I saw a wonderful little news item in the December 2010 issue of Supply House Times (read here), about how one company (Supply New England) has purchased a strikingly decorated new vehicle for their customer support person. A painted design of flames flows from the front of the van and evolves into a design of cold and ice in the rear - what a wonderful idea! How well it illustrates the inventiveness and progressiveness of Supply New England’s management!
Does your company have a qualified person on staff who can visit your customers and help them out whenever they come across a problem that they can’t handle? You should! Even if your company is too small, there are ways to use your current staff (or even you) to handle this function.
Let’s face it, there are times when you simply need someone to go out and look at a problem before you lose your customer. That person has to be highly qualified technically or it all becomes a joke. Also, you need someone to lead the training classes that your equipment manufacturers suggest, which in the case of larger contracting companies are best conducted at their location.
In times such as these, it may not be economically viable to hire or support a service manager and trainer, but believe me, a good one - when properly supported - can be worth his/her weight in gold.
Customer-support personnel don’t have to be solely dedicated to that job. In fact, where there aren’t enough problems to justify the cost of dedicated support, he/she can serve as a salesperson. What better sales representation could you ask than someone whom customers look forward to seeing? In fact, they will actually feel an obligation to buy from you, in order to continue receiving such support.
And what about that truck? I applaud the person at Supply New England who came up with such an inventive idea. I know (because I’ve been there), that support personnel are often at the bottom of the list when it comes to their vehicles, because they are just viewed as “overhead.” However, look at that truck! The graphics must have cost quite a bit to design and install. It’s a rolling billboard for their company! We all know how much supply houses need more customer exposure.
Great work, Supply New England!