8 Keys to Customer Service Success

Julie Bien is Customer Service Rep for ProVia

Julie Bien is Customer Service Rep for ProVia

By Julie Bien

Here at ProVia, our mission is “To serve, by caring for details in ways others won’t.” You can find this pretty easily on our website. We don’t hide it in a tiny font on some page you have to click through ten links to get to, because it’s integral to who we are as a company. We understand that making sure our customers feel heard and valued is key to your success and ours. We’re a team. I’ve worked in Customer Service for a long time and there are some key ideas that are incredibly important to the success of our team. I’d love to share these with you so you can get to know us, and how we operate, a little better.

8 KEYS TO CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCCESS:

1. Every customer is important.
This is the core of who we are. I can’t “care for details in ways others won’t” if I don’t believe this. Whether you’re the most recent customer to sign on with ProVia, or you’ve been with us since the beginning, you’re important, and we value your opinion.

2. We don’t know everything.
Sometimes we like to think we know everything. But when it comes down to it, we’re going to get questions we don’t know the answer to. What I’ve found is that most customers don’t expect us to know every answer, but they do expect us to be able to find every answer. We have a team of experts here at ProVia that we can leverage to get any information you need about our product lines and we’re committed to getting it right the first time, even if we have to spend some time looking for the answer you need.

3. Do what you say you’re going to do.
This can be easy to forget when the busy days come. If you say you’re going to call someone back, call them back. Even if you have to call your customer to say you don’t have an answer yet, that’s okay! It’s better than leaving them twisting in the wind wondering what’s going on. If the customer has to follow up because you didn’t, it probably won’t be a pleasant call.

keys4. When I’m wrong, I fix it. Now.
As much as we try, we don’t always get it right. Return calls don’t get made. A re-order doesn’t get entered correctly. But we believe in the value of recovering together. That means if we make a mistake in the manufacturing or ordering process we admit it. And we fix it. Now. We take ownership and offer accountability: “Here’s what I’m going to do to fix this issue today.”

5. We don’t just listen when suggestions are offered.
We take action! Your opinions matter and we take them into account as we work to improve our offerings. We have a feedback system we use to forward all of your questions, comments and concerns to the appropriate departments. We’re always looking for ways to improve what we do. In fact, Continuous Improvement is another one of our Core Values.

6. Have fun! Not every word of every conversation has to be about ProVia.
We want to get to know you! We might not ever know you as well as your best friend, but we still want to have some fun with you. How’s the weather? Any fun plans for the weekend? Did you just come home from an awesome vacation? Talk to us about it! We have a great team here in Customer Service. We’re always ready to share a laugh. If you can’t think of anything to talk about, ask us about our monthly “theme days.” Some of the costumes our teammates come up with are pretty funny.

7. Come see us!
We offer tours of our plants (you can set this up with your account manager), and we love it when customers stop by at Customer Service to say hi. It’s always fun to put a face with the voice and spend a few minutes chatting.

8. Please give us a call.
Don’t hesitate to call us. That’s what we’re here for. No question is silly if you don’t know the answer to it. And you know what, if we do decide it’s a silly question, we’ll tease you about it. But it’s all in good fun. And you’re allowed to tease us if we give you a silly answer, too!

If you’ve stuck around to read the end of this blog, I hope you’ve realized we like to have fun while we’re at work. But we also take our jobs pretty seriously. We strive to be the premier building products manufacturer, providing unmatched quality and service. Customer satisfaction is a top priority and we will do whatever is needed to make sure you’re taken care of. So, thanks for being a ProVia customer. I hope we get the chance to talk soon!

Expansion Into Growth Markets (Part 1): Manufactured Stone

Brian Miller is President of ProVia

Brian Miller is President of ProVia

By Brian Miller

One of our most important jobs as a building products manufacturer is making sure we’re positioned to serve growth markets of the future. As we do so, we must also devise ways to supply these markets using the most efficient, state-of-the-art production processes. At ProVia we have major initiatives underway that fulfill these goals. Here I’d like to share our progress in the area of manufactured stone, plus what this means for our dealers, distributors and ultimately the homeowner.

Stone adds texture and complements other elements of the home's exterior. Shown here are ProVia products: siding in Antique White and Nautica, Ohio Vintage Limestone, and entry door in Pecan (photo from ProVia’s Designer Collections lookbook).

Stone adds texture and complements other elements of the home’s exterior. Shown here are ProVia products: siding in Antique White and Nautica, Ohio Vintage Limestone, and entry door in Pecan (photo from ProVia’s Designer Collections lookbook).

Manufactured Stone Poised for Growth
Heritage Stone by ProVia® has grown significantly since we purchased the company in 2011. Manufactured stone has tremendous visual appeal because it adds texture and complements many other types of products, such as vinyl siding and entry doors. It can be used on the exterior or interior of a home or commercial building.

Stone’s growing popularity is driven by the extremely authentic looks that can be accomplished with today’s manufacturing technology. We don’t envision that this will slow down. In fact, we anticipate that over the next couple of decades, manufactured stone will be a continuously growing product line.

ProVia’s New Manufactured Stone Facility
We recognize that we need to be well positioned for the upcoming growth of the manufactured stone market. In November 2014 we broke ground for a new stone manufacturing facility in Sugarcreek, Ohio. The new facility for Heritage Stone will replace the existing plant located in Zanesville, Ohio, and will include the latest production technology to optimize quality control and manufacturing efficiency. As you can see in the photo below, the construction progress on the facility is moving along quite nicely.

Heritage Stone construction, drone shot, May 2015

Progress in the construction of ProVia’s new manufactured stone plant (photo taken by drone-mounted camera, May 2015).

When we move our stone operations into the new facility near the end of this year, we will have greatly expanded our production capacity. In fact, we’ve established a plan that allows for ten years of robust growth before new capacity needs to be added, and we’ve incorporated expansion capabilities into the facility that will take us beyond ten years.

Beyond Capacity: Other Benefits
Of course it’s exciting for all of us to participate in this growth market. But there are other valuable benefits as well:

  • Lead Time for Orders: With sales increasing, some stone manufacturers will have difficulty keeping up with orders. It’s a known fact in our industry that it’s not easy to create new capacity overnight, and those who are not prepared will experience the unfortunate situation of longer lead times. By preparing for increased production with our new facility, we’ll be well equipped to maintain best-in-class lead times.
  • Maintaining Color Consistency: At Heritage Stone we take great care to deliver consistency in our colors, so they remain true from batch to batch. In our new facility we’ve taken steps to maintain this high standard, even with an increase in production. We’re installing a highly sophisticated water treatment system that will make sure every batch of water we use is exactly the same pH level, and that it doesn’t have any contaminants in it. We’re also retaining the same raw material suppliers. You can expect to see consistency in our stone colors, which has always been a big factor in the appeal of our manufactured stone products.

Growing Responsibly
If this seems like a big undertaking…it is! Yet we expect big results from this large investment. It’s the strength of our existing stone team that’s allowing us to take this step into the future of our business. Our people will take the advantages this facility provides and leverage them to deliver even better service, quality, and efficiency than our customers already receive from us today.

GrowthAs we grow, one of the most important things we want to ensure is that we do it responsibly. I’m a believer that companies need to grow in order to flourish. However, we have no desire to grow for growth’s sake. We want to grow because it’s best for our customers and it’s best for our employees. I think this is aligned with ProVia’s purpose, vision, mission, and values. We will use our resources wisely, and we’ll provide our customers with products and services that will help them be successful, now and in the future.

This is Part 1 in our series on expansion projects at ProVia. Stay tuned for more exciting info about these initiatives, and the benefits they’ll provide for our customers.

Steel Entry Doors, Manufactured Stone Veneer, Vinyl Siding…WINNERS!

Phil Wengerd is Vice President of Market Strategies for ProVia

Phil Wengerd is Vice President of Market Strategies for ProVia

By Phil Wengerd

Each year we look forward to seeing REMODELING magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report because it gives us great insights about current trends in our industry. The report contains detailed data that compares the average cost for 36 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 102 U.S. markets (Cost-Value). Very often the findings mirror trends that we observe with our own growing product mix here at ProVia.

This year’s Cost vs. Value Report provides a mixed bag of results, with some “winning” product categories, and others that have not fared as well. Interestingly, many of the categories where ProVia has product offerings are doing quite well.

These insights provide tips for homeowners who want to ensure that investments in their home translate into good resale value. For dealers, contractors and builders, you’ll find information that can be shared with customers so they can make the wisest home investment decisions. Following are some of our key takeaways from this year’s report.

2015 Cost vs. Value Report: Key Findings

Still #1: The 20-Gauge Steel Entry Door has consistently delivered the best return on investment for resale, holding the top spot in the Mid-range product category since its debut in this report in 2009/2010. This year it’s #1 again, providing a whopping 101.8% Cost-Value. The steel entry door is the only project that, on a national basis, more than pays back its investment (100% +) in the form of a better home resale price. Here at ProVia, our Legacy Steel Entry Doors are a consistent top sales performer.

  • 20-Gauge Steel Entry Door…..101.8% Cost-Value

Rising Star: A new project was added this year –manufactured stone veneer. This category zoomed to the top of the 2015 list, grabbing second place overall with a 92.2% Cost-Value. Increased product demand for Heritage Stone by ProVia is a reflection of this trend. In fact we anticipated that the demand for stone would be increasing, and are building a new state-of-the-art stone plant so we can fulfill this growing need.

  • Manufactured Stone Veneer…..92.2% Cost-Value

Midrange National Averages 2015Biggest Gainers: In this year’s report, only five projects saw their cost-value ratios rise. Three ProVia products are in this “biggest gainer” list:

  • 20-Gauge Steel Entry Door…..Up 5.4%
  • Vinyl Siding……………………..Up 3.2%
  • Fiberglass Entry Door…………Up 1.7%

Solid Investments: 7.3% of the total projects had payoffs topping 100%. The steel entry door job was most common, recouping all its costs and more in 43 markets. Manufactured stone veneer jobs recouped all costs in 27 markets.

Replacement Trumps Remodeling: Replacement jobs—such as door, window, and siding projects—generated a higher return than remodeling projects. This has been the case since at least 2003, but this year the gap widened by 3.8%. Replacement projects showed an average return of 73.2% in this year’s report, just a smidgen below its 73.7% last year, while the cost-value ratio of remodeling projects sank to 60.8% in this year’s report, down from 65.1% last year.

  • Replacement Jobs……..Average Return = 73.2%
  • Remodeling Projects….Average Return = 60.8%

Vinyl Siding Increasing; Fiber-Cement Decreasing: Vinyl siding jobs held their ground better than most job types, perhaps because of a rising perception nationwide of the value of curb appeal. Mid-range vinyl siding replacement jobs were one of only five projects to rise in value, to 80.7% from 78.2%. Interestingly, we saw the cost-value ratio for a fiber-cement replacement job dip to 84.3% from 87.0%.

  • Vinyl Siding Replacement……..Up 2.5%
  • Fiber-Cement Replacement…..Down 2.7%

There’s much more data in the full report, so we encourage you to take a look. What are your thoughts? Do any of these trends reflect what you’re seeing in your local marketplace? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts, we’d love to hear your feedback.

This article contains excerpts from REMODELING magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report.

No Place Like Home

During this season of giving, our thoughts revolve around family and friends, and we feel a sense of gratitude and joy in the company of loved ones. We spend time relaxing in the comfort of our homes, and enjoy this luxury most during the holidays.

But for Some, There is NO Place Like Home
Recently Joe Klink, Director of Corporate Relations for ProVia, visited Haiti to serve at an orphanage called No Place Like Home. Here they help children who lost their families and homes as a result of the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. As you can see in this video, the orphanage is a place of loving care and safety for the children. They receive calls almost daily asking them to take on more orphaned children, however today they’re at capacity, and it’s heartbreaking to turn down these requests.

Orphanage Expansion Underway
Upon returning home, Joe shared the news of the great need at the orphanage with the corporate leadership team at ProVia. They decided to donate funds to get an expansion project started, and are now leading fundraising efforts, and also contacting other building materials companies to collect the products needed to expand the orphanage facility so they can accept more children.

Please Consider a Year-End Donation
In this season of giving, if you’re looking for ways to support a meaningful cause, this video shows how you can make a big difference. Please join us in helping beautiful, innocent children who need a place they can call home. There are many ways you can contribute:

  • Donate Building Materials and Furnishings: Manufacturers, dealers and contractors can help by providing needed materials and furnishings for the expansion project. On the No Place like Home website you’ll find a list of items that would be greatly appreciated. Please email Joe (joe.klink@proviaproducts.com) to make arrangements for these donations.
  • Donate Funds: Financial sponsors help maintain the operation of the orphanage and support the expansion project. 100% of the money donated (minus a small processing fee for online donations) will go directly to the orphanage. Here is the page where you can make a donation.
  • Sponsor a Child: On the No Place like Home website you can view the photo gallery and stories of children at the orphanage who need our help. Here you can view the options and learn about the daily needs your sponsorship fulfills.

No Place Like Home provides a place where orphaned children can be nurtured, so they can shine brightly in the world. We hope you’ll consider helping us give the gift of a loving home in this season of giving.

Please share this video, and visit www.nplhome.org to learn more.

Which Grout Color? Consider Your “Grout Personality”!

By Jerome Zenoby, Heartland Siding and Heritage Stone Brand Manager for ProVia

When homeowners are looking at Heritage Stone by ProVia for their home, it’s all about…the stone! But you can also add a lot of design drama with the right choice of grout color. A good manufactured stone installation can become GREAT when adding colored grout. What kinds of color choices should you consider? Here’s a simple guide to help you choose just the right “grout personality” that reflects your personal style.

Sophisticated and Elegant
For an understated, elegant look, match the grout color with the dominant color shadings in the manufactured stone (shown below is Chesapeake Ledgestone with white grout).

This is a subtle-but-sophisticated choice, for those whose tastes run conservative. The lady of the house might think of this like pearls for a little black dress – always appropriate; always in style.

Chesapeake Ledgestone with White Grout

Chesapeake Ledgestone with White Grout

Bold and Dramatic
This high-style look brings bold drama to the home. The key here is to choose a grout color that’s the exact opposite of the stone color. With light stone, use dark grout, and with dark stone use light grout.

The effect is eye-popping, and shows off the shapes and textures of the manufactured stone. This attention-getter is for those who NEVER want to blend in with all the rest.

Chesapeake Ledgestone with Grey Grout

Chesapeake Ledgestone with Grey Grout

Rustic and Earthy
This grout color choice blends both of the approaches above, and reflects the array of earthy colors found in nature. In the photo below, the wide range of shadings in Seneca Drystack manufactured stone sets the stage. Choose a grout color that matches one of these shades, and it will naturally contrast with the others.

For nature lovers and those who appreciate the full spectrum of rustic earthy tones, this is a perfect choice.

Seneca Drystack with Brown Grout

Seneca Drystack with Brown Grout

Color-Coordinated
For a pulled-together look, weave a matching color choice throughout the various elements of the home’s exterior. In the house photo below we’re showing Seneca Drystack with brown grout color in a shade that matches the brown in the Cedarbrook shake and the HeartTech siding, the front entry door and the garage door.

This look reflects a designer aesthetic, providing instant curb appeal. Just like a well-coordinated suit, shirt and tie, this look projects confident quality.

Seneca Drystack with Brown Grout

Seneca Drystack with Brown Grout

It’s All About the Details
At ProVia, we serve by caring for details in ways that others won’t. We hope these ideas for choosing grout colors will help you polish up the details of your home with style.

What’s YOUR grout personality? Comment below and let us know!