As a small business owner, making rent, payroll, and credit card payments on time is always a top priority, but is it worth gouging your clients to get it done? I think not …
Is it possible to give great service at a fair price these days with all of the franchise taxes, toll fees, retirement costs, healthcare costs, gasoline costs, payroll taxes, building overhead … did I mention taxes? Yes, it can be done.
Is it possible for a profitable IT company to treat their clients with respect and treat every client as if they were the only client? Yes … it is not easy, but it is do-able.
Frankenstein Computers is starting its 15th year in operation and I am proud to say that we have done it without overcharging our clients. We still have 97% of our original clients and have found that, once we service your computer or network, we basically have you as a client for life. We are an old breed, where we stand by our principles and morals to make every decision, as not all choices should be governed by the bottom line. Do we want to make more money – get a boat, drive nicer cars – sure! But not at the expense of our clients or our sleep at night. I can lay my head down on my pillow every night and confirm to myself that today, I gave every client outstanding service and at a fair price; because if I can’t do that, then I am not doing it right.
Creating a business model that will stand the test of time and prioritize customer service is hard to manage, but it can be done. The first thing to do is to strictly hire team members that share your beliefs and have the work ethic to back it up. Are these people still out there? Well they are, but they are hard to find. Once you find them, you must hold on to them with everything that you have. A great team is a thing of beauty; knowing that your staff has your back and is invested in the company is a very happy place to be. When we have a profitable quarter everyone gets a bonus. My bonus is no larger than my top guys’ and they know that. They also know how much I appreciate them, because I tell them daily. I have found that you have to manage out of respect and not fear. A team member that respects you will go to the end of the earth for you, but one that fears you might just leave you hanging …
Treating clients with respect in the IT world is really a thing of the past, in my opinion. I am always amazed to hear the horror stories that new clients tell me; about the monthly fees that they are charged, the contracts that they are stuck in, and the very poor service that they receive. I’m not saying there aren’t any good IT firms out there, but we definitely see evidence of appalling business practices. Every week, we pick up clients whose former IT company won’t even give them passwords to their own hardware, domain names, email accounts, etc. It is truly outrageous; I do not understand why the majority of companies that we take over had no idea that they don’t have to pay a monthly fee to get IT service and support. I have made it a goal to inform as many companies as I can that this is just not the case.
In conclusion, I really hope that I am not coming off as a “goodie two shoes” or a salesman with a good pitch, but just as an honest business man. I have always had clear business goals: to create a company with about 12 employees, who do a great service for the community; to provide a place where those employees can feel good about their career and be confident that they have a place to work for as long as they want; and to have clients that are genuinely happy to see us when we show up, not only because of the service we provide, but also because they like us as people and want to see us succeed. I am very proud of the company that we have built over the last 15 years, and look forward to the next 15.