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Last Update: Wednesday June 23, 2021

Key Idea: Listen To Customers

Oregon Log's team of experts is always listening to customers to learn what they want to ensure they're meeting expectations and building the home of their dreams.

Key Question:


Make sure the customer is the boss and the voice that matters most.

Q: Should you wait to listen to your best customers until competitors with a new technology nearly eat your lunch? Should Mike wait to listen to customers until he is fully engaged in building the home he thinks they want?

No, no, no. That is arrogant, solipsistic and just plain stupid. Don't ever wait to dig into a customer's mind. Instigate a plan whereby you ask two questions on a regular basis.

Did we give you exactly what you expected?
What could we be doing for you that we are not now doing?
This takes courage, but you've got that or you wouldn't be a business owner. Now you have to find time to do it.

Q: Is there a tried and true listening process?

A: Nancy Goshow, founder of Goshow Architecture, says her process for listening has several steps. She asks questions, probes, listens and then presents back to the client what she thinks she heard them request. She watches the client closely while they hear her presentation, and then she starts the process again. Here is the formula: ask questions, probe, listen, present back. Nancy will go through this process dozens of times with a client before a complex project is complete.

Think about it

How do you find out what your customer is thinking?

Clip from: Oregon Log Homes - they're building beauty.

National Home Builders'  "Best in America" Award

Oregon: As a young ski instructor on Mount Hood, Mike Neary built his first log home for himself.  When friends and family all bragged on it and wanted a log home too, he knew he had stumbled on to his life's work.

Today his company, Oregon Log Homes, builds the most beautiful log homes in the world.  The National Home Builders Association gave it "The Best In American Living" award and that won the attention of Disney.  Oregon Log Home was given the opportunity to build the Fort Wilderness Lodge in Orlando.

While much of the work is done by hand, Mike invented a way to automate some of the process which keeps the company competitive while still thoroughly unique.

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Oregon Log Homes, Inc.

Mike Neary, CEO, founder

1399 N. Highway 197
Maupin, OR 97037

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Year Founded:

Listen To Customers

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Oregon Log Homes will build whatever the customers want, and because of their notoriety, they deal with many large, complex, expensive projects. They are currently working on a home which sits on Lake Tahoe. Randy has built this model to demonstrate solutions he has developed to solve a problem.

RANDY: One of the themes as far as logs in this entire house is that logs never end. They just keep on continuing. For instance, this is a rim log here. This is the same diameter as this. This log continues up and over.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) He will videotape the model with three different options, then send the tape to the architects in San Francisco.

The model will be sent to the construction foreman at the site. Randy estimates the finished cost of this home will be about $18 million. There's really more to this than meets the eye when you first look at it.

RANDY: Yes, it's been a great project for us.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) The people who live in log homes say there's nothing like it.

TED: As you can see, they're beautiful. They just lend themselves to a very natural setting and people appreciate that now. I live inside a piece of art. I truly do.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Every business has its own language.

MIKE: This is a chink-style building. It's actually called a full-scribe, where we scribe the log. This is a spine where a two-by will go into. This is a check. We primarily use dead-standing timber. From the tree drying out internally, this check is created. And once that happens, the sawmills can't use it. You can imagine if you cut a two-by-four out of that, that it would fall apart.

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