Josh Keeney started his business in the maw of the Great Recession, and that has made all the difference. “It gave us our culture. It gave us a different view,” says Keeney. “Had we started the business at the peak of the economy, I don’t know if we’d be as grounded and customer focused. We really had to understand what customer service is.”

Today, Keeney’s mantra is to not just to have customers, but rather customers for life. “A lot of guys, once they’re paid, they just put customers out to pasture,” Keeney says. “We earned the right to have them as customers, and I don’t ever want them to feel like past customers.”

That means he’ll do whatever it takes to make customers happy—and keep them that way—no matter how trivial the request. For example, one customer asked to have his downspout 1 inch shorter. When Keeney’s crew showed up to make it happen, the customer was shocked. “But the mileage we’ve gotten out of that customer on a referral basis is incredible,” Keeney says. “He just lights people when they call.”

For Keeney that’s what exceeding expectations is all about. “People have come to expect mediocrity at best,” he says. When you exceed expectations upfront and do the same on the back end, that really blows them away. You shouldn’t have to run and hide from a customer. If you’re doing that, you’re in the wrong business.”


-- Customers get emails and pre-mailers that fully explain the process and start setting expectations before a salesperson ever shows up. “They know from the moment we step onto their property every step of the way it’s going to be done and why it’s being done,” Keeney says. “And if they know what to expect, it’s a lot easier to exceed their expectations.”

-- Keeney uses an array of technology to keep customers in the loop throughout the project. A video analysis, sometimes using drones, shows the scope of the project. Then Keeney sends customers photos of the project as the job progresses. And he’s always careful to keep them apprised of any schedule changes. “They love that stuff,” he says. “It’s part of the experience.”

-- Years after the sale of a project, Keeney continues to survey customers to find out if there’s been any problems—and fix them at no cost. “People aren’t always going to let you know there’s a problem unless you ask,” he says. “Years later, I want to make sure they’re as happy as the day after the sale.”