Better Customer Service Means Being a Partner, Not a Source

Written By: Greg Ward

meet your customers in person
Bastian has positioned itself in the past 60 years in a very unique way by aligning itself with good quality manufacturers: ones that work well with us and with whom we can have a good partnership. In this same manner, we do our best to provide good customer service by being a partner with each of our customers and not just a source for material handling equipment and pricing.

Since 1952, Bastian’s goal has always been to earn trust and eventually repeat business by being an extension of our customers’ business. Their business objectives are ours, and we aren’t successful unless they are. Fast forward through 60 years, and it’s apparent that today’s technology has changed the way customers find and interact with us, but that doesn’t mean how we develop customer relationships has to change.

Have you ever had the opportunity to sit next to a fax machine? I might be showing my age here, but I still see a few resumes coming across the fax machine today filled with fluff and energy about that person’s past performance and how he or she can be a benefit to your company. Our website is like that same resume waiting to be read. It is full of energy, case studies, past clients, products, and our capabilities to help fill anyone’s needs. Yet, the customer is sitting on his end thinking, “Wow that looks impressive, but what can Bastian do for me today?

As an experienced application engineer this is where I think technology can sometimes lack: Nothing, not even a phone call, can replace a face-to-face meeting with a new customer. Face time is essential in developing relationships. Whether it’s in material handling or any industry, visiting a customer gives them a sense of how easy you are to work with and what tools and/or knowledge you have to offer.

As an application engineer, a site visit also allows me to better see what opportunities are available for best helping a customer and get a better feel for the customer’s products, space and project requirements.

With today’s technology and current events being instantly available to you, you would think the world we live in has gotten smaller, but actually, the opposite has transpired in a good way. Technology (mainly the Internet) can bring customers to you that never knew you existed. Keywords like “Material Handling”, “Conveyor”, “Integrator”, and so on allow a potential customer to easily find us through search engines, and I’m sure the same goes for your company.

Although the way customers find us has changed, it doesn’t mean the way we interact with them needs to. Encouraging face time, building trust and becoming a partner is still our core mission when working with clients, whether they called, emailed, filled out a form on our website, or saw us on LinkedIn. How we approach that customer will determine whether we are a “Partner” or “Another Source” for pricing.

Technology allows faster and sometimes easier interaction with people, but I encourage you to still work hard at meeting people in person to provide better customer service and build a stronger partnership. If a potential customer (or current customer) has contacted you, don’t give them a reason to contact someone else, or worse, forget about you.

Greg joined Bastian Solutions in 2005 as an Applications Specialist.
Prior to joining the group in Louisville, Greg came with over 20 years of material handling experience. Past experiences have included working in engineering and sales, allowing him to work close with customers and their applications.

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