Heated Values: Four Generations of Service and Dedication
Featuring Allan Cohn, President of Cohler Fuel and Ben Cohn, Vice President of Cohler Fuel
Gracing the airwaves of iHeart Radio’s Mind Your Business with Yitzchok Saftlas, President and Vice President of Cohler Fuels, dynamic father and son duo, Allen Cohn (Dad) and Ben Cohn (Son), discuss how their personal family values infiltrated into marketing strategy and overall triumph of their business. They break down the ins and outs of how their own family’s business turned into a fully operating, prosperous and highly accredited family business. Allen visualizes, with his seasoned experience, on how the distinctions of his and his son’s generational leadership qualities have contributed to the evolving professionalism that plays a tremendous part in the secret to their business’s success. The discussions on 710-WOR (AM) highlighted the forefront of their unique business model as being created by a healthy mix of old-school mentalities with new age products and services to build strong customer service which has led to an even stronger avenue of customer retention. If you are looking for business insight, this episode is not to be missed!
Cohler Fuel, established eight decades ago in 1939, has been keeping people warm for 80 plus years! Solidifying four generations of heating service and fuel delivery, independently owned and family operated, how many businesses can say that and compete in today’s market? Covering the boroughs of New York, where the family business begins, this multi-generational company began on the shoulders of Allen’s grandfather, an immigrant from Europe, occupationally serving as a plumber by trade. Traditionally speaking, the struggles of putting food on the table was a staple of the time. However with old-fashioned hard work and a matchless reputation came opportunity. He quickly realized there were more areas of service that people were seeking, and there was a challenge for delivery. Cohler Fuels was born. A lot of the same business ethics and mindset that they had way back when still exists and continues today—the dedication to making sure the customer is safe, warm, and responded to when needed and maintained! Ben’s involvement came later, around 11 years old, from watching his father being so hands on with everything and wanting to build that comradery of a father and son working side by side to achieve reach and new clients!
Passion: You Gotta Love What You’re Doing
Cohler Fuel has sustained their longevity on one merit—Passion! Knowing how to gravitate to certain aspects of the business that one really loves to work on has been a key factor in discovering the value that each of them brings and fuels their passion- pun intended. It’s so important to have an awareness and understanding of what your strengths are. For instance, with Allen, he likes to work with his hands, diagnose problems, and come to solutions. And ideally, this is where he would be. However, he puts a strong emphasis on still needing to learn how to do all of the things you don’t like too, so you can be a well-rounded, functioning cog in the wheel. You have to wear different hats and be able to run the business. Both father and son share this sentiment. Pride, prioritizing, passion is everything- a true reflection of them as people and the family business.
Innovative Products: Cleaner and Safer Burning Fuel (BioHeat)
Interacting with their customers allows them the expertise to provide the quality of the products for cleaner and safer burning fuel. Process is just as important as the products to get the company “running like a well oiled machine’. However since every property and every issue is unique to the customer, people and products are what sets Cohler Fuels a part. Innovation is a huge part of the industry. The revolutionary products are constantly improving with the times- much cleaner products with sulfur removed and other potentially toxic chemicals and blended with renewable biofuels. Cohler leads with the cleanest burning fossil fuel in the industry, maintaining the safety and reliability with the vest technology and testing!
Maintaining Relationships with Customers through Education and Communication
The pandemic dramatically affected the consumption of fuels and heat, and where those essentials were being used. Not to mention the fluctuation of high costs in fuel prices has been very influential in conversation. Due to this climate, it’s become imperative to have those conversations with customers educating them on consumption and cutbacks and the quality being in our control not necessarily the expense. Preserving energy and fuel can be a big part of the business so we can potentially save them with maintenance of machinery vs. outright new purchases. Education and communication with our customers is a part of the service along with the fuel or machinery. We must be well-versed in the products, the industry and the needs of people.
Customer Service Leads to Customer Retention
Customers must always be the priority—satisfied and happy. They need to feel heard and responded to in order to achieve resolve. Cohler is obsessed with the long-term details that lead to customer retention. People recognized not trying to pump out invoices or make a quick buck. Individuals see this and the results speak for themselves when it comes to people who want to do business with us and who we have earned their trust- that’s the reputation to stand on. Customers have remained for 20-30 years of Cohler’s service. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! We keep things convenient for customers so their journey is easy. Utilizing tools like texting and online forms have helped us manage our customers in a very efficient, modern way.
Working with Family
A father and son working together has been a very special experience for business as well as for the customers. Maintaining respect as a part of the culture of the company is what keeps the generation’s evolving but set with the proper foundation. Both father and son echo each other’s love for working with one another. The challenges are there, but the overall benefits have done wonders to connect the two as business partners and as family!
Read column featuring business insights from a recent “Mind Your Business with Yitzchok Saftlas” radio show.