Case Studies

W. F. Hann & Sons

It's All in the Name

Jerry Shafer, president of W.F. Hann & Sons (W.F. Hann), says his business motto is: customer service above all else.
“You can’t be solely concerned with revenue; customer service is always No. 1,” he explains. “Revenue follows good customer service.” W.F. Hann has upheld this mantra for over 106 years while acting as northern Ohio’s trusted source for complete HVAC, including emergency service, air conditioning, furnace, boiler, water installation and repair, as well as plumbing and electrical repair.
Upholding a Respected Reputation
The Cleveland-based company was founded over a century ago in 1907. Although the ownership has changed hands many times, Jerry ensures that W.F. Hann’s reputation remains tried and true.
“We’ve been privately owned since 2004 and after over 100 years in business we’re known for our longevity and name recognition,” he shares. “The people that work here want to maintain our reputation. We still support customers we started working with many years ago.”
Jerry recalls a recent example of the company’s proven long-term commitment to customers. “This week I had a customer call that had an air conditioning installation done back in 1998,” he says. “This particular homeowner is retired from the HVAC industry, so he was familiar with what needed to be done. When he was investigating the problem he noticed something was installed improperly.”
While other companies might have turned the customer away, seeing as the work was done over 15 years ago, W.F. Hann immediately began fixing the problem. “When he called I said, ‘You’re correct,'” shares Jerry. “After all, no company is perfect. We could have walked away and told him to find someone else, but our reputation and our customers, old or new, matter to us. We ended up working with him and selling him a new furnace.”
This kind of customer commitment has allowed W.F. Hann to stand the test of time and grow throughout Ohio. Today, the company serves the communities of the greater Cleveland area, including Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Lorain, Medina and Summit counties.
“We’re looking to grow and add more locations,” notes Jerry. “The company used to be larger than it is now, but there were years W.F. Hann struggled with previous ownership that was unfamiliar with the area and the customer base, so we’ve scaled back a bit under new ownership.”
According to Jerry, a transition was made from a large-scale corporate atmosphere to a more personalized company, allowing the team to remain in touch with clients. Through the changes in ownership, many of W.F. Hann’s employees have remained with the company. “We employ about 50 professionals and we’re proud of the longevity of our employees,” adds Jerry. “Some have been with us for 20 years or more.”
It is evident that Jerry puts a lot of trust in his team, but he also relies on customer evaluations. “After every repair, installation or other job we have our clients fill out report card like evaluations,” he reveals. “I read them all and about 95 percent are good.”
Superior Service
W.F. Hann serves both residential and commercial clients, specializing in retrofits. “We generally don’t do a lot of new construction,” admits Jerry. “The most recent large-scale retrofit we completed was at a Cleveland hospital. You can imagine how challenging that was, because a hospital doesn’t shut down operations just because we’re working. We were working around nurses’ stations and trying to get the job done without disturbing the staff and patients.”
The company also offers a variety of clean-energy solutions and services. W.F. Hann is a participating contractor with the northeast Ohio gas utility companies, which offer home energy assessments to make each home more comfortable, increase home energy savings and test new furnace installations. This ensures each home is performing at its peak efficiency.
“They use state-of-the-art testing equipment, including a computerized blower door fan to test for air leaks,” says Jerry. “They give homeowners a detailed report with solutions and strategies to improve their home’s performance.” The company also offers geothermal heat pumps; saving clients’ money on energy bills and also helping to earn energy-saving tax cuts.
“For the most part we do everything in-house so we know each job is done up to our high standards,” adds Jerry. “We work with specific local companies for residential chimney liners, asbestos abatement and duct cleaning.”
Annually, W.F. Hann extends its people, time and expertise to community projects. “In September 2013 we’re donating our time and labor to an organization called Heat and Plumb the County,” shares Jerry. “Our service techs, office personnel and everyone in between is giving up time on a Saturday to check the heating and cooling systems in low-income housing throughout the county.”
Although Jerry has only been in his current leadership role at W.F. Hann since April 2013, he is proud to report he is committed to focusing on future growth, but also old-fashioned service and customer appreciation.
“We’re working to bring in younger hires in their 20s or 30s,” he says. “They’re getting the opportunity to ride along with some of our best, seasoned service technicians and learning from them. We have a commitment and increased budget allowance toward training.”
Jerry goes on to explain that W.F. Hann is a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer (CFAD), ensuring certain requirements must be met. “Some of these requirements are technician certification, a certain amount of training for service, sales and business management, financially sound and brand loyalty,” he details. “The endorsement promotes the best of the best, providing a distinction in the marketplace that rewards dealers for their drive and determination. With more qualified people we can grow and expand our reach.” For over a century, W.F. Hann & Sons has continued to live up to a reputation of quality HVAC installations, repairs and retrofits and superior customer service.

Published on: February 25, 2014

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