CONGRATULATIONS to Hess Air Inc. in Alamo, Texas for winning The Monitor’s 2011 Readers Choice Award!

I had the pleasure of sitting down with the General Manager, Kimberly Hess from Hess Air Inc., after they had received The 2011 Reader’s Choice Award from the Alamo’s local newspaper, The Monitor. The Reader’s Choice Award is given to the business with the most votes in its category.  When I asked her what skills within their company she would credit to winning this award, she boldly responded “first and foremost, customer satisfaction and our great employees.” Luis and Rosemary Hess are the owners of the Hess Air Inc. and Kimberly voiced with confidence that, “their [Luis and Rosemary’s] dedication to the company and their strong belief in customer service is why our company is where it is today.”

The idea of customer satisfaction and service excellence has begun to take shape and definition for me over the last few years.  I’ve started to see that customer service does not simply stem from the goal of selling a specific product but rather it results from a mentality of evaluation, preparation, and achievement. Here are the three basic aspects I’ve learned about customer service:

First, there must be an evaluation of our own beliefs.  If we don’t believe in something that we are implementing into our business it is very likely that we will not be able to convey its importance to a customer because we yourselves don’t even “buy into it.” Customers want to feel our enthusiasm and excitement about our products but they won’t believe in our products until the business affiliates believe in them first.

Secondly, we must actively evaluate our community by taking an assessment of potential clientele, a consideration of the target market, and an appraisal of the target locale.  At this point, you have to see the importance in active community involvement.  Along with this comes the ability to talk with clients about the community because what better connection between a contractor and a client then community news.

Lastly, we must pass on what we’ve learned from past experiences to clients as well as to employees and other contractors.  This last aspect of the customer satisfaction process will most likely come into play after we have evaluated the course, prepared ourselves for success, and then achieved a goal (E.P.A.).  Customers like to hear about our experiences and what we have learned.  They appreciate our “nuggets of knowledge” and see them as useful insight.  Passing on advice adds to the customer’s trust and confidence in our company, our product, and us.

Just to put these three ideas into a smaller perspective, my first real encounter with the importance of customer service was when I worked at Bath and Body Works in my local mall several years ago.  I learned very quickly that customers loved a smiling face to greet them at the door (enthusiasm and purpose), they liked to talk about themselves (learning about target market and locale), and they liked my suggestions on fragrances (desire to know what I’ve learned).  This small little glimpse into one end of the customer service industry was enough to give me a better understanding of what customers want.  Although the investments are obviously much larger in the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing industries; the desires of the customer is almost identical.

It is this positive message and display of service excellence that has allowed Hess Air Inc. to win over the Rio Grande Valley community.  They have an excitement for providing their services to their local community.  When I congratulated Kimberly she said with enthusiasm and a big smile, “Thank you! We are so excited! It is an honor to win this award in such an unbiased competition and it is encouraging to see that our message is getting out to our community.”  But this is not the first time that Hess Air Inc. has been highlighted in their local area for their excellent customer satisfaction, they have won The Monitor’s Reader’s Choice Award several times. That tells you something about the effective consistency in their message, successful delivery of great service, steady addition of new clients and stable retention of old clientele.

Along with their enthusiasm and belief in their company and in strong customer service, Hess Air has also seen their target market’s needs and made a way to meet those needs. Every local area likes to be recognized for their unique qualities.  There can’t be a cut-and-dry formula that will fit-the-mold for every community in the United States.  With the hot, dry, intense heat in Texas no one would want to be without air conditioning for any amount of time.  This is an area that Hess Air has capitalized on. They have seen their community’s need for convenient and accessible service hours so they have met this need by offering 24 hours a day and 7 days a week service.  By doing this, they have ensured that their specific target market has the ability to always be taken care of and always comfortable.

Hess Air Inc. has been in business for 36 years and they have a great deal of knowledge and advice that can be passed on to clients, their own employees, and even other contractors that need encouragement from a successful business.  Kimberly offered wise words of encouragement as she explained that customers have been hit hard enough with uncertainty and confusion during this harsh economic time but it is reassuring to do business with a company that encourages unparalleled customer satisfaction.  Kimberly said a major key to their company’s service excellence is remembering that, “it is so important to do what is expected of you and more.”  It’s this kind of dependability and dedication to clients that makes a company standout and stand strong.  Kimberly also encourages other contractors in the HVAC industry, and other related industries, to train their employees and to continue the training process.  She stated, “S.E.T. (Service Excellence Training ) has been wonderful for us, I would encourage other businesses to train their employees in customer service and satisfaction in the manner that Todd Liles teaches.”

While my three points of customer service are very basic, I still believe they ring tried and true in whatever industry they are used.  If you want to increase your company’s customer satisfaction skills let Service Excellence Training help you.  We fully believe in the importance of customer satisfaction and we want to help train your company in areas that will make your business successful and profitable.  It is uplifting to see businesses grow and thrive even in the midst of adversity and it is inspiring to see businesses that create their foundation on service excellence.

I want to thank Kimberly Hess for taking time out of her busy day to meet with me.  As well as give a big ‘Thank You’ to Hess Air Inc. for being a dedicated client to Service Excellence Training and for providing your local clients with true service excellence!

-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training.