Startup originated with requests from clients
Friday, May 7, 2010
Don Miller is living proof that customer service can make or break a business.
For five years, he was vice president of sales for a local company that installed electronic equipment in high-end homes. The recession hit the business hard, and it closed up shop.
But one of Miller’s customers urged him to start his own business so Miller could continue servicing the account. Two other customers stepped forward and invested the money Miller needed to go out on his own.
About a year ago, Miller opened Matthews-based Custom Installation Services. It provides audio-visual sales, service and installation at homes of all sizes, as well as at commercial properties such as bars and restaurants.
His initial clients are still sending him referrals.
“I’ve always been driven by customer service before, during and after the sale,” Miller says. “A big part of my success comes from them standing up to the plate for me.” The company is already debt-free, thanks to two strategies: keeping overhead low and using the Web.
The two strategies often merge. Miller has created a strong Web presence at www.cis-nc.com that draws customers but also eliminates the need for a showroom.
“By using my site as a virtual showroom, I don’t have to carry much inventory or pay a lot of rent,” Miller notes. When someone wants to actually see a system, satisfied customers often allow demonstrations in their homes.
Miller also produces a daily blog to drive traffic to his site and to stay informed on the latest technology offerings. He spends about 20 hours per week looking for relevant articles and including links to them from his blog.
“People who don’t stay up to date are left by the wayside,” he says. “If you can’t change fast enough, you get left by the wayside.”
DID YOU KNOW?
-To improve cash flow, Miller pays vendors upfront to get a cash discount. He employs two other staffers.
-Miller is a Pittsburgh native who came to Charlotte in 1994.
Charlotte Business Journal – by Bea Quirk Contributing writer
Custom Installation Services, LLC - Charlotte and Boone NC’s Source For Quality Electronics From Onkyo, Marantz & More!