Quality service from the beginning
Harvey and Tamara McLendon bought the company that became Longleaf Systems in 2006 from a sole proprietor who wanted to retire. Harvey did the IT support, while Tamara did the books. They inherited several clients, including a three-location veterinary practice. They hired their first employee that year – an experienced consultant – knowing that they needed to show their new clients that they were investing in high-level expertise.
Growth has been steady and purposeful, and mostly from client referrals. Those three veterinary practices were purchased by the owner of several others, and they were so impressed with Longleaf’s customer service and expertise, that they began to use it for all of their locations – now more than 80 sites.
Harvey and Tamara now lead a team of 11 – five systems engineers, two help desk technicians, a project manager, and a sales engineer. They’re still investing in high-level expertise, and offer training to develop even more. They’ve invested in enterprise-level work management and documentation systems, knowing that they would pay off in efficiency and customer satisfaction. Tamara remains the only administrative employee – keeping the organization lean, and freeing the rest of the team to focus tightly on the work itself.
The proof of the success of their approach is that they still serve almost all of those original clients, including lawyers, financial services firms, manufacturers, distributors, and property management firms. And most of those clients have referred other businesses to Longleaf, recommending the team for its skills, responsiveness, and reasonable pricing.
Over time, Longleaf has moved away from a traditional “time and materials” basis and toward managed services arrangements, where the team is tasked with ongoing prevention and stability, instead of break/fix. Longleaf monitors the situation and is proactive, rather than waiting for the phone to ring with a problem. Its interests are aligned with its clients – smooth sailing for everyone is preferred – and a service levels can be matched to each client’s specific needs.
It’s a new, smarter way of working – one that fits the Longleaf goal of preventing problems before they occur – and one of the many ways in which Longleaf strives to provide the best service to its clients.