Four key components drive customer support success, CE Chair Michael Haberman told attendees at AEM’s Customer Support program in Cleveland, Ohio.

1) Parts: A critical company profit center that requires priority from shop management and is under constant attack from “will-fit” pirates.

2) Service/Warranty/Publications/Training: Provides first working signs of trouble. Warranty measures extent of problem, Service/Publications/Training limit the damage.

3) Safety: The number one responsibility of all employees, requiring coordination between every department in the company.

4) Maintainability: Directly relates to customer up-time and involves the entire customer support team.

Offering an executive viewpoint, Haberman, president of Gradall Industries Inc., explained to his audience that good customer support is both tactical and strategic.

On the tactical level, he said, customer support is a critical part of the financial health of the company. Parts provide the highest margin share of revenue streams, and customer/dealer relationships must be constantly maintained.

On a strategic level, he said, customer retention, ownership satisfaction and overall ownership experience are all crucial to the company’s long-term well-being.

Haberman reminded program attendees that their brand is currently doing one of three things:

  1. Declining
  2. Maintaining
  3. Improving

“You cannot accept anything other than number 3,” he said.

“Your brand is your company’s most important asset,” Haberman noted. “And the goal of customer support is to protect and enhance that brand.”

“State-of-the-art customer support has to be on time, any time and through the interface the customer chooses,” he said. “This is a ‘must achieve’ for company survival.”