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Technology Is Important But Not Enough Without Good Service


Technology Is Important But Not Enough Without Good Service

JR BECHTLE & Co. | January 2020 | Publications

Technology Is Important But Not Enough Without Good Service

America is definitely the land of the service sector. There are hosts of entrepreneurs who supply services for every type of need, whether personal or business-related. Get your shirts dry-cleaned on a daily basis, have groceries delivered right to your front door – those coming from outside of the U.S. can get used to all of this very quickly. Shopping on weekends and even at midnight, Internet and phone information 24 hours a day for all types of situations, overnight express deliveries from coast to coast – it’s very impressive! The result of this abundance is that the American consumer is accustomed to having everything done by someone else, and right away. Whether you have your meals cooked, dog walked, children baby-sat, lawn mowed, telephone answered, resume written, apartment decorated, or the correct tie picked out – all of this is available at a relatively reasonable price and within an extremely short time-frame.

The German company in the U.S. is not always accustomed to the reality that this demanding consumer mentality also applies to the business world, which likewise demands top-notch and speedy service. The buyer of processing equipment, the lab manager with a measuring device, the machine tool user, all demand high-quality SERVICE before, during and after the purchase transaction – fast, reliable, and comprehensive. Service in this case means accurate information over the telephone at any time of day, next-day delivery of the right spare parts, dispatch of a technician within 24 hours, and so on.

In Germany the service technician is only called in if the plant technician/engineer can’t solve the problem. In the U.S., where you may not have this type of engineer, you simply pick up the phone. Also a very explicit and detailed operating manual in American English is part of this service as well as spare parts lists with all technical data in U.S. dimensions – all of which need to be supplied quickly. Admittedly, the U.S. subsidiary of a German parent company doesn’t have it easy. A 35-hour work week in Germany, early shut-downs on Fridays, six weeks of vacation, holidays for every occasion – the nervous U.S. customer has difficulty understanding this. But what’s the use of having built up a network of customers, providing them with superbly developed and manufactured products, and then losing them rapidly as the quality of their service doesn’t match that of the supplied equipment.

There are many examples where the fine and expensive machine “Made in Germany” stands idly by in a corner and remains there because a missing spare part wasn’t available on short notice or because the promised technician arrived too late or not at all.

Due to the sometimes-limited technical know-how of operating personnel and on the desire of U.S. companies to have their sophisticated machinery repaired only by the supplier, smart German subsidiaries can improve their business by making sure to provide A-1 service. They can enter into long-time maintenance contracts which cover regular maintenance, the training for frequently changing operating personnel, and replenishing spare parts inventories. Service alone is of course not decisive, but without it businesses will find themselves at a great disadvantage in going after new business, and generating a nice profit.

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