Special Dealer’s Section
What is Important When Things go Wrong?
PT asked parking dealer/installers two questions:
1. What are the two most important things you consider when specifying a system for your customer?
2. When things go wrong, and they do sometimes, what should your customer expect from you?
Here are the responses we received:
The application, its current requirements and potential future expansion, the budget constraints, and compatibility with the existing solution. Managing expectations is key to any successful project. Being responsive, having a solution prior to alerting the client of issues, and explaining the potential delays and/or additional costs associated with the problem to the client as quickly as possible. ... Mike Givens, ITS Georgia, Atlanta
The needs of the customer based on conversations is always key. Also, help them qualify that need to ensure it is the right thing to do. ... Try to identify anything they might be missing to complement their installation or to provide for future needs. When there’s trouble ... they should expect you to identify what is wrong and what was missed/overlooked when planning the project. ... Biff Nelson, DGM Controls, Seattle
For specifying, you need to consider the overall goal of the facility and return on investment/payback. When things go wrong, have flexibility and patience while working toward a solution. The distributor should do everything possible within their control and within reason to make good on the agreed upon task. However, sometimes it just isn’t that simple and ... mutual negotiations need to take place. ... Wade Brossow, Protection Tech, Redmond, WA
We listen to the customer, (and) provide something they want and something they are going to use. When there is a problem, they should expect timely, professional response to the issue and (should be) provided a game plan for correcting the problem. … David High, Smart Parcs, Chesapeake, VA
The system we specify must meet the customer’s current expectations of features and functionality and also be expandable in the future ... The system cost must be in line with the customer’s budget and the system must fit the facility operationally. ... When there are problems, we will focus and apply our highest level of services and support until the issues are corrected. We warrant every product that we offer and will replace defective components from our stock, eliminating delays that can occur from manufacturers shipping replacement components. … Norm Hogg, Southern Time the Carolinas
First, listening to what their needs are, as a solution provider, I will walk in and see a project with past experience and automatically start to envision the final system. It is key to find out what their real needs or concerns are and make sure what I am envisioning really meets those needs. ... I feel it is our job as the equipment solution provider to try and point out any loopholes in the system. ... When there is a problem, the biggest thing for customers to understand and be assured by a provider is that you will not leave them hanging. Providing answers, communication are key. ... Additionally, following through will leave you with a happier customer and make them more confident to work with you in the future or recommend you to others. … Eric Risch, Automated Parking Technologies, Chicago
Defining the objectives and the scope of work are most important. Yes, things go wrong. Our customer should expect us to resolve them as quickly as possible per our scope of work. Often the solution is more training, and then more training, which we eat because operators do not value the importance of training. … Tim Breuning, Light & Breuning, Fort Wayne, IN
Specifications: A detailed layout drawing schematic of the location. ... How many cars will be involved? What is the flow every day/week/month, etc. ... When things go wrong, you must take time to find a reasonable solution. The customer must believe that you will be there for them and have good communication while solving in the problem. … Jose Lima, Momentek Inc., Longueuil, Canada
Use of the property and the appropriate equipment and software needed to service those uses. In my 10 years in this business I have never seen a spec that was totally correct! When things go wrong, you must have complete diligence on troubleshooting with our experienced staff, as well as working as a liaison (and sometimes lobbyist!) with the equipment manufacturer. … Sherry Evens, Evens Time, Indianapolis
Specs must stress reliability and function. When there is a problem, the customer expects quick response and honesty. … Les Amon, LVC Technologies, Auburn Hills, MI
I tell my people, especially anyone doing a sales call, do not talk, ... listen! The customer will tell you what is most important, thereby giving the key to making the sale. ... As for trouble, (that’s) easy: what we all want, the truth, and a quick response to remedy the situation. … Larry Oliva, Consolidated Parking Equipment, Miami
We recommend the right system for the application, keeping in mind the most economical way to accomplish what the customer needs. If there is a problem, we offer the right response and service. Be there when things don’t go right. Always offer a maintenance contract even under the warranty period. … Gustavo Grundler, Automatic Control Technology, San Juan, PR
We need to provide a functional system that delivers and meets the expectations of the customer in their price range. However, we keep in mind scalability to ensure (that) when the customer needs to grow, the system is prepared for that growth. When things go wrong, we must provide instant response and do whatever is necessary. Up-time is a priority. … Brent Van Loggerenberg, Sentry Control Systems, Sun Valley, CA
Article Abstract from June, 2009