(Written for and published by IEN Magazine)
Greg Denning, president of All American Mechanical Contractors, Inc. (AAMC), is often faced with the unique problem of having to work on repair and maintenance jobs for clients who do not want their customers to know his company is there.
Based in Brea, CA, All American Mechanical Contractors, Inc. is a full-service facilities maintenance company providing service to multiple location retailers, financial institutions, and restaurants. Denning said it takes a unique set of skills to discreetly service a client that needs damage repaired from a sewage system overflow and their plumbing problems resolved, without alerting their customers there is a problem. Fortune 500 companies consider it essential to keep their clients happy and protect the integrity of the brand, so having discreet, 24-hour maintenance personnel is essential.
Here are some of Denning's tips:
Always be on call.
Denning has grown accustomed to receiving calls at odd hours requiring an emergency repair or restoration crew. "We are available to our clients at any time of the day or night," he said. Denning says he usually gets a call on Black Friday saying, "We have a problem," and that means that his technicians are off to work round the clock to get a store or commercial facility back up and running. "You work till it's completed," he said, noting that Thanksgiving weekend is usually filled with non-stop emergencies.
Be prepared to work around the clock.
Denning remembers a job a few years ago where AAMC was called in to work on a restaurant that had been flooded with sewage. The job involved making sure all the carpets were dried and sanitized, the underground piping repaired, and that the location was back up and running the next morning. AAMC also had to bring in dehumidifiers and monitor the moisture content. The overflow had occurred when the in-house maintenance crew accidentally broke the underground sewer line serving the dishwasher unit, causing the sewage to overflow into one of the bar areas of the restaurant. "It was a non-stop project," Denning said, but AAMC was able to meet the client's expectations.
Learn how to blend in.
Denning said that because of the high-profile nature of his clientele, the company has changed its uniforms. AAMC employees used to wear tan uniforms, which had a more industrial look, but now they wear blue pleated pants, and pinstriped shirts, which have a more professional look, which helps them blend into professional environments.
Learn how to be discreet.
AAMC technicians have also been called in to handle sensitive issues. Denning recalled one incident where a shooting between customers had occurred in a client’s store. The client didn't want customers to know there was a problem or a restoration crew on site. For that incident, his technicians wore unmarked dark blue t-shirts and drove unmarked trucks.
Concentrate on the client’s needs, not just the cost.
Denning has learned that Fortune 500 clients want their service contractors to do everything possible to get their stores and facilities back to normal. "They want to make sure the environment is safe for their customers and employees," Denning said. "It's less about the cost of the repairs and more about preserving the client’s brand identity."
Denning said that serving Fortune 500 clientele requires all these skills and professionalism: "When they call us they want to know that we will be discreet and get their facilities back up and running, even if we have to work through the night."