Uplifting customer service

Uplifting customer service - image

Uplifting customer service

Great customer service is crucial to the lifting industry. It is also important to LEEA, so the association’s CEO, Ross Moloney, invites members to give their feedback.

Customer service may not be the first thing you’d be expecting the CEO of LEEA to write about but stick with me, because it is crucial for any business – including those in the lifting equipment sector.

In addition to creating safety issues, lifting equipment failure leads to downtime that can incur eye-watering costs. No busy operation wants downtime but it is an inevitable fact of life. Machines go wrong. Customer service in our sector is, to a large extent, about mitigating downtime.

Technology is a powerful weapon in the customer service armoury. Intelligent, interconnected technology embracing the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) will add value for companies offering services in the lifting equipment industry. Developing customer service with this technology will help sustain growth in our industry and to keep pace with manufacturing and other sectors that are embracing this movement.

People are looking at ‘connected’ lifting equipment as a means of increasing customer loyalty through keeping plant working optimally and maximising uptime via remote diagnostics and enhance preventative maintenance, resulting in continued smooth operation of the facility.

Acting as a ‘guardian angel’, this kind of technology can flag up any issues the lifting equipment may have. It keeps users informed of this vital information as well as local dealers, who can monitor the data and use it to signal the need for maintenance or even to improve the way plant is operated on site. Immediate action can then be taken to resolve issues, prevent further and more costly damage to the machine and avoid expensive downtime. Maintenance history records can be built up, providing valuable data that could identify possible future issues, so they are recognised early and dealt with before problems occur.

Where planned downtime for regular maintenance and services is required, technology can send an alert that a services is due. This allows the customer to organise a service to be carried out at a time that not only best suits their operation and but also when all the necessary parts are available. 

This is what good customer service can look like in terms of support. But customer service should be in mind even at the design stage, that is by developing lifting equipment as far as possible to minimise failure and, in the event of something going wrong or for planned preventative maintenance, design should allow this to be performed as quickly and easily as possible. An interesting remark at iMechE’s recent Crane Safety 2018 conference raised the idea of future cranes designed so they can be fixed with just five tools, which would clearly make a huge difference to service response.

During the sales process good customer service is obviously all about providing the correct solutions, offering the best advice and supplying technical knowledge.

But it’s not all about the engineering; good customer service requires staff to have the requisite ‘soft skills’, such as good communication and people management. Those lacking these skills will be found wanting.

Because customer service is important, we want to support our members in thinking about how to improve it. LEEA is well known for its technical support and training. But it’s also important that we help our members compete better in the market place, where service really matters.

This is why LEEA talks to end users, to push the message that our members offer a differentiated service and to make the case for high quality service in lifting equipment. This gives end users comfort that they are working with high quality, respected and trustworthy companies. One only has to look at the criteria for the customer service category in the LEEA Awards 2018, which recognises exceptional service to customers in the lifting industry. Judges will be seeking a strategic approach to customer service, building positive relations, generating solutions to solve customer queries, effective complaint management and great communication between the organisation and its customers are all part of what makes great customer service. That sums it nicely.

A trade association such as LEEA exists for the purpose of its members who are, in effect, our customers. It is important that members know that we care about what you think about how we are doing.

We have received some feedback already on some of the changes we have made this year but we invite more – good or bad, the results can only be positive. Of course nobody likes a bad review but they are often the source of improvement. Through being challenged we can push through improvement.

The easiest way to give feedback on LEEA is to link to our feedback survey, which can be found on the bottom of LEEA emails. You can also find the link on the LEEA website and, of course, you are welcome to contact me directly too at: mail@leeaint.com

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