No one knows the importance of customer service more than Scott Colley. It’s what drove his
retail/building/service firm to form a Customer Advisory Board in
2009. The 10- to 12-person board meets once a year to discuss new
products and ways to improve company operations.
“We’ve received invaluable information from these
customers,” Colley said.
The co-owner of Colley’s Pools & Spas credits the
firm’s customer-first attitude to helping his business not
only make it through the worst of the Great Recession, but come
back strong and take more market share.
Based in Hamburg, N.Y., the nearly 50-year-old firm is owned by
Scott and his sister, Jeanine Colley. In the 1980s, they joined the
business started by their parents, Bruce and Marie. Now, along with
their locations in Fredonia, N.Y., and Erie, Pa., Colley’s
Pools & Spas serves a 16-county area. Knowing what the families
in that large area want and need is key to the company’s
When setting up the first advisory board, Colley didn’t
want to play it safe — he wanted to hear from customers who
weren’t happy with the company’s services. “The
staff was incredulous. ‘You want that guy?’ they
asked,” Colley recalled. “Yes, and he said he now
thinks better of us for contacting him.”
Always mindful of its clientele, Colley’s has implemented
other programs, too, such as Customer Appreciation Day, free pool
schools and $200 gift certificates for referrals. The service
technicians even ask customers to display a Colley’s sign in
their yards after visits, in return for $10 gift certificates
— and people do call in after seeing the yard signs.
“We try to take care of our customers over and beyond what
we need to do,” Colley said.
Appreciation doesn’t stop with the clients. The company
also inspires loyalty among the staff of 110 (in season). Several
employees have been on board for 20 or more years, and one
superintendent has reached the four-decade mark. The firm
established a hall of fame in their honor, and Colley said
customers are impressed when they view the photos, with labels
showing the years each veteran has served.
This enthusiasm bubbles over to the younger generation, too.
Colley’s 7-year-old son once gave a friend a business card,
and the classmate’s mother called Colley to check it out,
then said, “Your son’s quite a salesman.” Indeed,
a $90,000 pool sale was the final result.