A lot of people thought Anna Wuchter and her husband Butch were a bit bonkers when they announced a new business focused exclusively on deck building. Just decks? Surely there couldn’t be enough work, the naysayers said. The whole thing was crazy.
Turned out, the Wuchters were crazy like a fox. For years, she had worked in corporate quality control, developing customer service standards for Fortune 500 companies. Now the deck building company would give her the ideal platform to cash in on those same skills. “All those years developing quality control really prepared us,” she says. “I wanted our customer service to be far superior to anyone else’s from day one.”
Quality control meant hiring her own crews rather than subs. It also meant specializing even further with Trex decking materials. The result? Today, the Wuchters’ decking company is consistently booked out three months in advance and is looking to add another crew to keep up with demand.
But Wuchter says superior customer service is the real key to their success. “The customer is always right,” she says. “Even when they’re not, we can frame the situation so they feel like they’re feelings are being validated. We’ll even lose money on a job if we have to just to make sure a customer is happy.”
- Rather than a typical remodeling project management system, Wuchter uses BaseCamp. The system costs just $100 a month and allows Wuchter to create and share project details with crews and customers on computers and smartphones. The system has been so efficient, it replaced the need for a project manager. “It’s really been a game changer,” she says.
- Offering customers discounts to install decks in the winter gives Wuchter a way to provide year-round work to crews—a key incentive to keep her best and brightest. “It’s probably cheaper to shut down,” she says. “But it really benefits the customer and the employees.
- Part of Wuchter’s customer service includes sending a gift basket at the end of each job that’s over $20,000. For less costly jobs, customers receive a hand-written thank you card. Then she asks customers to review their work on either Angie’s List or the Trex website. “We definitely take reviews into consideration,” she says. “If there’s any reason they cannot rate us 5 stars, we say, ‘please tell us why.’”