On a recent Saturday afternoon, Alure Home Improvements President & CEO Sal Ferro was in a customer’s house in Lindenhurst, examining an electric panel. Alure had just completed a renovation, and the customer had taken to social media to complain about an electrical issue. While no business is immune to the occasional customer complaint, the way the business handles that complaint says everything about their approach to customer service. Ferro personally reached out to the customer and asked if he could come see the problem for himself. He took a look, called a technician to fix it that day, and now has a customer for life – one whose social media complaints turned into raves once he experienced Ferro’s integrity and personal investment in making things right.
In an industry where contractors come and go, Alure – a full-service remodeling company that has helped homeowners turn houses into dream homes since 1946 – has thrived. “We believe in a raving fan approach to customer service,” says Ferro. The approach works: powered by Alure’s philanthropic focus and emphasis on company culture, Alure’s customer-centric approach has driven the company’s success for over 70 years. CMM Managing Partner Joe Campolo recently visited Ferro, his friend and client, at Alure’s state-of-the-art showroom to discuss leadership philosophies, how to create raving fans out of clients and staff, and strategies to succeed in the often fickle Long Island market.
Alure operates three divisions – exterior, alterations, and kitchen/bath – serving Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the metropolitan area out of its showroom in East Meadow and a corporate office, warehouse and call center in Commack. Alure’s sales approach is based on education first. “By educating a client and focusing on their agenda, not our own, we’re providing a service. We take the time to understand what the client wants, we give them choices, and we design and engineer the project to meet their budget.”
The showroom is therefore an integral part of Alure’s business model, giving customers the ability to see, touch, and feel before installing at home. The displays are frequently updated to reflect current trends while also offering an array of options (“we have just as much tile as a tile store!” Ferro says), and customers can choose from a custom-designed project to Alure’s “Extreme” five-day bathroom/10-day kitchen remodel to anything in between. Ferro is also a fan of Ken Blanchard’s Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service, and has even taught seminars and training based on the book’s method of turning customer service into a competitive advantage. Not many home remodeling companies have a Customer’s Bill of Rights.
This approach explains how Alure has withstood the inevitable ups and downs of seven decades of business. “Alure is the secure, best choice for home remodeling – great quality, done timely and in budget,” Ferro says. “Our company ethics, morals, and honor are part of every job.”
As President & CEO, Ferro sets Alure’s vision, then puts the pieces in place to execute – but is clear that it’s his team who executes on that vision. He empowers his management team to make decisions, meeting with them and the entire staff regularly to help them “see the forest through the trees.” He works to set the company culture from the top. Alure’s 200-member strong team enjoys remarkable longevity – staff who happened to walk by at the showroom that day had been there for 18 years, 15 years, 12 years – and were excited to talk about it. “Sal has built an environment where people want to come to work and stand behind their work,” explains Seth Selesnow, Alure’s Director of Marketing & Public Relations, who has been with the company since 2003. “Alure understands the importance of investing in both employees and clients – our internal and external customers.”
Ferro therefore interviews every single potential hire himself after his management team has recommended a candidate. “I consider whether this person will interact well with our team,” Ferro explains. With its focus on company culture, Alure strives to show employees how important and valued they are, and small gestures of appreciation go a long way to build camaraderie. At a recent “Festive Friday” luncheon, for example, the Alure team enjoyed a company cornhole competition along with other games, catered by Felico’s sausage truck.
Philanthropy is also a major component of Alure’s DNA. Alure performed eight renovations for deserving families on the hit show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and supports countless nonprofits on Long Island and in the region, including the Interfaith Nutrition Network, The Clark Gillies Foundation, Family Service League, Long Island Fight for Charity, the Farmingdale College Foundation, and many more. Last year Ferro established the Ferro Foundation, which provides college scholarships to promising students, as well as a home care program dedicated to senior citizens and veterans. “Philanthropy is critical. Even if you can’t afford to do something monetarily, you can do something with your time.”
As Alure heads into its eighth decade in business, Ferro is relentlessly focused on growing and evolving as the market changes. “The Long Island market is unique,” Ferro says. “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” The company’s enviable organic growth through the addition of new products and services each year shows that Ferro’s vision is working and thriving on Long Island. “Long Island is an incredible place to be – there’s tremendous opportunity,” Ferro says. “It’s close to the city, we have beaches, research centers, great universities – you name it, Long Island has it. It’s a great place to do business.”
Learn more about Alure at https://www.alure.com/.