Today, technology is in all parts of our everyday world. For better or worse, that also means customer service and technical support are embedded into our lives. Some companies excel, others are just frustrating- you’re put on hold or constantly transferred; the telecom industry is notorious for this. Everyone has experienced the technician who didn’t show or has turned up late and has no idea what they are doing.
A repercussion of the advancement of automated machinery in the Frame and Truss industry is the need for customer support and technical service. No matter the supplier you choose, it is inevitable there will come a time when you need help! So what defines ‘good’ customer service for a CNC machine in the Frame and Truss industry? How would you describe ‘good’ technical support? Are expectations too high, too low? What exactly should you expect?
Paul Donnell, the Production Manager from Bunnings Hallam clearly defines the industry wide expectation. ‘We expect as little down time as possible as when the saw stops, the whole floor stops.’
To achieve this outcome, he believes it is particularly important to, ‘Talk through issues over the phone and have a local tech.’ Alistair Green from AAA agreed; ‘Response times are very important.’
Bradley Thomas, the Production Manager at Direct Timber and Trusses emphasises the importance of the relationship between customer and service technicians; ‘…We appreciate any suggested solutions like online help options or anything else we can do until (a technician) is online… A considered and calm approach, gives confidence that it will be sorted. You don’t want to hear someone panicking on the other side of the line. … We expect honesty, tell us when someone will be able to contact us back. Also training staff, little tips along the way. It is one of those things; we hope to never call you but when we do we need to get solutions.’
Kirt Dobin from the Truss Joint focused on the knowledge of the technicians providing the support, ‘Having knowledgeable techs, all of the guys knowing the product inside out. Quick response times and when one of the techs doesn’t know the answer, they discuss in a group and come back to us quickly.’ He also highlights the importance of having a good relationship with the supplying company, ‘…When (technicians) are here they give advice on how we can be doing things better/utilising the saw better. This is the reason we actually want someone to supervise how we do things and provide feedback/input on further improving how we operate/use saw.’ Bradley Thomas from Direct Timber shared this perspective, ‘Service is about always being in solution mode.’
Mark Pagram from JH Williams in Murwillumbah, NSW has similar opinions regarding communication and experience. ‘Technicians should be an expert on the machinery they are supporting. They should also be polite, accommodating and a good communicator.’ He goes onto further comment, ‘Good customer service is prompt, appropriately priced and backed up with a full understanding and explanation of what’s actually being offered. It is important to have accessibility to expert advice, prompt dispatching of spares and consumables and ensuring that existing customers are not “prioritised” below new or prospective customers. It can even be as simple as actively informing customers of new products or how they can use existing products better.’
When Vekta started in 2009 we recognised the lack of adequate customer service and support standards in our industry and decided to focus on putting the customer first. By seeking constant feedback from our customers, and focusing on continuous improvements over the years in this area, Vekta has become a leader not only in the quality and performance of our products, but more importantly, in the service and support we provide our customers.
So what defines good customer service and support for automated equipment? Vekta’s approach starts with highly trained, qualified Mechatronic (Robotical) Engineers providing the support. Support engineers located in Perth, Melbourne, Auckland and in the USA. An extensive inventory of spare parts in all support offices available for immediate despatch. Access to support engineers in time zones around the world that can provide virtually around the clock support as needed. An organised, transparent and efficient support issue tracking systems. Solid internal communication between support Engineers to facilitate a broad knowledge base. And, ultimately, a company that has the values and mindset to ensure the customers individual needs and circumstances are thoughtfully considered and the highest priority.
Suppliers to the Frame and Truss industry should excel at customer service – the industry should not accept anything less. Why not discover for yourself the benefits and reassurances of strong support – Make Vekta your first point of comparison; we are confident in the support and service we provide!