Meet Your 2015 Dealers of the Year

Sponsored by the Window and Door Dealers Alliance
Introduction by Emily Kay Thompson; winner profiles by Stacey Freed
October 28, 2015
FEATURE ARTICLE | Strategies & Practices

INNOVATIVE ENTERPRISE

Window Nation

www.windownation.com, Glen Burnie, Md.

Owners Harley and Aaron Magden. (Image courtesy of Window Nation.)

When either of the Magden brothers’ cell phones chirps, it could be any one of a number of notifications from social media or a call from a client. “We offer near 24-7 support and respond when we can in real time,” says Harley Magden, who oversees the company’s marketing, operations and finance/accounting.

Quick Stats

Leadership
Harley Magden, Aaron Magden, co-owners

2014 Sales volume
$46.2 million

Employees
168

After working in their father’s Cleveland window company for 10 years, the brothers branched out on their own in 2006 to start a business that does more than 90 percent of its work in vinyl replacement windows. Part of a new breed of young entrepreneurs comfortable with the Internet and social media, the Magdens have leveraged their skills in technology and the industry to grow from “zero to $55 million in sales in 10 years—and through a recession,” Harley reports.

Window Nation now has eight offices serving six states and the District of Columbia. The company incorporates innovative marketing ideas that span the entire spectrum of media including radio, TV, Internet, events, print, social media, marriage mail, email, digital media and more.

Getting Social

With the customer experience as their touchstone, the Magdens have been able to merge social media with customer service. They participate in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Houzz and Angie’s List and use radio, TV, print media and email as marketing and customer service tools.

Both owners have a Google alert set up so either one of them or someone in the call center can respond immediately to issues. “There are no canned responses,” Aaron says. “We try to respond within 30 minutes and we always acknowledge any mistakes.”

Secrets to Success

  • Embrace social media. Have dedicated employees/contractors monitor and manage all online media.
  • Reach customers where and when your services would be of use, such as through homeowners associations or in conversations regarding housekeeping tips.
  • Avoid selling on social media. Instead, use it to inform and engage.

The company is proactive with anything reported on Angie’s List, good or bad. “How a company responds to negative reviews is important. We choose our words carefully, but we take the time to give feedback about the entire experience without being defensive. We’ve actually gotten leads because a bad review was updated, and a bad experience turned into a good one,” Harley says.

They also review every questionnaire returned to Guild Quality. A lot of work, considering 70 percent of their 5,000 customers completed surveys last year.

A Mindful Approach

The sales team uses Twitter for customer feedback and to share ideas and links to finished projects. Someone in the office is the dedicated Houzz person posting before-and-after project photos. WN uses an outside firm to monitor social media for points of interest and consumer complaints.

One way they use Facebook is by joining homeowners association groups where residents share information about local painters or babysitters, for example, or someone lets others know about services they can provide. The company has an employee who reaches out to HOAs and finds out how WN can get to know residents of a particular community. Then, WN offers insight, ideas and specials and asks customers to post experiences on their social media as well, Aaron explains.

This last point is an important one: “We don’t use social media as a marketing vehicle,” says Harley. Many posts are educational—videos of factory tours, installations and customer testimonials—or purely engaging. For example, the company recently posted about how to use lemons to get dishes cleaner in the dishwasher. They share information about charity work, the employee of the month, or a school supply drive. “We use our social channels to continually add value for our customers, and not in a self-serving way. The social channels share content customers appreciate.”

Merging marketing efforts, customer service and an innovative approach to adding value to customers’ experiences with the company is the perfect example of innovative enterprise.