Allison Harrison and her husband opened Goodbee Plumbing in 2007. They saw a need for friendly, customer-first plumbing service on the Northshore and knew that they could fill this role. Scott had more than 20 years of experience at that time and she grew up in the industry answering phones and helping out in a plumbing and drain company that was owned and operated by her Aunt and Uncle. They knew they had experience to handle a wide range of residential and commercial repairs and maintenance services. Their mission was and still is to provide Louisiana clients with fair, cost-effective solutions that won’t break the bank.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Allison Harrison: My husband and I opened Goodbee Plumbing in 2007, we saw a need for friendly, customer-first plumbing service on the Northshore and I believed that we could fill this role. Scott had more than 20 years of experience at that time and I grew up in the industry answering phones and helping out in a plumbing and drain company that was owned and operated by my Aunt and Uncle. We knew we had experience to handle a wide range of residential and commercial repairs and maintenance services. Our mission was and still is to provide our Louisiana clients with fair, cost-effective solutions that won’t break the bank.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Allison Harrison: 2020 started out like a child hiding in the dark waiting to yell surprise and scare you!!! We had no idea what was to come and we had to quickly adapt to keep our customers serviced and our employees safe, it was a challenge to say the least. We made it through, then we conquered 2021 and tiptoed gingerly into 2022!
What did we learn and how do we move forward? As the world opens up again in 2022, businesses can thrive by taking all appropriate precautions in prioritizing friendly, hands-on service. Unfortunately, the pandemic and public health regulations have made maintaining strong in-person client relationships difficult. And while the restrictions and social distancing protocols were necessary, we worked hard to maintain our friendly neighborhood plumber sensibility that we bring to the job. So now that we can safely offer that personalized service, I know our client relationships will continue to flourish.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Allison Harrison: I would advise businesses to create strong relationships in their communities. When you live and actively engage with the community you serve, you build trust in your integrity and services. This means that even when the going gets tough, your neighbors and local clients know that they can count on you and continue to engage your services despite economic hardship.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Allison Harrison: At the beginning of the pandemic, many people put their renovations and non-essential plumbing services on hold, people were reluctant to have anyone in their homes, as everyone was trying to reduce the spread of the virus. In addition our crew was scared, and we lost employees. Soon staying home was becoming the norm as people were working and educating their children from home, which meant a pressure on their plumbing systems, and Goodbee was there. We have such strong community-based client relationships, people trusted us to get the job done the first time, and we fixed a lot of toilets and pipes. We are still struggling with needing more employees to keep us with the demand.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Allison Harrison: We’re a people-person company, so a lot of our work revolves around small businesses, family homes, and other bustling establishments. Many non-essential businesses closed during the pandemic, the lack of use compromised their plumbing systems, causing seals to fail. We then had to go into these empty buildings and replace the seals to prevent damage. This helped us expand our services, and we learned how to cultivate client relationships even when the clients (and their staff or families) weren’t there to oversee us. We intend to continue to serve all kinds of clients in 2022, whether they run a successful business or need a plumbing checkup for their warehouse.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Allison Harrison: It’s difficult to completely overhaul the way a repair and maintenance company can do business. Where we have seen a surge in technological advancement is in our training department. While we can never operate fully at-home like some businesses, we have been able to take advantage of virtual training in house to best prepare our technicians before they enter a customer’s home or business. As the demand for more “smart” devices such as in-home spas, continuous water heaters, and the like are being introduced to the market, keeping our technicians well educated and trained is our greatest asset to keep up with the increasing technological demand.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Allison Harrison: At Goodbee, my staff and I are available by email or phone from 7am – 6pm daily. Most days, I am in front of the computer for those hours unless I am meeting a client. However, we know that plumbing emergencies can happen any time, so the office staff will rotate and keep the work phone on after-hours just in case.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Allison Harrison: The most important part of communicating effectively with our team is leading by example, for both my husband and me. Since he is a licensed plumber with decades of experience, he communicates with our team by getting his hands dirty right alongside them. This shows our employees that we’re all in this together and creates opportunities for our plumbers to share stories, offer feedback, and give their tips for getting a job done right.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Allison Harrison: With the housing market’s current state, the real challenge for plumbers is keeping up with the new demand for kitchen and bathroom renovations. So many homeowners are interested in remodeling their houses into forever homes, integrating personal touches, and installing plumbing that extends the lives of their houses. People spent so much more time at home during the pandemic, so now they’re looking to turn their homes into relaxing environments to work and entertain in.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Allison Harrison: In 2022, we’re most interested in learning more about expanding our online client services, which would include learning more about video call and live chat options. This will help us connect to existing clients in our community but also help us expand our client base to New Orleans and other surrounding areas of Louisiana.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Allison Harrison: I think many of those misunderstandings happen when leadership doesn’t cultivate a community atmosphere, or when there is a lack of communication or appreciation. Meetings with open communication, leading by example and showing appreciation by inclusion and respect benefits not only your clients but also your workers. When your employees see you as a peer, they’re more likely to stick around and talk openly about their frustrations. By listening to their concerns, you can build a better business.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Allison Harrison: If I could pick any business superpower, that superpower would be to know what’s lurking around every corner in regards to emergencies, pandemics and/or natural disasters. I could then be perpetually prepared for any and all ‘wrenches’. As a local business with a community client base, we are very integrated into our neighborhood. We’re proud to serve friends and family. It’s my desire to serve all local businesses all at the same time and without hiccups. Our services are very in demand, and I want to meet everyone’s needs as soon as possible while also building meaningful relationships with our clients.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Allison Harrison: In 2022, success means expanding our services further into New Orleans while satisfying our Northshore clients. Goodbee is focused on becoming the number one company not just on the Northshore but in New Orleans, too, and we’d love to realize that vision this year.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Allison Harrison for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Allison Harrison or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.