The Regional Riff
Dealerscope: Service is a key component in remaining competitive with big-box retailers. What service areas are you focusing on this year? How are you training your employees to deliver these services? In which areas do you perceive the biggest threats to your dominance in the service arena from the big-box retailers for the short and long terms?
Yacoubian: We continue to focus on the expertise of our sales force and our company's overall expertise in the design and installation of complete systems. That is a core competency of the specialty channel. Though we sense a competitive push from national chains and big-box retailers, it has affected us more on the low end. Also, this has created sales opportunities for us that might not otherwise have existed, as the visibility of this category of service offering continues to be elevated. In the end, we don't forecast being "out-specialtied" by the big-box retailers. To the extent that they embrace our best practices, they validate our channel and create opportunities for us.
Perry: Although we don't service electronics ourselves, we work hard to assist the customer when a problem arises. We have a good network of authorized servicers and we can assist in getting the defective product to the servicer. We are also in the process of developing a loaner program. Since many situations that at first seem to involve a repair are not actually due to defective equipment, we have full-time staffing dedicated to making trouble-shooting appointments and minor repairs, hookups and adjustments. We want our customers for life, so we try to make ourselves as indispensable as possible.