A Positive Lesson in Customer Support

Guest blogger: Rick Zettler, President of Z-Com

Image courtesy of World of Concrete

Image courtesy of World of Concrete

Recently, I took advantage of the opportunity to help a client conduct videotaped customer interviews at a rental trade show. It was a great concept. The company was celebrating 50 years in business, and they wanted to give customers the opportunity to help celebrate the anniversary by telling some stories about the partnership.

Now you know what typically what happens with great concepts. While they look fantastic on paper, something always derails the plan, and the grand vision never comes to fruition.

With this project, there were a lot of variables that could have detracted from the plan, so the odds of getting what we wanted were against us. First, it was a tradeshow. Customers have many vendors to see to make purchasing decisions. Second, when you get someone in front of a camera, that person usually freezes up and looks stiff and forced on camera. Finally, the primary reason for the company being there was the sales and support effort, so the video was secondary.

We set up appointments for the customers to stop by the video “booth” to give us the most chances for success. I know what you are thinking, and I was thinking the same thing. No one will show up on time, and you’ll still have to drag customers into the video booth.

But a funny thing happened. Customers showed up, and most showed up on time or ahead of schedule. They also gave us the time we needed to ask prepared questions from four different segment areas we defined. Nearly all of them wanted to share their experiences with us, and they were excited to do so.

Initially, I was dumbfounded. I thought I stepped into the middle of the Twilight Zone. This never happens, right??!!

As I conducted the interviews, I saw a pattern emerge. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, mentioned how strong the company’s customer support program was, and how they worked to find solutions for the customer. No, the company wasn’t perfect, and the customers didn’t expect it. However, the customers said the company cared for their business, picked up the phone, found a solution when there was a problem and was a true partner that helped the customer’s business grow.

It was simply amazing. The team conducted more than 30 customer interviews over a 2.5-day period. I also interviewed the company president toward the end of day two, and I immediately saw that he had a passion for the business and truly cared for the company employees and customers. So, basically, the support the customers so dearly appreciated was actually a company culture, instilled from the top down.

As I ended the project, I began thinking about all the industry surveys conducted of customers. Overwhelmingly, customer support was a top item mentioned that is critical to customers. So it’s not a surprise that most manufacturers say they have superior support. Most do their best, and many fall short of the customer’s expectation.

However, this company not only talked the talk about customer support, but they also have walked the walk for 50 years. It was refreshing to see customers so passionate about a manufacturer and a manufacturer so passionate about serving customers.

This company has been around for 50 years, and it is a leader globally in the markets it serves. That got me to think a little more that this is a true lesson, a true case study, from which we can all learn.

Supporting the customer, no matter what you do, leads to success.


President of Z-Comm, Rick Zettler has worked in and with the marketing departments of equipment manufacturers for more than 25 years. Offering writing, PR management and photography services, Rick has experience in the construction, aggregate, mining, lifting and road building industries. He can be reached at 319-265-0052 or zcomm@mchsi.com.

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Rick Zettler

President of Z-Comm, Rick Zettler has worked in and with the marketing departments of equipment manufacturers for more than 25 years. Offering writing, PR management and photography services, Rick has experience in the construction, aggregate, mining, lifting and road building industries. He can be reached at 319-265-0052 or zcomm@mchsi.com.