Contents Solutions: Volume 23, Issue 3

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Why We Value The Insured’s Input

At an all-hands meeting, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, was asked what lessons he had learned from the failures of major corporations in the past (think Blockbuster, Xerox, Pan Am, Sears, etc.)

His answer? “I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred- plus years.”

What he didn’t say was that Amazon had failed and continues to fail all the time – he, himself estimates that he has lost billions in failed projects.

 

His remedy? Innovation and a fierce dedication to customer care. One researcher scanned 23 shareholder letters and found that the word, “customer” appeared 443 times!

 

Long before we heard about his business model, our contents pros were already passionately committed to our customers – insurance companies are our customers, homeowners and business owners are our customers, contractors are our customers, almost everyone with whom we work on any given assignment are our customers.

 

We strive for ultimate customer satisfaction on every job, which in turn generates approval by the insurance companies (which brings us more engagements). We have developed strategies that make adjusters look good to their managers and help assure policy renewals for the agents associated with the case.

 

And our paradigm of “constant and never-ending improvement” along with our encouragement through training and experience for ingenuity, resourcefulness and inventiveness, guarantees that as one model grows old and “fails” we are already “flying ahead of the aircraft” and have a dozen new success models for our customer base.

 

Already, many insurance companies and other restoration firms (who have no contents division and secure our services) have benefitted from our procedures that save serious money on virtually every job.

 

Amazon turns 29 years old next year. Will it survive Jeff Bezos’ prediction of 30 years or so? Of course. Will it be the same bookstore as it started out? Of course not.

 

But with customer service and innovation as its corner stones, we expect it to be with us about as many years as we continue to serve you – and that promises to be a very long time indeed.

 

When we first begin our pre-estimate, the owners can be of immense value.

First, we might ask them to select a few days’ worth of clothing so we can expedite them through the cleaning process and have them back the next day. They can also gather items that are important and not part of the restoration process – sensitive documents, jewelry, medications, etc. And they can help us by identifying items that have sentimental value — heirlooms, family treasures, awards (what might have been written up as “Worn, faded, patchwork quilt,” might quickly become, “3rd generation patchwork quilt brought over from

England during WWII – extremely valuable to family).”

Real Contents Pros Don’t Cost – They Save!

Cleaning and Restoration Magazine told of an untrained but well-meaning worker who thought he could clean up a hundred-year-old portrait as a special surprise for the insured. But when he leaned over, a single drop of sweat fell from his brow and onto the painting – causing the pigments to smear. He panicked and grabbed a compressed air gun (that had 30-40 psi), aimed it at the offending smudge, and blasted a hole right through the face!

 

Real contents pros go through extensive training not simply to improve their skills for restoration, but to be able to recognize items and situations that call for the use of our “Million

Dollar Database.” Sometimes we call upon artisans with special talents and abilities. Sometimes we get the delicate, fragile or antique item into the hands of a museum quality conservator.

Contents specialists save on virtually every assignment – often because of what they do, but sometimes by what they don’t do.

 

In the case of the single sweat drop, an art conservator on the case explained that what might have been a $150 soot removal and smoke odor job, became an $1100 repair assignment.

Real contents pros don’t cost, they save.

 

When Kids Start Fires

A judge found a 15-year-old boy guilty of starting a forest fire with fireworks and fined him $37 million. Consultant Barb Jackson CR, was recently called in on a case in which a foster child girl got mad at her brother and burned all his belongings in a pile on the bedroom floor.

It turns out that over 20,000 fires are started by children each year.

 

But for the contents pros, it isn’t a matter of how the fire started – just what sorts of materials were burned, how extensive the fire was and what they can do to restore the home and lives of those who live in it.

Barb explained, “We treat it like any other fire, but we are intensely aware of the tremendous guilt these kids must feel and we take great care not to say or do anything that might add to the family’s fragile emotions – it is the greatest kindness we can offer.”

 

Professional Evaluators Validate Us!

Sometimes we bring in third party experts to verify our work. On some occasions, the adjuster demands it, on others, the homeowner wants it done, but just as often we ourselves bring in someone like an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to confirm that, for example, a sewage back up assignment is now bacteria free.

 

In other cases, we might bring in a “Registered Third Party Evaluator” (RTPE). To attest to the fact that certain work was completed to the highest industry standards. When an insurance carrier or insured requests such an authority, we support such decisions wholeheartedly. We always stand by our work and we appreciate opportunities to have such consultants substantiate our competency. That’s the way professionals proceed.

 

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