. We also congratulate Ken and the Goettl family on their continued success! As you’re implementing the wisdom from the 7 Centers of Management Attention, don’t overwhelm yourself. Start fixing one thing at a time, getting the systems in place and remembering this is a process that never truly stops. It’s a huge time investment, but that’s your job! Create systems for your people to follow so that they can fulfill the contracts you’ve made with your clients to keep them happy. Then, it’s a matter of keeping them accountable for that; leading the systems and leading your people to follow these systems. What do your next 1,000 days look like?