Russ: Hi I’m Russ Capper and this is BusinessMakers USA, brought to you by Insperity, inspiring business performance. Still here in Charlotte, North Carolina where I’m very pleased to have as my guest Jim Riggins, Founder and CEO of Technocom. Jim welcome to the show.
Jim: Thank you Russ, appreciate that.
Russ: you bet. Tell us about Technocom.
Jim: Technocom was started March of ’87, 32 years ago, as a copier company and of course today we’re very much different than just a copier company. We’re a full technology company so we offer everything from technology services, IT managed network services to Pitney Bowes to Logistics to scanning software and of course copiers and printers. That’s still our baseline business.
Russ: So 32 years ago, it’s a pretty new company then right?
Jim: We’ve squeaked through a couple of months.
Russ: That’s impressive. Over that period of time you still have copiers – you had copiers then, you have them now – but they’ve changed quite a bit in their functionality and the quality and everything else about them right?
Jim: It is constantly changing. You have great people with great knowledge. You’ve got great vendors; we have vendors like Xerox, Toshiba, Kyocera, and Lexmark. And I always love to tell a story about Lexmark because they’re really the only American manufacturer left so I love that. But we have great reps and they spend time with us. They help train our reps, they go out on customer visits and sights and help us do analysis. We do much more than just sell a product. We’ll go into a company and evaluate what your contract say, what your invoices say.
Oddly enough sometimes what’s on your contract is not what you’re being invoiced. Things do change, vendors sometimes don’t follow through, they make changes and you don’t even know about it. So we go and turn over all the rocks and we just make sure that the customers understand all of their cost. And then we try to put together solutions around does this make sense or not. And if it doesn’t make sense then we say you got a great deal, stay where you are and if it makes sense then we try to help people. And that’s kind of the way we operate.
Russ: I sort of have a similar background in some categories of the products that you cover today but effective sales people was always real important; is this still the case?
Jim: Sales people are always important, be always important. So product knowledge is one thing. Having a great culture – Technocom has a great culture, but a great culture – my coach always tells me a great culture is high performance. But it’s not all about high performance, it’s also about doing the right things. One of the things that we say is people before policy. Big companies always say well, let me check the policy. You’re on an 800 number to Thailand or something and nobody can help you.
We’re more about a local feel and if it makes sense we’re going to do it. If we mess up we’re going to fix it. And I think that’s the big difference and the big thing that we do and it’s just at the end of the day it’s about the customer experience. And if the customer experience isn’t good then we haven’t done a very good job. And occasionally we do mess up. We do have a group of human beings that work for us.
Russ: That will happen.
Jim: And we occasionally make a mistake, but we come back and make things right. And we want the customer experience in the end to feel like wow, I’m glad that we’re partnering with Technocom. At the end of the day that’s what Insperity wants, that’s what Technocom wants; we don’t want to wake up and go man, I should not have chosen Technocom. That’s not the feel we want.
Russ: I also think that marketing is pretty important in your business. I might be out of date but is that accurate?
Jim: We have always done good branding and good marketing and we’ve changed along the path; sometimes intentionally, sometimes by accident. And we’ve had our slogan since the very beginning – You Got It. And we have a jingle – Technocom, you got it. You got Technocom, you got it. And that jingle is known everywhere. In most cases I can be at almost any restaurant and if someone hears my voce they’ll go you got it, which is kind of weird. Sometimes they don’t remember my name, but they remember you got it.
Russ: Well that’s valuable too. So I understand you have some sort of unique graphic photo type marketing scheme going on too on the side of all your trucks.
Jim: Listen, the greatest marketing we’ve ever done is Starsky and Hutch.
Russ: Starsky and Hutch.
Jim: It’s actually an interesting story and it’s also a real story about real people. Which in our businesses we think that we just do business, but the reality is we are doing business – with people. And people do have connections with things. And if people if they have a connection to you they’re more likely to feel comfortable to do business with you. It’s kind of interesting but the quick story is I never had dogs before, never wanted dogs. I’d had a massive heart attack 4 years ago and 2 weeks after my heart attack my wife buys me these two black labs names Starsky and Hutch and I was like I do not want those dogs.
Next thing you know I’m home healing and so forth and the dogs get close to me and I get close to the dogs. I ended up having them trained by a professional trainer for a year and a half or 2 years up in Mooresville. I would drop them off on Monday and pick them up on Friday. I’d go train with them on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday mornings at 7:00am. So today they have never been on a leash. They are well-trained, they’re great hunting dogs, they’re great companions.
But what I learned from Starsky and Hutch is they’re extremely loyal; they’re just very, very loyal. And because they’re so loyal it kind of got into my skin and I thought wouldn’t it be great if people were this loyal? What’s wrong with people? As it worked out I started taking Starsky and Hutch out on sales calls and every time I’d take them out on a sales call they’d take over and we got deal after deal after deal and I was like Starsky and Hutch are our best sales reps. And that’s kind of the way that happened.
Russ: And they’re known around town too now.
Jim: They’re on our trucks, they’re on our website and they’re on our commercials. The interesting part about the commercials is trying to get them to bark for a commercial.
Russ: Because these are radio commercials.
Jim: These are radio commercials. So that was sort of difficult, but outside of that they’re always perfect.
Russ: Well I know, the people here in the Insperity office were expecting you to have brought them in for the interview.
Jim: Yeah, I know it. I’m disappointed, they should be with me today.
Russ: Well they are in spirit and they’re getting publicity for you too.
Jim: Yeah thank you, appreciate it.
Russ: Well Jim it’s a fascinating story and I appreciate you sharing it with us.
Jim: Thank you.
Russ: You bet, you bet. And that wraps up my discussion with Jim Riggins, the Founder and CEO of Technocom and this is BusinessMakers USA.
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