One year ago, I began my tenure as CEO of Sears Home Services. It began with a phone call that asked if I would be interested in leading the largest in-home repair business in the world. After a quick interview process, I came to appreciate the massive scale and size of an organization built to service hundreds of millions of Americans inside their home—something I am passionate about and built my career around.
If you don’t know me, my background is in retail. I started and acquired home-related businesses that used technicians to fulfill the sale and service to customers. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to find great employees to work with and grow businesses. In my years of business, I have come to realize a not-so-surprising fact: Businesses are only successful because they have incredible people delivering better products than anyone else. At Sears Home Services, our products revolve around services that truly make people’s lives better.
“At its core, Sears is an innovator.”
For the 3% of Americans who do not recognize the Sears name, Sears is a 130-year-old company known for being America’s largest retailer in the mid-20th century. At its core, Sears is an innovator. As a pioneer, Sears Home Services was created to serve the suburban housing boom following World War II and established a large and loyal customer base under the Sears name for service, warranty, parts and home improvement. America has come to know and trust our brand. An amazing group of over 7,000 professionals has supported Sears stores and their customers. However, with the changing sands of retail, we found a new direction to aim for: The best-in-class home services organization.
The first year as CEO of Sears Home Services began unusually harsh. Leading any business that requires employees to enter homes is especially challenging during a pandemic. My team re-imagined contact with our customers. Fortunately, at the same time, the shift to being at home opened up all kinds of opportunities to utilize our trusted workforce. People wanted and continue to want solutions and service at home. Sears Home Services embraced this during the pandemic by rising to the challenge of serving the consumer in a way that only Sears could: As the premier source for everything in the home.
We are fortunate to have highly skilled technicians able to deal with rapid changes in technology. We rethought how to educate our people in a hands-on environment during a time of social distancing. We learned how to work without being able to be in person. We had to innovate to safely enter millions of homes last year. We had to rethink how we accepted payment. Adding to those challenges was the need to reposition a business originally built to serve 3,400 Sears stores. Our incredible team faced this challenge head-on. We not only survived, we thrived. Our business is growing for the first time in many years. We are profitable, which is an important step on our journey.
“The spirit and energy is alive and well in our passion to serve the homeowner.”
Sears Home Services is not only a 75-year-old company, it is also a startup. The spirit and energy is alive and well in our passion to serve the homeowner. In addition to our thousands of talented technicians, our team is innovating around technology, services and ways to keep consumers through enhanced benefits and features. We have our own call centers, supply chain team and technicians in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. We fix air conditioning in the heat of summer and fix broken ovens at Christmas. We find the most obscure part and work to get your refrigerator back up and running. Our team works hard every day for our members and consumers that trust us to deliver best-in-class service in a world that lacks focus on the consumer.
Sears started in 1893. Sears became known for its catalog and delivering great experiences directly to the home. I was one of those kids that was fortunate enough to have my parents buy me a Roger Staubach uniform and helmet that I cherished (yes, I’m still a huge fan of the Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback). Interestingly, the core of Sears was delivering great products and happiness to the home. And while a store is no longer in every mall, here we are 130 years later. Sears Home Services now carries the responsibility to fulfill the mission of delivering happiness at home. That is what we do, and we do it better than anyone.
The future is more than bright; it is burning hot. Our team is laser-focused on growing our millions of home visits a year to eventually serve all US homes. We have the people and are hiring technicians in every state due to our growth. We have the focus, and we have the trust. Our unique formula gives us a distinct advantage to win where others have failed. We have the ability to offer complete solutions to the consumer both directly and on behalf of our brand partners. We deliver a trusted experience every day and that trend is catching on. We are growing and are lucky to have the support of our legacy customers and new partners who turn to us every day to extend their brand promise into the home.
Here is to everything in-home.
CEO, Sears Home Services