As we continue focusing on our 40th anniversary, it was my pleasure to sit down with ECT’s CEO, Jeff Murphy.
When Jeff accepted the opportunity to lead the business he had two main goals:
- Build a leadership team and
- Grow the service business.
Service provided an area of significant opportunity for the team. At the time Jeff came into the business, ECT had a small team of service specialists, but they were not dedicated to service only. Service was seen as a necessary evil and they would get pulled from their service-focused work to help out on projects. This approach and lack of focus on service did not allow the service specialists to perform to their potential and created a number of frustrated customers. Today, with the leadership of Tom Barrett, we are proud to rely on a team of 10 people solely focused on service with a heart and passion for serving the customer by helping them solve system issues no matter what.
Jeff’s team-building focus has been instrumental for ECT. At ECT, we refer to each other as team members, and that’s something the leadership team takes very seriously. “This isn’t just a group of people with a ‘job’ but everyone is part of the team and contributes to it growing, developing and scaling,” Jeff says.
To Jeff and the leadership team, company culture is paramount in building a solid team. At the top of the priority list is flexibility. As long as the customer feels taken care of and the job is getting done, team members can enjoy flexibility in their work-life. This served the team well as the pandemic set in. Our team was already used to functioning under this flexible workflow. Once flexibility became a necessity for business, we found we functioned close to how our “normal” already was.
At the milestone of our 40th year in business, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about our strong link to the past and our reputation earned over the decades. Our goal is to continue that strong reputation and build upon it.
To accomplish this, we have two mantras:
- It’s amazing what happens when you show up. We must be there for our customers and each other.
- What you focus on expands. When you focus on growing and achieving, you do.
A key foundation for our leadership team is to take our faith very seriously. It’s been a key ingredient in helping us sustain and persevere through the years.
What does the future hold?
“We still have work to do to get to quantitative goals. We’ve built the service and leadership team,” Jeff says. But, he goes on to say, “We haven’t grown into our pants. We have a strong infrastructure and that allows us room to grow another 50-100% with the team we have.”
His thoughts on what’s to come in the industry and the company:
- We’ll continue to see more cloud-based services with more intelligence being brought into actual devices;
- The Internet of Things will continue to expand as we see more investment into AI and front-end software to allow these devices to connect easier, regardless of brand.
- More standardization, ie, more standards being developed on protocols between systems. The downside here is that can slow us down in the industry, at least in the short-term.
“At ECT, we’re going to become more and more an integrator and service company. We’re going to continue to evolve into being brand- and product-agnostic. With standardization, we’re not going to have to care whose product or device it is because we can work on it, take care of it, get the customers what they want. Our team must continue to become better at troubleshooting and programming all types of systems. The value in the future is not in the device, but making customer’s happy with what they want that device to do.”
“ECT will continue to make our business about relationships. About four years ago, we determined our ideal customer has multiple buildings and a need to standardize. Our relationship in that process is simply critical. The customer must trust that we have their best interest in mind and that we’re not just trying to make a buck.”
Take ComputerShare, for instance. There are times now when our customer is not even onsite for installs. Their trust in our team is 100%. That trust comes from a solid relationship and our commitment to perform the ability of which we know we are capable. Communication is paramount, as is our timeliness and ability to quote properly and come in on budget. With this particular customer, we have the benefit of being involved from the design stage so we can catch issues well before they would have happened.
We’re headed into a much broader global focus than we ever have been. We’ve broadened our horizon and it has produced relationships outside of this area and market. Jeff sees an opportunity to continue expanding that.
“I see ECT growing and getting involved in other areas of technology like A/V and systems that buildings utilize for other intent than just security and energy management.
Jeff ends our conversation in much the way it began:
“I’m extremely proud,” he says. “A short time ago we were in a meeting with a customer in which our team leaders had the opportunity to describe their role and their team’s accomplishments. The resiliency and flexibility through the pandemic, we now have the honor of talking about, brought some actual tears to my eyes. They rolled up their sleeves and did whatever it took to get the job done.”
“The day-to-day stuff that gets us more business are the people out there putting in the systems and making it work and making our customers thrilled with what they’ve got. We get so many remarks on a weekly basis on how our team has created an excellent experience for our customers. And that’s something I don’t see changing.”