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December 2017
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Dare to compare and be different
By John R. Walker

The winners in the dealer equipment business will be those companies who outperform their competition. Manufacturers won’t like this, but for the most part their products have become commodities, look-alikes, only different in their paint job, decals and logos. All equipment has the “high tech” bells and whistles. The customer is not confused. All he/she is concerned about is summed up in the questions: “How well will the dealership take care of me after the sale and will I be able to keep my unscheduled downtime to a minimum?”

How the Service Technicians perform will greatly affect how the customer feels about his service provider.  Not only must the technician be the “best of the best” compared to the competition, he must always be aware of how his actions and performance affect his company and the customer. He must gain the confidence of the customer to become an advisor to that customer.  The technician is the key to communicating with the customer.  The role of the service technician has evolved dramatically over the years. The professional technicians will be a consultant/advisor to their customers, satisfying their needs and wants.

As a dealer, what would you think if a customer asked one of your employees, “Why is your labor rate so high,” to which employee replied, “Sir, your question is an easy question to answer. We are so much better than our competition. We go to great expense to train our technicians. As a group they have over 149 years working on equipment such as your company operates. We do the job right the first time and also on time. For us, customer re-do work is at a minimum. You can count on us fixing your equipment right the first time. You should also be aware of our service department’s 24-7-365 policy. We know what our service is worth and know that you will be happy and pleased with our performance. Our number one goal is to keep your unscheduled downtime to a minimum!”

You cannot compare two suppliers which are different in their quality of service, this is the reason we must be different in our pricing.  We compete with our competitors to get service work and we bid on the PM and maintenance service based upon the “high” quality of our service. Successful equipment dealers will provide the highest quality PM and maintenance available. The customer deserves this and so does your dealership, but high quality carries a price. 

Providing high quality service will eliminate competition taking your accounts.  If you are the best at providing quality workmanship, the customer will not even consider a competitor because he is getting from you, what he expects and needs. Successful equipment dealers dispel the belief that they must be lower priced than their competitor to get the work.  If your technicians are better trained than your competitors, perform better than your competitors, have a desire to be better than your competitors and show and tell your customers why they feel this way then, the dealership will dare to be different.

I am sure that all technicians have customers who would not change service providers because of the respect and confidence they have in your technicians and your company.  They would rather fight than switch.  What if all of your customers felt this way?  Do you think a competitor can steal your customer who feels this way about you and the dealership? 

Performing a thorough PM and safety inspection is the most important service a piece of equipment gets.  Your technician will find safety issues which could create a liability issue for the customer or your company if not corrected and you will find repairs needed which will reduce further damage and down time.  If the technician fails to advise a customer of a potential safety issue and an accident occurs, your company becomes responsible. Therefore, you must document these items.  If your company fails to inform customers of services required and they have mechanical failures related to this service, you the dealer will more than likely be held responsible.  

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