Addressing your fleet customers’ bottom line

Christopher Lyon
NTEA Director of Fleet Relations

This article was published in the August 2022 edition of NTEA News

The work truck industry has had its share of recent challenges, such as chip shortages, lack of chassis availability, rising inflation, and shrinking budgets. These are just some of the uncontrollable factors affecting your business and customers. This is why it’s important to influence what you can — starting with the bottom line.

Customer relations is a time-valued commitment that is controllable across any industry. It begins with strong communication at all levels of business integrations. Make sure there is a clear understanding of your promises and commitments — managing expectations can be the single most important tool at your disposal. The age of under-promising and over-delivering is shrinking as this becomes the new de facto expectation, which may not be a sustainable deliverable. We live in a changing world, so let customers know of current and potential issues instead of relying on hoping for the best. Finally, providing a realistic level of support, before and after the sale, is important.

Consistency and quality
We talked about the bottom line, and quality and consistency are some of the most manageable aspects you can provide. When a piece of equipment is delivered, the customer has likely been eagerly waiting and may have extended the life cycle of the unit being replaced beyond its planned replacement cycle. This becomes a critical moment, and that pre-delivery inspection is vital. Taking the extra time to ensure the unit meets specifications and has no defects is important.

One of the top situations you, and your customers, want to avoid is having a long-awaited piece of equipment returned for rework before being put into service — no matter how minor the issue. Fleets are taking pride when they finally see new equipment being delivered. Getting it right the first time is one of the most important boosts for your business that is directly controllable. Understanding the bottom line, and conquering consistency and quality are key pillars in a business relationship.

Be a beacon of support
Understanding clients' core functions, operations, and issues of most importance (in terms of items you can manage and control) can pivot your service favorably. Taking the time to build knowledge shows you’re concerned about their bottom line. Recognizing expectations — and having upfront communication with the most up-to-date and accurate information — can be the path to ensuring customer satisfaction.

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