Jonathan Abramson is the general manager of Metro City Roofing, which is the “#1 roofing contractor recommended by local insurance agents across the Colorado Front Range.” He has spent the last 13 years in the area. A native of New York City, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, and his MBA from the Arizona State University.
At Metro City Roofing, Jonathan Abramson and his team provide a “no-pressure sales approach.” They also don’t ask for a “signed contract until your insurance claim is approved for a new roof replacement.” As a result, the company has seen a 99% claim approval rate. When the company recommends you to file an insurance claim after they inspect your roof for free, you’ll get your claim approved 99% of the time. You’d also get zero additional cost, plus no hidden fees, during the entire roof replacement process. The company also provides “free upgraded impact resistant shingles,” which saves homeowners an average of 28% annually.
Through his work, Jonathan Abramson expresses his love for the roofing industry and his passion to help his customers navigate through the entire insurance claim process. If you got hit by a hailstorm and you want a new roof, head on over to Metro City Roofing. Jonathan has also earned “numerous roofing certifications and licenses, including the distinguished All Lines Adjuster License.”
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Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Jonathan Abramson: There are several factors we believe make Metro City Roofing stand out from our competitors. We put the customer first and treat their home like our own. That is the cornerstone of our mission statement and everything follows from there. At the end of a roof replacement or the next morning, I can often be found on hands and knees picking up any remaining nails and roofing debris from a customer’s driveway and yard. It’s the little details that make a huge difference. It’s not just something we say. A homeowner (and our crew) can see we are focused on even the smallest details — like finding a needle in a haystack, or in this case a roofing nail in a yard. We have had numerous customers remark how impressed they were that the company owner would be so involved to ensure the house was left as clean as before we arrived.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Jonathan Abramson: You cannot do everything well at once as a startup. Set reasonable and realistic goals. Like mobile apps, develop a minimum viable product before an entire project. You will likely pivot to some extent and while you will no doubt invest time and money in something before discarding it and changing direction, if you take bite-size steps with a larger goal in mind, you will save time and money — and can spend more effort to complete these.
My other piece of advice would be to make sure to celebrate the small wins. While a start-up can feel all-consuming and often daunting, if you have a win, or have accomplished a goal you’ve been working toward, take the time to acknowledge it, and reward yourself or your team. I have in the past taken the team golfing or out for lunch to celebrate the completion of a difficult project. It sets a tone of accomplishment, as well as serving as a break from work.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Jonathan Abramson: I worked at Apple and had the privilege of directly learning from Tim Cook (current CEO) and indirectly from Steve Jobs. At Apple, I used to meet with Tim several times each week and present product operational updates. Tim expected everyone in the company to have mastery of whatever they were responsible for. Once in a meeting the boardroom, Tim challenged me on a fact I had reported out. I told him I had the information back at my desk across campus. He stopped the meeting and said simply, “We’ll wait.” I ran in the rain across campus to get the single piece of paper to bring it back to our meeting. When I returned, I handed the paper to Tim and he replied, “It’s wet.” It’s not really what he said that influenced my future but the intent behind it that preparedness for anything is expected. I have tried to emulate this approach to preparedness in all future business.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Jonathan Abramson: A good company is one that delivers a good product or service and does what it intends to do, but nothing more. It does not strive to build community relationships or put the customer in front of the company.
By contrast a great company is one that really cares about the customer and values its people. The company is never satisfied with the status quo and constantly looks for ways to improve. Whenever you read about top companies to work for, it often is because of the way it respects and treats its employees. As a business owner, I empower my team and value the diverse opinions that drive the business forward. For example, we donate $100 to a local food bank with each roof replacement to give back to our community. This stemmed from a brainstorming session with our team and a great idea surfaced to the top and is now part of our DNA.
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Jonathan Abramson: Explore if there are any fundamental shifts in your industry to drive the plateau in growth. Look at what your competitors are doing too. Are they experiencing similar standstill? Find a mentor who you trust and respect to seek advice — you cannot always do everything alone. At Metro City Roofing, we wanted to try to new ways to drive growth. For example, we joined several local Chambers of Commerce and got involved in community leader discussions. We explored ways to drive traffic and increase conversion. It was not one or the other, it was both. As a roofing company, we are no longer shy about asking a homeowner who had a great experience with us to refer us to their friends, family, and coworkers. We used to assume that this would happen but now we ask and don’t just hope.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Jonathan Abramson: As a roofer in Colorado, we survive and thrive based on hailstorms. Colorado homeowners typically replace their roofs only through insurance claims. We are extremely dependent upon Mother Nature who, as you know, can be very unpredictable.
We focus on managing our fixed and variable costs and avoid expensive and long-term expenses. When we invest, we evaluate the cost / benefit and think long-term. We are in the process of updating our website with the goal of providing a more engaging customer experience that will, in turn, drive more traffic and revenue. We completed exhaustive competitive research on website structure, content, and more — and key tenets to deliver a great user experience.
When the tech bubble burst in late 2000, Apple increased R&D so it could emerge stronger. As a roofing company with extremely limited hail in metro Denver in 2020, we are investing in key areas that will pay dividends in 2021 when new hailstorms hit and homeowners need to find a roofing contractor.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Jonathan Abramson: Putting the customer at the forefront of everything you do. As a business owner, it’s easy to think about building the best marketing materials and website, driving traffic and growth, training and overall processes. When we think about anything, we try to think about it from the customer perspective. At Metro City Roofing, we recently invested in a canopy to place in customers front yards when replacing a roof. It is intended for our crew to have a place to store food and drinks during the project and have a shaded spot to eat lunch. From a customer perspective, a canopy limits the locations our crew may leave drinks and also creates a cleaner workspace. Even though roofing is incredibly messy, no customer wants to see soda bottles and cans all over their yard.
Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
Jonathan Abramson: Approach every experience and customer interaction from the customer’s perspective and use every customer interaction as a learning experience. About a year ago, I had a great initial meeting with a prospective customer. After 15 minutes of casual discussion following my roof inspection, I left with the customer saying, ‘you’re my guy.’ A week later he called to say he hired another roofer. The reason shared was that the competitor mentioned something that I did not. I replied that of course we do that too but it was too late. I was disappointed but realized I had an opportunity and created a one-page document of why to choose Metro City Roofing that listed a few key points. Never again would I fail to mention important services that we offer. I review this document with each customer and they keep it. This flyer has created a real “wow” where other competitors don’t go that extra mile.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Jonathan Abramson: At Metro City Roofing, we recognize the importance of social media and at the same time, the risk of the wrong post or how one bad customer experience can hurt our business. Jeff Bezos at Amazon created Leadership Principles, with the first being customer obsession. We sweat the small details and always put the customer at the forefront of our actions. With social media, we try not to post anything that can be divisive such as political or social issues.
We post on social media several times per week, offering relevant information to sell our company and services, whether it be showing the care we take in protecting customers’ homes, or advertising the new shingle that our manufacturer has introduced. We keep it neutral and focused on how to engage an audience to drive traction and increase traffic to our website. We also try not to simply post the same thing every time. How many times would someone really want to see another house with our roofing company’s yard sign?
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Jonathan Abramson: Many founders and CEOs want to become a market leader in a short timeframe. While it is good to set goals, these should be realistic goals like complete 50 roof replacements in a year with 50 satisfied customers. Investing in growth through SEO is great when the company can afford the investment and the company can deliver satisfactory results. Failing to deliver can hurt a business’ reputation both short- and long-term. I recommend not aiming to be the city’s or nation’s largest or best company but set reasonable short- and long-term objectives.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Jonathan Abramson: Be kind and good to one another. Being kind doesn’t have anything to do with a product, service, revenue and profits. Wake up each day and with every human interaction, treat everyone the way you would like to be treated and the way you would like someone to treat your children.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jonathan Abramson: Please check in regularly on our website as we update blog posts @ https://metrocityroofing.com.
Otherwise, follow us on social media.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
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