Success Story: Solutions YES
FMAudit® takes customer relationships to the next level
When Sean Bell decided to open a new dealership in Portland, Oregon, in March 2011, his timing perhaps could have been just a little better.
Nationwide, the economy was still struggling towards a recovery that would prove stubbornly uneven. Meanwhile, Oregon was actually losing jobs and posting increases in new unemployment claims, both in March and the month before.
In the city of Portland itself, activity had slowed significantly after the previous year's gains and job growth overall remained anemic at best.
But entrepreneurs, by definition, are optimists and Bell and his team of fellow office equipment veterans were confident that even in a weak market, they would find plenty of interest in the service-intensive, relationship-based business model they planned for their start-up.
They called their new dealership Solutions YES, a name that captured perfectly the combination of problem-solving industry expertise and positive, can-do thinking that they saw as two of the key building blocks for their new venture.
Fast forward 20 hard-charging months and the optimism of those early days has been more than justified. Solutions YES went from literally zero customers to 250-plus and put more than 600 machines under contract.
And, reports Vice President of Service Greg Maggs proudly, they have yet to lose a customer once they brought them on board!
A product offering that covers the full spectrum of office needs—from low-end, standalone MFPs to sophisticated, state-of-the-art document and workflow management solutions—has played an important role in shaping that impressive growth curve. But, Maggs contends, that's only part of the story.
"Technology is important, of course," he says, "but what really sets us apart from the competition are our people and their ability to provide outstanding service and support and build strong, long-term customer relationships."
For the Solutions YES team, a key resource for relationship building is the FMAudit® solution from ECi.
"Of the 600 machines that we service, some 85-90% are managed with FMAudit," Maggs reports. "Our salespeople use FMAudit on just about every presentation they make and it's a major resource—both for our customers and for our own people."
One key area where FMAudit really shines, says Maggs, is its automated meter reading capabilities. "At my previous dealership, we had an entire department who called customers for meter reads every day, all day," he recalls. "With FMAudit, you can gather that same information literally in a matter of seconds."
How big a deal is that? "In the way that our customers work today, it’s huge," Maggs contends. "Anything that can save them time is a real asset and that’s just the beginning."
The data those meter reads generate allow the Solutions YES sales team to put together volume reports that show how much use each device is getting and help identify opportunities for more efficient equipment deployment.
"Our sales reps hold quarterly reviews with their customers and the information we get from FMAudit helps move those meetings to a whole new level," Maggs explains. "It’s not about trying to sell them more hardware. Instead, we use the information we get from FMAudit to talk about their total cost of ownership and how they can save money by moving machines around, consolidating equipment or switching to less expensive units."
Another area where FMAudit has been able to bring significant value to Solutions YES customers is in their supplies management operations.
The program's Adaptive Service Management (ASM) technology allows the dealer to set supply delivery notification thresholds for individual devices. As a result, Solutions YES can monitor toner consumption and proactively send out supplies, giving customers one less thing to worry about and minimizing the chances they’ll run out when they least expect it.
"FMAudit as a program is as much about relationship building as it is about monitoring equipment activity," Maggs contends. "FMAudit opens the door to multiple types of conversation with any given customer that go way beyond the price of hardware."
"Everybody today is facing very similar issues," he points out. "We’re all trying to extricate ourselves from a very challenging economic environment while having to work with very narrow bandwidth. FMAudit helps our customers save time and spend their money more wisely and it does so in a way that increases our own productivity. I can’t imagine running our business today without it."