All businesses are looking for ways to cut costs in a difficult economy. When upper management begins reviewing the P&L, the red ink pens come out and notes are made to “cut 10% here” or “make sure to reduce by 5%” there – and the worst note is “why are we even spending money on this?”
Capital equipment is typically one of the most expensive assets for a business. The types of equipment can vary greatly – for some it is printers and copiers. For other businesses capital equipment can include power generators, specialized diagnostic and testing equipment, or other investments that must be tracked and maintained.
The maintenance part of capital equipment is where business executives can become eager to cut the costs. You may find your customers calling and wanting to renegotiate or completely cancel their capital equipment maintenance services agreements. DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN!
If your customers have not thought about trimming or eliminating their maintenance expenses, they will. Take a proactive approach to remind your customers that maintaining their assets should be one of their top priorities:
Assets have value – if they are maintained well the value of capital equipment will not depreciate as quickly
Defer replacement costs – well maintained capital equipment will last longer, so your customer will not need to replace as often
Minimize breakdowns – equipment that breaks can completely disrupt productivity and cost the business a lot of money. Maintaining the equipment will reduce the likelihood of any breakdowns
Carefully review all of your current capital equipment maintenance agreements. If any are coming up for renewal, it is a good idea to schedule a meeting with your customers to review and get a renewal agreement signed. Consider each business and how their current agreement is set up. Does it meet their needs? How many service calls have you had to make? Should you perform more maintenance, or less? Is the equipment old enough that you should help your customer consider replacement? Would leasing the new equipment be an option? Should the lease include a service agreement?
While you are looking at your current customers, you should also look internally at how well you have been living up to the customer expectations. Are you making service calls on time? How would you rate your quality? Have you been helping your customer to use the equipment properly? How often have you responded to breakdowns or malfunctions? Were they preventable?
Try to be honest in your review of your service to your customers as well as your customer’s needs. Capital equipment is a large investment for any business, so it is important that your customers understand how critical it is to keep that equipment maintained and serviced using quality products and with skilled technicians that are trained and knowledgeable about the product as well as about the customer.
If you find that you may need to make some improvements to your service levels, consider a field service automation system that will help you to track productivity and manage your business using techniques that minimize your expenses while improving your customer service. Times are difficult, but with the right approach you can help your customers to keep their capital equipment maintenance a top priority.