Like some of the best companies, American Vision Windows was started because of a problem. Bill and Kathleen Herren needed new windows and had a hard time finding a responsive contractor. Then the Herrens found themselves waiting months for the actual installation. “It was always an excuse, and it just went on and on,” says Kathleen.
The Herrens saw an opportunity, and 17 years later, they’re running a nearly $50 million window installation business with five offices, hundreds of employees, and an ambitious goal of 15% to 20% annual growth. The success goes back to the Herrens’ initial experience—and making sure none of their customers go through what they endured.
It starts the moment an estimate is given. Customers who don’t move forward get a call from the Customer Care Center to find out why and what they thought of the experience. This gives the company “an internal reality check,” says Chris Perez, sales vice president.
Customers who do move forward get even more care through what Perez calls “touch points”: a packet explaining all the steps involved, an email thanking them for their order, and a video further detailing the process. Software tracks customer info and keeps the business digital, making it easier to mine data and keep track of warranties.
After the first measure, the company completes a second measure to ensure everything is correct. Perez says this second measure means the company has fewer reorders, thus saving money and improving customer satisfaction. One measure of that satisfaction is the 40% to 45% repeat and referral business.
Employees at American, which doesn’t use subs, seem just as satisfied. Perez says the average tenure of salespeople is about 10 years and some of the original salespeople are still with the company. All new hires must pass a rigorous screening process followed by several months of ride-alongs. But they’re rewarded with generous benefits and steady work, even in the off season, Perez says.
“Nobody leaves,” he says. “We’re sort of family.”