MOB points traffic control in an unexpected direction.
Whether a customer is as far south as Lake Havasu, Arizona, or as far north as Reno, Nevada, no distance is too great for Jeff Pritchett, CMO of Masters of Barricades (MOB), to make an appearance. He’s always ready to visit an existing client or create a new connection in construction, maintenance, or special events.
“Customer service has always been a cornerstone of our company,” says Pritchett. “So I try to visit all of our customers once a month or every other month. Even if I drop in and they aren’t there, I’ll leave something behind so they’ll know I’ve visited.”
If they are available, Pritchett makes it his priority to ask about service. He wants to know if traffic plans are getting approved, traffic barricades are properly set, and that all other traffic control needs are adequately met. It doesn’t matter if the company he is asking about is a MOB customer or not. Pritchett cares about the industry as a whole.
“Not everyone thinks about it, but traffic barricades leave an impression in the community that reflects on the contractor and their customers,” Pritchett says. “It’s why we’re so meticulous on setups, tapers, and signage. It’s the first and last experience people have when they are attending an event or a daily experience if somebody’s regular route is temporarily disrupted by construction or maintenance.”
Does a proper setup make a difference? Absolutely. Pritchett says most pedestrians and drivers experience a sense of dread when they see any road construction or special event detours. What MOB strives to do is mitigate any inconvenience by providing better traffic plans and setups that are easy to navigate.
“We want people to leave any affected area with a sense of relief that it wasn’t so bad or that they weren’t tied up and that everyone felt safe,” he said. “We’re proud enough of our work that our technicians often set up cones so oncoming traffic can see the MOB logo. You’d be surprised by how many people recognize the name because they’ve seen our setups.”
Pritchett says quality control is essential because MOB crews typically manage more than 100 setups, pickups, maintenance trips, and tear downs on any given day — excluding ASAPs. ASAPs, an industry term for last-minute orders and emergencies, can make up an additional 20 tickets a day. MOB services most in about an hour.
“I’m very proud of the way our crews have come together over the last year,” said Pritchett. “It used to be that 120 or 140 jobs would put everyone in a truck, but now our crews manage it with support from their supervisors. There was one day a few weeks ago that they had cleared our entire yard of 42-inch cones.”
Pritchett says work integrity and the sense of responsibility at MOB makes the customer relations portion of his job all the more easy. Just knowing everyone at MOB shares the same values as part of their work culture helps him promote the company with confidence.
“Not everybody can walk into an office they’ve never been in before or a crew they never met and strike up a conversation, but I have a leg up because I know we set a higher service standard,” says Pritchett. “If your plans aren’t getting approved, your setups are late, your response time on a simple job is taking too long, or whatever — then maybe giving that next job to MOB will take some pressure off.”
Taking the pressure off is what Pritchett tries to do in most situations. While he once wore jeans to job sites, he now wears shorts to lunch and most office visits. While he used to be self-conscious years ago, now he wants people to see him as a regular guy who enjoys making MOB memorable, sometimes with the help of vacuum thermoses, folding knives, and backpacks.
“I love handing out fun things like small traffic directional signs with custom sayings or magnetic paperclip cones for the desk,” says Pritchett. “I try to be creative you know, like placing one of our small squishy desk cones next to a larger one out in the field. The crews get a laugh out of it. It makes their day.”
A few weeks ago, he passed around coffee mugs shaped like excavator buckets. A few weeks before that it was masks and sanitizer packs. And on any given day, he has hats, T-shirts, drawstring backpacks, flashlights, Hoo-rags, stickers, pens, and other unexpected treasures.
“I also try to pay attention to the little things,” says Pritchett. “I might send a cake if I know it’s someone’s birthday or a can of ammo shells if we haven’t had lunch in a while. One time, I sent a Gameboy to a receptionist who mentioned she wanted to find a used one for her son.”
All of it is a means to lighten someone’s day. He says it often turns even awkward situations into easy ones. They also make great conversation starters.
“I recently visited an asphalt paving company up in Reno, and the owner was pretty skeptical until I handed her some fun stuff,” said Pritchett. “She confided in me that they were slow, and I told her that was all right. Slow means it can only pick up.”
She asked him to call again the next time he was in Reno. Pritchett certainly will, making his introduction into something she never expected — a better impression about traffic control.