The Larson Group, nominated by several customers, is an award finalist for the seventh annual Successful Dealer Award. The 2019 Successful Dealer Award winner will be announced at the Great American Trucking Show on August 22.
Written by Lucas Deal, Successful Dealer Magazine
“We try not to say no.” Glenn Larson makes it sound so simple.
He’s trying to describe the corporate culture that has helped The Larson Group (TLG), the dealer group he started with his father as a single store in 1987, grow into the 21-location industry force it is today.
Looking back, Larson, now the company’s CEO, says he can’t pinpoint a single strategy or initiative that made the company’s culture the asset it has become.
“If we ever figured that out, I’d write a book about it,” he quips.
Instead, the best he can do is look to the company’s customer service pledge. That’s the commitment he and his father made when founding the company that said even if the business wasn’t the biggest dealer in the market, it could always strive to be the best. On that note, Larson explains it’s hard to be the best if you’re regularly telling customers no.
“If a customer reaches out to us, we always want to help them,” says Larson. “We want to make it easier for them to do business.”
Even without a book tour to show for it, it’s clear the family’s customer service pledge is working out.
With multiple Peterbilt Best in Class and dealer of the year honors on its mantle and, now, consecutive finalist nominations for the Successful Dealer Award, The Larson Group has grown over the last three decades into one of the strongest dealer operations in the country.
Both with its customers and its community at large, The Larson Group’s commitment to service shines through as its strongest asset. The Larson Group strives to make things better.
Within the business, Chief Operating Officer Kory Larson says the company’s focus on customer service is most visible in the way The Larson Group has evolved. Every expansion of the company, whether it be a new facility, like the TRP store that opened in South Carolina last month, or a new service program, such as TLG Road Guru’s mobile service, is introduced to alleviate customer pain points.
And Kory Larson adds most of those pain points were discovered through conversations between TLG and its customers. He says the company holds regular calls and meetings with a majority of its customers to remain updated on their biggest needs and challenges.
Very few TLG customers don’t “know a Larson personally,” he says, adding, “we know if our customers don’t have a business, we don’t have a business.”
In addition to its new services in 2019, TLG also touts its Guru 24-hour customer call center and expansive customer training curricula as key benefits the business extends to its partners. The Larsons also note that last word is a big one. The company’s value proposition indicates buying a truck from TLG isn’t just a transaction, it’s the start of a relationship.
Once customers turn to TLG for assistance Kory Larson hopes they never turn anywhere else.
“We are trucking people. We have a passion for our customers,” he says.
The Larson Group is impressively passionate about its employees as well. Over the last few years Glenn Larson says TLG has invested significant resources in updating its corporate structure to better meet employee expectations in 2019, introducing flex time and work-from-home opportunities for some positions and a more defined career path development plan throughout the entire company. The company also added a full-time technician recruiter to increase applicants to its tech apprenticeship program and strengthen its service operations.
“We are trying to make certain we are talking to [employees] about their future,” Glenn Larson says.
And TLG’s commitment to its associates doesn’t end at the close of business each day. The company also does its best to support the communities where those employees live. That generosity was best on display last fall when TLG donated more than $100,000 to Convoy of Hope to support communities impacted by Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina.
“We want to be embedded in our communities,” says Kory Larson. “[Hurricane Florence] affected our employees and our customers. We wanted to support them.”
TLG also donates on a corporate level to the American Cancer Society and Truckers Against Trafficking, while each location is provided a philanthropic budget annually to support important causes in their communities. Charitable donations supported through this program include spinal muscular atrophy research, Boys and Girls clubs, local arts education, youth sports and more.
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