Many contractors run and hide if a property manager calls with a complaint. But Clem Majerus, founder of GTW Construction, in Irving, Tex., holds a "partner intervention" session to address jobs that have run amok--a rare customer service in the industry, and one that has fueled growth of the company from $9 million in 1996 to $25 million in 1997.

An intervention works like this: Say one of GTW's typical customers, a property manager, complains about paint peeling at a site that recently had been renovated. Rather than take endless messages from the customer and put off honoring the warranty, GTW sends down the supervisor who worked on the site, as well as a representative from the paint manufacturer. Together with the property manager, they analyze why the paint is peeling and determine who is responsible for the damage. At most, such a meeting would cost $500, but it typically costs $100 to $200.

Everyone's a lot happier that high-priced lawyers don't have to be called in to resolve the problem. "We try to show an equal amount of interest in the problem the customer perceives it to be," says Majerus. Clearly the policy is effective: "The sales are primarily coming from our existing customer base," adds Majerus.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing