WHITE BEAR LAKE, MINN. — Contractors 2000 has changed its name to Nexstar, and it is changing its program content and method of delivery. The member-owned organization intends to take its extensive library of knowledge and make it easy to find and implement.
This organization has gone from 16 to 300 members since its inception in 1992 and serves members in four countries on two continents.
“A lot has changed in 12 years,” said Greg Niemi, president and COO of Nexstar. “What started as an organization for plumbing contractors now includes plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical contractors. The change of our name is only part of a series of sweeping positive changes we will make to respond with solutions to the needs and ambitions of our members.”
Nexstar, by the way, is a combination of the words next and star.
“Members belong because, no matter what size or stage they are in, this organization will help take them to their next level,” Niemi said. “The organization provides a foundation of information, ongoing support, training and programs that help members advance their business operations to whatever level each owner chooses to go. Star refers to members individually and collectively striving to be the best.”
At times, the organization will also use the word Network associated with its new Nexstar name.
“Network suggests the wide range of resources and support provided by the organization,” Niemi said. “It also suggests how information is transferred through a network of interlaced members and staff to support opportunities fundamental to our new slogan, ‘Member centered. Service focused.’ Our new name recaptures the futuristic vision we have for this organization with a limitless direction.”
Nexstar provides management, operations, marketing and finance information to residential service contractor members in the plumbing, HVAC and electrical trades.
The transformation is an immense project, Niemi noted. Early on, it was decided to split the work into two phases. Phase one included defining and selecting a new name. Phase two is the redevelopment of content and member services. In phase two the Nexstar staff will examine its library of business-building content with the intent to improve existing materials.
“Nothing will be left untouched,” Niemi said. “Everything will be better. We will update our systems, procedures, schools and programs, all with the intent of making our resources quick to implement and provide a return on our members’ investment.”
Staff and management have launched several new development projects. Programs and concepts will be sorted, based on complexity and trade. Each program will cater to their members by trade and level of sophistication, from beginner through advanced.
The transformation process started about a year ago. The board of directors and management staff of Contractors 2000 began by selecting a team of members together with a marketing company to collaborate on the transformation. Member involvement was crucial in assuring that any changes would be pertinent and easier to implement than before, Niemi said. Since April 2003, the transition team has been collecting data as well as the opinions of members.
The new name and direction of the organization will be detailed at its Super Meeting, Feb. 19-21 in San Francisco. The meeting will focus on the organization’s renewal plans and rollout of new programs including two training programs. One is the next generation in customer service training for technicians, Niemi said.
Contractors 2000 developed its first customer service program for technicians in 1994. This new release has been completely redeveloped from the knowledge base of a decade of technician training and data on changing customer expectations, Niemi said.
The training program is more comprehensive than its predecessor, he added. Besides training, it includes sales tools to reinforce a new approach to finding and retaining satisfied customers.
A training program just for dispatchers also will be released at the meeting. The objective of the dispatch-training program is to maximize the profitability of each customer call through a nine-step process. It is the first training that the organization has developed specifically for dispatchers. It fills a key training role in the association’s complete service training lineup.
The meeting will present full-day workshops in finance and business planning as well as cover subjects such as building legacies, brand management, tax strategies, estate planning and family/partner relations.
Business owners interested in membership opportunities should contact Lisa Schardt, business enhancement specialist, at 888/609-5490 or visit www.nexstarnetwork.com.