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05-Nov-2014

Customer relations pay big for small biz

I have worked with the public for over 30 years. That experience has taught me a lot about the wants and needs of customers. In the ag industry, customers can be very different, yet they are all working toward the same goals: raising crops and livestock.

I have learned to be prepared to work with all people involved in the farming operation— wives, children, hired hands, parents, grandparents and even friends just trying to help out. My biggest takeaway is to treat everyone right. This has been important to the sales and success in my business.

Working in an ag-focused business and a rural community, it helps to know each and every customer. They all have different approaches to how they want their equipment repaired.

Many customers don’t understand all of their equipment and rely on us (the experts) to help them make the right choices and assist them with their equipment needs. Some customers set up regular maintenance and repair, while others just want to get by on minimal, necessary upkeep. Informing them about the results, based on these preferences, can be as big as the replacement part itself.

In the past 10 to 15 years, there have been a lot of changes in the implement and equipment dealerships, including mergers and acquisitions. We want, and will go, the extra mile to help out and make sure customers are satisfied when they leave.

At our dealership, we strive to stay on the personal side of things. We recognize each customer and use their name when they come into our location. This is the first step in assuring them their needs will be taken care of. We treat everyone equally and as a customer whether they make a purchase or not.

Customer relations in a small business are the heart and the soul of the company. The way you greet and treat a customer is very important. First impressions are also important. If a customer is comfortable with you from the beginning, it will make future encounters a lot easier.

I make it a goal to treat everyone who comes into our business the way I like to be treated when I go into a business. The golden rule continues to be a tried and true approach to customer service.

About the Author

Ken Van Wey
Owner & Manager, C&D Service Center
Ken has been involved in the farm implement business since 1980 and recently purchased, with two coworkers, the business where has worked for the last 28 years.

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