LPG Spotlight: First Fuel & Propane

December 2, 2019 By    

A marketer’s ability to service customers can ultimately decide end users’ energy choices.

Rich Coon, the company’s founder, second from right, with David Coon, far left, Courtney Coon and Austin Coon. Photo courtesy of First Fuel & Propane

Rich Coon, the company’s founder, second from right, with David Coon, far left, Courtney Coon and Austin Coon. Photo courtesy of First Fuel & Propane

This was a lesson First Fuel & Propane learned from experience.

Up until about two years ago, First Fuel & Propane – a propane marketer located along the New York-Massachusetts border – focused solely on filling tanks and utilized subcontractors for all service work. That was until one of those contractors was unable to service one of the company’s accounts. The lack of service ultimately lost that account for First Fuel & Propane and was the motivation to ensure lack of service was never a determining factor again for its customers.

“We said, ‘Why don’t we just get into it ourselves and take care of everyone through First Fuel?’” says Austin Coon, First Fuel & Propane’s operations manager. “People would rather stick with one company that does it all so they don’t have to worry.”

To put that plan into action, Coon says he hired a service technician with 10 years of experience and armed him with a new service truck. Since then, the company has added three more service technicians paired with new service trucks to keep up with growing demand.

“It just took off,” Coon says. “People really wanted to have that one-stop shop for all their heating and cooling needs.”

First Fuel & Propane now houses a service department to accompany its propane offerings. To inform customers of the new department, the company partnered with a marketing firm for a creative project centered on boilers.

Boiler Madness is a social media campaign aimed at both informing customers about the company’s service department and converting old, inefficient boilers to propane-powered models. Customers post photos of their old boilers on Facebook, tagging First Fuel & Propane in each post. Users then vote on which boiler is the ugliest.

“We had 200 shares per person for the final two photos,” Coon explains. “That’s a lot of people posting our name and people finding out about us. That’s a lot of engagement from our customers and new customers.”

To vote, Coon explains, customers provide their contact information on the company’s website. So the social media contest spreads the company’s name and collects contact information to be used for future email marketing.

These efforts support the addition of propane-powered appliances in customers’ homes and improve the customer’s experience.

“We are pushing the benefits of propane systems,” Coon says. “It’s just true. The propane systems are better than electric and oil.”

In conjunction with its social media campaigns, First Fuel & Propane recently released an app with the goal of making interactions simpler and more convenient for customers. David Coon, head of business development, explains the app takes the company’s computer system and puts it in the hands of customers.

Investing in technology may come at a steep cost, but it is something Rich Coon, the company’s founder and CEO, supports.

“We are always trying to be on the forefront of new ideas and work on ideas that get our company out there,” Austin Coon says.

First Fuel & Propane

Coon Family // Rich Coon, the company’s founder, with David Coon, Courtney Coon and Austin Coon

Headquarters // Hudson, New York

Website // firstfuelandpropane.com

Instagram // @firstfuelandpropane

This article is tagged with and posted in Current Issue, Featured
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About the Author:

Joe McCarthy was an associate editor at LP Gas Magazine.

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