EZ Scaffold has climbed higher than most people would have thought and is the leader in the scaffolding industry. Join Armando Diana as he climbs the ladder of the company’s success and learns that the secret is all about listening.
When it comes to scaffolding there isn’t anything new or unique to developing a temporary framework used to support people and material in the construction or repair of buildings and other large structures. That much is true but EZ Scaffold, from Nashville, Tenn., went from a little known start up, family-owned business in 1991 to the number one scaffolding company in 2008 on one simple premise.
Where most scaffolding manufacturers have rested on the content notion that scaffold is a scaffold, EZ Scaffold has sought to determine the best way of meeting its customers’ needs. And what better way than to ask those that use the product what they want to see in the product.
“When my father started the business at 55 years old he knew he had to rise above the competition,” says Clint Bridges, sales manager at EZ Scaffold. To his amazement, Bridges says it was nothing more complicated than simply asking customers what they wanted in a scaffold. Sure enough, all participating customers gave valuable feedback.
EZ Scaffold never looked back. The company endeavored to not simply build another crank scaffold that did basically what all other scaffolding products did. The company had a bolder goal in mind – to be number one in the industry today and tomorrow.
“We were challenging established players in the industry and you just can’t apply the same concepts or try to outsell them without something special,” Bridges says. “So we listened to what they wanted and gave it to them.
So what is it about EZ Scaffold products that make them so different? It’s in the user experience. Long before the customer experience became the new innovation frontier for business, EZ Scaffold was working the angle. Customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier.
Companies are focusing on the importance of the experience and EZ Scaffold understands that building great customer experiences is a complex enterprise, involving a number of different things including strategy, integration and technology. As Bridges says, EZ Scaffold is typically not the first one to come up with a design but does know how to create the customer experience that separates the company from the rest.
By embarking on a customer experience improvement program, EZ Scaffold gives all of its customers the opportunity to provide input into the design and development of its products. The program collects feedback on how customers use the scaffolds and problems they have encountered. The end results are improvements to better meet customer needs.
EZ Scaffold believes the customer experiences should be intentional. The customer experience should consistent, personalized and valuable. Customer-centric service providers take care of customer needs at every touch point in the customer lifecycle and employ all channels.
Analysts and commentators who write about customer experience have increasingly recognized the importance of managing the customer’s experience. All interactions involved throughout the process and throughout the customer lifecycle culminate in a positive experience if customers go away feeling that their personal needs were met and they were treated with care.
And throughout the years, EZ Scaffold delivered an experience that sets it apart in the eyes of its customers and that serves to increase their loyalty and spend with the company.
Bridges says the company accomplishes this goal through a great deal of research and development. He says the research is with contractors – the ones who use their scaffolds – and the development is on the actual products.
“We (the family) don’t drive fancy cars or live extravagantly,” Bridges says. “We put most of the money back into the business to make it grow.”
EZ Mast climber covers about 64 feet and every tower is legal and easy to climb to a safe access platform. The bridge drops in place and requires no nuts and bolts – it’s just as easy to assemble as it to use. Rated up to 550 feet it has a 5,000-pound capacity and sports 200 feet of double decks on the same tower.
The EZ Heavy Duty scaffold is for commercial and large residential use. It comes with a rotolift that rotates up to 60 degrees either way for those hard to teach places. With unmatched versatility, the EZ Heavy Duty scaffold offers custom fabrication to meet the customer’s needs. In addition, a bunk rack system allows the contractor the ability to haul the fully assembled 200-by 30-foot scaffold. It has a two-speed winch with a five plank as well as two adjustable planks up to eight feet wide.
The EZ Light Duty Crank Up is great for veneer and partition block walls and can be set up by hand. It has adjustable base slides that go to three feet to get through doors when doing inside work and out to five feet for stability purposes. The pivoted base allows the scaffold to be assembled on the ground and raised to the wall. It can go as high as 60 feet and can be pivoted as high as 20 feet. The EZ Light Duty scaffold has a removable platform for easy assembly and can even be adjusted for split levels. The winch can be cranked from either the front or back so the contractor can easily maneuver the platform to meet the job at hand.
Each of the products shares the one central theme of being exactly what the contractor ordered. Each piece is designed to work with the contractor as opposed to having the contractor change his or her behavior to adapt to the scaffold.
“In truth our scaffolds are built for the contractor by the contractor since it’s the contractor that told us what they wanted in a scaffold,” Bridges says.
EZ Scaffold is distributed in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico through a series of agents, independent distributors, and dealers. Bridges says they are “very particular” about the type of indirect sales reps that are allowed to sell the scaffolds. The third party sales organization must display an exemplary attitude towards customer service.
Bridges says EZ Scaffold strives to be viewed as “the local rep” regardless of where the customer is located. He says in some cases the company provides the installation support if a dealer is not ready to manage the task. EZ Scaffold also offers an in-depth training program for all its dealers, on site or in its Nashville location.
The technical aspect of supporting the scaffolds is one thing but the Bridges family has numerous members – from siblings to parents to in-laws – working in the company and all listening to the customer. So how do they ensure the dealers have the same verve for customer focused attention?
“That’s easy,” says Bridges. “When people join EZ Scaffold they are given a hat rack because they wear numerous hats and are intimately involved in the business.”
The family dedication to the customer permeates throughout the “extended family” – the 70-plus employees and dealer network – and drives the scaffold business to even loftier heights. From seemingly out of nowhere EZ Scaffold has quickly taken over a leadership position in the scaffold business but a deeper look indicates a simple plan of listening and giving customers what they want, when they want, it is the reason.