Customer Service: Supporting the Competition

In 2000, I worked for a company who manufactured glu-laminated columns (or “glu-lams”) for post frame buildings. My job was to call on pole builders and companies which provided post frame building kits, to introduce the features and benefits of the product. I also interacted with lumberyards and wholesale lumber companies, in order to get them to supply the product to builders, as well as meeting with Building Departments to expose them to glu-lams.

As I had been a pole builder in the 1990’s, many of the builders I was calling on were my former competitors. Out of personal curiosity, I asked many of them why it was they only constructed buildings, and did not offer building kits. Universally the answer was when they had sold a kit (or kits), the clients were forever contacting them to ask questions about how to construct the building from the kit they had purchased. Mostly, they just didn’t want to be bothered with extending customer service into what may have felt like to them as full time “tech support”.

I determined the key to success (from a provider standpoint), was in having great plans and written instructions. In the case of Hansen Pole Buildings, rarely (as in once every few months), do I as Technical Director ever get a technical support question which cannot be answered by merely letting clients know where in the Construction Manual the answer can be found.

There are some interesting inquiries, however.

Here is a recent one:

“Hansen buildings, I have been to your website and have been impressed.

Seams you sell some nice building packages. I am a building designer,

draftsmen, and estimator for a post frame copy [sic company] in Illinois. I am presently

biding out a project the has a flying gable. I saw a picture of project

number 08-0514 and noticed that is had a flying gable. Could you give some

assistance or advise on how you trim it seeing that a regular rake would

not work because of the ribs. I would appreciate you help.



In my mind, one of the greatest compliments which can be paid is when another business in our industry is contacting us, asking how to solve a problem. I like to give other businesses the same friendly customer service our own clients receive.

I’ve always believe in sharing knowledge throughout the industry, so I Emailed back the solution.

“In order to properly flash the flying gable, order custom rake trims which do not have the return on the roof side (it will be flat, with a hem only). Use expanding closures (1″ x 1″ minimum after expansion), to seal the edge of the rake trims on top of the roof and you should not experience any issues.”

Although I have scratched my head when I get questions on the construction of building kits not provided by Hansen Buildings (where is the support from the company they purchased from I wonder?), I continue to give my best advice to help them solve their problem.  Whether the issue is from one of our clients, or one of our competitors, we offer the best possible customer service, seven days a week.

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