It’s no secret that when a Champlain Valley Equipment customer needs a part, they need it now, and the dealership makes every effort to get that part out to them as soon as possible. For Tim Curtis, parts manager at the St. Albans, Vt., location, the most powerful and efficient communication tool to facilitate getting that part out is his smartphone.
“Thank God for the advent of the cellphone,” says Curtis. “I communicate with my customers by text message and now by email with the smartphone. I get a lot of customers that’ll text me back and forth, inquiring about a specific part they are looking for.”
Customers are getting more tech savvy and they don’t always want to have a long conversation or wait in line at the parts counter. Depending on the communication preferences of each customer, Curtis answers them with the preferred method. Since giving out his cellphone number, Curtis has been able to stay on top of questions and requests for parts.
Efficiency in communication is the driving force behind several of the initiatives Curtis has helped envision. One project in development integrates mass messaging into the dealership’s business operations system.
“When you set an appointment or have work done on your car, some auto mechanics already have the ability to alert you through a text, email or an automated call, that you’re all set,” explains Curtis. “Why can’t we do that when a customer’s part comes in? Or when we’re setting up a service appointment? This is just one thing we can do to make the overall operation more efficient.”
Using technology to automate these alerts would cut the amount of time employees need to be on the phone. The project is still in its initial planning stages. The end goal will be to save time and raise the bar on the level of customer service by getting an answer to the customer immediately.