Victim of Our Own Success

We have a large customer base. This statement gives me more pride than anyone can know. It is the result of hard work of three generations that have operated under some consistent premises – do good work, do what you say, foster the relationships, and be fair.

We have always staffed for swells of work. This actually is to maintain the lengthy warranty program that comes standard with our roofs. Over the last decade, staffing has been necessary to handle the volatile storm years over the first half of the last decade.

Now, introduce a true catastrophe, which I will call 2011. Three tornadoes, numerous hail storms, heavy winds and rains, with the damage spread over multiple areas of St. Louis and beyond. Now, a catastrophe by definition is a situation where there are inadequate resources to properly respond to everyone’s needs in a timely fashion. Simply put, someone is going to be unhappy.

We are in an industry where our customers are wary of the ‘competition’. We are of a society where inconvenience is not an option in business. What do you do when everyone wants YOUR services at the SAME time. The question becomes how do you manage a catastrophe – how do you keep that someone from being unhappy?

I have accepted two things in trying times of business. Of course, I say trying times when the roofing industry in STL will be a record breaking year. I say trying times because I look beyond the catastrophe and question if we did all we could to take care of our customers – previous, first time, or potential.

So, the first acceptance is endure. Put in more hours, improve business practices, invest in resources – never let up on your company mission. The second is believe. Believe you are doing all you can. Believe your customers will appreciate the efforts. Believe that the public knows you are doing all you can. Believe that everything is fixable.

We still have a ways to go to repair our community from the storm season. We will get everyone happy soon.

-Jason Shupp