While a lot of focus is paid to manufacturing, as well as the product and services which companies offer their clients, customer service plays an equally important role in modern industry. For a supplier, this may well prove to be the ‘make or break’ factor in a customer relationship.
Leading compressor and rental company Rand-Air knows the vital role which customer service plays; and therefore puts considerable effort into ensuring a positive customer experience.
Drew Henderson, Contracts Manager at geotechnical company Geopractica, says that it is this focus on customer service which allows Rand-Air to maintain its reputation as a key equipment supplier to the engineering and mining sector.
“Customer service is one of the pillars of the industry. It plays an important role in strategic planning and allows all stakeholders to maintain efficiency and integrity, two factors which are ultimately the key to business success,” says Drew.
The engineering and mining sectors are the backbone of the South African economy, and can often operate in high-pressure environments. Because of this, key relationships need to be maintained so that if a client approaches Geopractica with a project, the company has the peace of mind that it can source the right equipment required to execute efficiently on that project.
“This is where our relationship with Rand-Air plays such a pivotal role. Their approach is different to other companies. There is a personal touch, ensuring that you do not feel as if you are just a number. If Geopractica needs to source equipment, we pick up the phone and deal with a specific person at Rand-Air who knows us and knows our needs.
This is the most important aspect of their approach,” Drew comments, adding that with this level of supplier efficiency, Geopractica can then confidently make commitments to successfully deliver to its clients.
The availability of equipment and technical support also plays an important role in the relationship between Geopractica and Rand-Air. A characteristic of the mining and engineering industry is that projects are completed in a phased approach. This means that equipment may be on site for a certain period of time, be removed from site and then returned to complete the task. Every item of equipment needs to undergo stringent tests before it is allowed on site; and the need for previously-approved equipment is naturally preferred.
Drew points out that this is another important aspect of their relationship with Rand-Air: “We have timelines that we need to commit to. We cannot waste valuable time putting a number of generators or compressors through stringent testing, as this is very time-consuming. Rand-Air has the availability and forward-planning to provide a certain set of equipment for the duration of the entire project. Equipment can be taken off site safe in the knowledge that the same equipment will be made available when it is needed again at the project.”
The key to building a successful customer-orientated relationship is to get the basics right. Drew points out that Geopractica is also a company which pays a lot of attention to customer service, so he understands the inherent challenges and how to make a success thereof.
“Every customer is different and there will be specific challenges which need to be overcome. However, it is not difficult to tailor make a customer service offering to suit a specific customer, provided the basics are done right.
This is where Rand-Air really stands out, in that they have a solid foundation which allows them the flexibility to adapt their services while maintaining a high standard of professional customer service, accordingly,” Drew concludes.