Brian Gottlieb already had an incentive system for his salespeople. “That’s easy,” he says, “because it usually involves money, alcohol, and someplace warm. But how do you do it for field installers?”
Gottlieb is president of Tundraland, a remodeling company based about halfway between Madison and Green Bay in Kaukauna, Wis., that specializes in bathrooms, sunrooms, and window replacement. He wanted to provide an incentive to help his production people meet goals for productivity, safety, and quality. Productivity and safety are easy to measure and reward, but quality is a different animal. When it comes to quality, “most people think of workmanship,” Gottlieb says, “but the most important measure is customer perception.”
Gottlieb wanted to find an incentive that would encourage installers to “put their fingerprint” on every project on which they worked. The answer came to him while watching a football game on TV. When he realized that the star-shaped decals players had plastered all over their helmets were symbols of pride, he decided to make them the foundation for a “pride in ownership” incentive system at Tundraland.
So for the last year, every time a customer mentions an installer by name in a positive review, that craftsman earns a red star, which is affixed to his work vehicle, one of a fleet of 15 trucks that Gottlieb maintains. The first star also earns a $25 gift card to Cabela’s, a popular retail store in Green Bay. The second star earns a second $25 gift card, and the third, a $50 gift card. Then the slate is wiped clean and the cycle starts over.
Primed for Success
The success of the system is no accident. Gottlieb’s team sets the stage when they call the homeowner to schedule work. “We make a point to tell the homeowner that their installer is ‘John so-and-so, a 17-star installer,’” Gottlieb says, “so they’re primed for a special experience.” The installers do their part, following a time-tested script that explains the star program at the start of the job and again at the end, when an installer gives the homeowner a satisfaction survey form and asks for honest comments about the job—and reminds the client that if they mention his name, he gets a star.
What’s the ROI? Most obvious is the improvement in the customer experience and in the pride installers take in their work. “It proves our commitment to excellence and gets everyone involved in it,” Gottlieb says. “It creates a clear understanding that we have a recognized quality standard that we enforce, and that it means something when you wear a Tundraland logo.”
Gottlieb has also measured a positive effect on retention and a clear reduction in the number of service calls. And, as a secondary benefit, because the stars go on vehicles assigned to specific installers, employees take more pride in their vehicles, too.
“The really cool part is when you’re stopped at a traffic light and a Tundraland truck pulls up next to you on the right side,” Gottlieb says. “You look over and see the driver in our uniform and all those red stars lined up on the door and you think, ’that guy’s a craftsman’.”