What Customers Expect From Us - Aftermarket
Construction Equipment Distribution magazine is published by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a nonprofit trade association founded in 1919, whose membership is primarily comprised of the leading equipment dealerships and rental companies in the U.S. and Canada. AED membership also includes equipment manufacturers and industry-service firms. CED magazine has been published continuously since 1920. Associated Equipment Distributors
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What Customers Expect From Us

Written By: Ron Slee

Article Date: 07-03-2006
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Allow employees and businesses to focus on what is important now.

The "Balanced Scorecard" is a powerful tool. It switches the focus of many in management from financial metrics to ones that really count. That is "What does your customer want and need?" I like to approach the scorecard from a slightly different perspective in that I put Finance last - making money is rarely the reason people are in business. As a result of that I put the customer at the top of the list.

The balanced scorecard covers four important aspects of business management.

  • Customer - What does the customer need or want from you?
  • Internal - What do you have to excel at to satisfy these customer needs?
  • Innovation - What technology and learning do you need to excel internally?
  • Finance - What do the stakeholders want?
    If we look after the first three, the financial aspects will look after themselves.
Too often we assume we know what the customer wants or needs.
Let them tell you what they want.

In the research for AED's Product Support Opportunities Handbook, customers told us they wanted:

  • Price
  • Responsiveness
  • Convenience
  • Quality
I translate this into a simple needs statement: Customers want to know what the cost of the job will be before the work starts. They want to know when the work will be completed. And they want it done right the first time.

  • In Parts, they wanted:
  • Availability
  • Price
  • Convenience
  • Responsiveness
That needs statement is also simple: Have you got it? How much is it? How long do I have to wait to get it? Have the right part at the right price at the right place.

So what are those things that we need to excel at to satisfy the needs of the customer?

In Service, it's:

  • Inspections
  • Flat rating
  • Shop floor scheduling
  • Skilled labor
  • Product training
  • Employee eevelopment
  • Salary/wage/incentive programs
  • Facilities and tooling
In Parts, it's equally as straightforward:

  • Inventory control
  • Freight and logistics
  • Warehouse management
  • Expediting
  • Skilled personnel
  • Employee eevelopment
  • Salary/wage incentive programs
  • Facilities and tooling
The final four items on the list are people-and tools-specific. While they are generally necessary for any good business operation interested in customer satisfaction, they are also the bastion of "sacred cows." We continue to operate in these areas in the ways we always have. We continue the status quo.

The first four points are department-specific. They are the difference makers. My rules for Parts are: Process all orders received today, transship all emergency orders received today, pull up all stock orders received today and find all parts not supplied today. Do this all before going home at the end of the day.

In service there are similar rules: Inspect all equipment before starting any work. Provide price and completion date to the customer before starting work. Call all customers three to five days after work is completed. Maintain a backlog that satisfies customer needs on responsiveness.

To accomplish this, you'll have to provide your employees with the proper tools, technology, systems, facilities, and training to succeed. Unleash the excellence of your employees.

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Article Categories:  Customers/Contractors  »  Product Support