At Blue Raven Solar, we have three values:
1. Develop a High-Trust Culture
2. Be Efficient
3. Continuously Improve.
Each value is accompanied by four statements that try to capture what living this value means for us.
Our second value, “Be efficient,” means four things for us:
2a: Produce results that are worth more than they cost to deliver
2b: Obsessively reduce cycle times in every area
2c: Keep the sales and field experience simple (even if it means adding complexity elsewhere)
2d: Stay lean – eliminate unnecessary costs (even through periods of rapid growth)
Value 2c is our topic today: Keep the sales and field experience simple (even if it means adding complexity elsewhere).
When new hires join our corporate team, I ask them if they’ve ever had a job in the field. I then ask them how their office job is different from a non-office job. A few weeks ago, a new hire’s response stood out to me. “Our jobs are hard, but their jobs are really hard.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well, in an office, we have air conditioning and computers and a desk. We work in a structured environment. In the field, you never know what you’re going to get. You work in the real world. You face weather. You run into unexpected situations and you need to adapt.”
I like this response. Being on the road, in somebody’s house, or on a jobsite introduces a level of inherent complexity that can quickly derail a sales or installation process. Value 2c at Blue Raven Solar means we keep these processes simple. Simple translates to fewer mistakes and better outcomes. For example, we don’t require our sales representatives to build their own proposals because we want them to focus on the customer, not the technology. We do not require our installers to do any customer scheduling or permit processing. We want them to focus on installation quality and customer experience.
In cases where some degree of complexity must be added to accommodate a scaling operation, the rationale should never be to simplify somebody’s job in the office. In my experience, this is too often the rationale for making a change. Adding complexity to remote teams must be carefully considered and always be in service to another value of ours. We should also be on the lookout for other ways to simplify the experience to offset whatever we may have introduced. And above all else, Value 2c means we must always ask, “What impact would this change have on other departments, and especially on employees who work in the field?”
We asked employees how they experience value 2c at Blue Raven Solar. Here is what a few of them said:
Our customers see a simple process of having solar installed while we are running around trying to make every little piece fit without showing the chaos.
2c is super prescient right now. We’re working so hard in design to eliminate hiccups or friction in the sales process that are caused by the work we do. We’re paying very close attention to all resurveys, regens, and engineering reviews that are called out, so that we can eliminate all unnecessary ones.
Management is great in making sure we are keeping the sales process simple and straightforward. They teach us to focus on listening to the customer needs rather than overwhelming the customer with jargon.
On the proposals team I have seen how the designers will bend over backward to get the reps the designs that they need, answer questions about why panels were placed in certain places and offer solutions to the reps when there are difficulties that arise.
We do what we can to make jobs in field ops as easy as possible, whether that’s through scheduling or uploading the necessary documents for permits or inspections. We value our field technicians, so we want them to have a good experience working with us!
We constantly try to optimize work, so the reps and customer have an easy smooth process.
We are always doing everything we can on our side to make the field experience as quick and smooth as possible.
One thing that I like about Blue Raven is that everything is done “in house.” Because of this I believe it really helps keep the sales process smooth and simple for its customers.
Customers don’t have to be transferred around from department to department because everyone keeps good enough notes in our CRM. I know our customers appreciate it when we have the answers, even if it’s as simple as an answer to “what’s the next step?”
Going solar can be quite a lengthy process. I’m glad that our operations team puts in the work necessary to keep our customers happy and keep them updated as they move through the pipeline.
Employees are constantly looking for solutions for the customer even if it means more time and effort on their part.
The behind-the-scenes process of generating a proposal is complex. To the customer and rep, it is simple and straightforward.