Chris Zazo is certainly a glass-half-full kind of guy, with a positive, pay-it-forward attitude. During his presentation titled “Customers for Life,” he shared stories that demonstrated the power of excellent customer service. At the centerpiece of his discussion, Zazo, the president and CEO of Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, detailed how his company responded to a new customer who was faced with a devastating situation.
Zazo received the call one morning from his project manager. He recounted how the conversation quickly degenerated into something out of a Beavis and Butthead cartoon. “Fire — there’s a fire!” said the PM. “What fire? Where?” asked Zazo, who eventually determined there was a fire at the jobsite. “Is it ours or theirs?” Without further hesitation, he then jumped into his truck and headed to the scene. When he got there, he found utter chaos. Fire trucks, news crews and even members of the Red Cross were on hand, passing out water to evacuated employees.
Zazo soon encountered the building owner, who immediately got in his face, saying, “I hope you have a lot of insurance because you are going to pay dearly for this!” As blood pressures rose, Zazo said he felt like a “dead man walking,” but he assured the building owner his crew members would remain on the site, ready to help as soon as they got the go-ahead from the fire department.
Eventually the fire marshall determined the cause of the fire was electrical in nature and had nothing to do with the roofing crew. The building owner didn’t know where to turn. Zazo jumped in, telling the owner, “I’ve got a crew here on standby. These guys are here with you just like I’m here with you. We started this process, and we’re going to finish it.”
This defining moment built a bond of trust between Zazo and the building owner. “We started the process for him — boarding up the building, looking for a restoration company and walking him through what he needed to do.”
This project was early in his career, Zazo recalled, and about a month later, he realized all the inventory for the job was still sitting in the parking lot. More importantly, all his money was tied up in that inventory, and he had to wait until other repairs were completed to finish the roof. “My only hope was my new friend, the building owner,” he said. “So, I went to him and asked, ‘Do you think you can help me?’ and he said, ‘Of course. You were there for me when I needed help.’ This man is now an Aspenmark customer for life. We do everything for him now.”
Zazo closed with an audience takeaway about a project that came to him indirectly through his alma mater, The Ohio State University. The president of a company was looking for a contractor when he discovered that Zazo had attended OSU. He was awarded the project, which went along smoothly. Three months later, a large Texas hailstorm led Aspenmark to a plethora of work for this building owner. It was only after the work was completed that Zazo found out the customer had first noticed him in an e-mail thread with some funny OSU football photos at the bottom. “Prospects are everywhere,” Zazo reminded his audience. “What started as an initial e-mail inquiry generated by a fellow alum led to a very profitable and long-term relationship.”