When you sell a product, you are linking your organization’s good name to the quality and operation of that product. As I mentioned in my post earlier this year, it takes a host of talented people to produce a quality product. Likewise, supporting that product before, during, and after the delivery is extremely important to a successful long term LED sign program
Your reputation as an LED sign dealer depends on quality product, with quality support. End users depend on the same to ensure their public image is maintained on the LED display. There are different approaches manufacturers can take with regards to support. Some work well, and others don’t.
That’s Not in My Job Description
This is a hands off approach that can be very frustrating for dealers and end users alike. Calls to the manufacturer are answered by technicians who are trained to operate in limited capacity, where the goal is to pass the responsibility to the dealer as quickly as possible.
Veering from the set script and job description is not allowed, and making exceptions or going the “extra mile” is rare. This makes both the dealers and end users feel undervalued as customers; being treated as if it’s a privilege to associate with the manufacturer at all.
A good manufacturer recognizes the value that every single customer brings to the table. They are not afraid, and more importantly well equipped, to go the extra mile for their dealers and end users. They can customize their support strategy according to your organizations needs. Issues with signs are not automatically assumed to be the fault of the dealer or end user, and they have a genuine interest in the successful operation of any sign, big or small.
We Don’t Live Here
Overseas manufacturers, or “manufacturers” who ship whole units directly from overseas suppliers often have a difficult time offering quality support. In many cases, the design and engineering is also sourced overseas. This means any real issues with the product will take a lot longer to fix, simply because they are relying on engineers who are asleep when everyone in the USA is awake.
Replacement parts, and long term part caches also suffer for the same reasons. Until someone invents a transporter, or free jet fuel, it will take time and money to move hardware across the ocean. In the mean time, dealers and end users are stuck waiting for delayed parts and non-operational signs that reflect poorly on their respective organizations.
Manufacturers who design, engineer, develop and produce in the USA are much more capable to provide timely support and knowledgeable staff. When level 1 technicians run across an unfamiliar issue, or a possible production problem they can physically walk to the engineering dept to get a solution immediately. Parts are stocked locally, and inventory for legacy product is managed correctly. Technical staff have direct access to the RMA, engineering, production and sales teams to provide the best service possible. It is extremely important that your support staff are trained, reside in, and operate from the USA.
The Mystery of Organization
A poorly organized support structure will result in poorly organized support. Support calls are tracked with outdated systems, and RMA parts are misplaced or shipped with the wrong parts. The manufacture is slow to respond to production wide issues, continually shipping product with the same problems over and over again.
The ability to offer quality proactive support, software trainings, updates and a well organized support structure will act as a tangible confirmation that the dealer, or end user’s trust was well placed. This will greatly enhance the reputation of both, as the sign operates consistently over the long haul, and any issues that arise are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Cheap product, quick sales, large profit margins and low quality LED signs may temporarily increase the bottom line, but your reputation will suffer and those gains will eventually be followed by significant losses. There are great US manufacturers out there in many shapes and sizes, so do your research and make sure you get one that’s willing to be a partner in building your reputation.
I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I’ve missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit www.vantageled.com for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!
**All posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.