When you think of excellent service, what comes to mind first? Is it a fast response to your enquiry? A friendly interaction? A quick resolution? And what about no surprises?
Likely your thinking it's a combination of those things, not one thing achieves an excellent service result, it's a combination of small and big things that make the overall experience a positive one.
When it comes to buying machinery in the Quarrying industry, service is regarded as one of the most important factors when considering equipment.
Processing Equipment for a Quarry is like a Truck for Transport; it's the primary pillar of the businesses operations and ability to generate revenue. Any business that has a heavy reliance on one 'thing' to work for it to operate will always want to reduce its risk should that 'thing' stop working.
For a Transport company, it would likely consist of active management of maintenance, frequent checks, appropriate insurances and best practices operating the Truck, with the goal being that the business reduces its risk of a breakdown. And continuing on this theme of Transport, the business would have done one key thing before buying the Truck they're going to rely on every day. They would have evaluated the service they will receive to keep the Truck operational, and like most evaluations, it would have included many factors like parts, localised expertise, reputation and accountability.
Reputation is incredibly important to B2B businesses as over 80% of business buyers will trust a recommendation or review given by someone else in the industry regarding a company they have worked with; compare this with only 5% who trust the salesperson. That's not to call salespeople liars, but we'd place more trust in an unbiased review from a peer than start with how the business we are looking to purchase from says they will help us.
Once you've established a business's reputation, you can then look at the mechanisms to properly service your business. Talking to Equip2's Manager Bert Hart, we gather that he and the wider company take a lot of pride in their reputation and are drivers of their frequent publishing of customer stories and reviews in their publications.
Quantifying how 'good' a company's support structure and customer satisfaction with the service can be broken down into the systems that give positive experiences, consistent success is not by chance.
How does Equip2 meet their claim of consistent success? The facts paint the picture.
A primary component of the service capability of Equip2's workshop is its staff. Equip2's business is solely based on Processing Equipment and their staff; there are six dedicated service staff each with a specialisation in the field, hydraulics, engineering, automation, and heavy mechanics. The proof is that Equip2 focuses on quality of service by providing quarries with support from people who specialise in their equipment rather than outsource the on-site servicing to the closest diesel mechanic.
Central and Local
Equip2 has one central location and speaking with Equip2 staff and Quarry owners indicates that how local a Processing Equipment Supplier is to their business is a factor to perceived service-ability.
Quarries want support, especially reactive support, to be quick, and a local supplier could indicate faster support as travel is reduced.
Equip2 understands this and seeks to get the best of centralisation and national distribution.
How so? Centralisation of the workshop, people and parts has more benefits than spreading them out. Travel time is not the most significant factor in Equip2's operation planning; it's availability. Consider that even with a locally based service department, a Processing Equipment suppliers speed is determined by who and what they have available, their ability to prioritise and their workload.
By centralising all key assets, Equip2 is able to invest more in staff, a singular large warehouse, workshop, and offices to support a high rate of availability. If you were to distribute more of these assets across the country, your investment in service would consist more of the sites than the actual ability to support your customers.
Equip2 does have satellite offices and service vehicles in Auckland and Christchurch as requirements to support machines across the country have steadily increased; they have responded by locating necessary assets to those areas to speed up support availability.
A Holistic Approach
An approach of purely reacting quickly to support needs of Quarries may tick the boxes of 'good' support but not necessarily of 'excellent. Because as we discussed at the start, a Quarrying business relies heavily on its equipment to be profitable.
Bert says that their goal is to be the best in the industry for service and support and that to achieve that, they had to do more than just be there; "we see that everything in a way is connected and that pro-active support means less downtime."
"For example, a contract crushing business may not have a dedicated mechanic, and so they need from us the ability to react quickly when needed, but since they're moving about and tackling all sorts of jobs, they also benefit from practical help. By helping them proactively manage their equipment with best practices and advice, we're also supporting them to reduce their risk. But you could then take a much larger national Quarrying business, and they likely have their own workshop and maintenance staff, so they want from us more around training to make their staff the experts, and then fleet and parts management. We tailor our whole approach to what the Quarry needs, and we do this at the start before they even buy the machine."
The holistic approach means that everything is connected, pre-sales and choosing the most suitable machine for the job, training, expert advice and then support.
Excellent support is something you expect from a business that specialises in its field.