From Toys to Tractors, Service is Important

Between the Fencerows

Good service, from dealers to delivery companies, makes the farm run smoothly

Published on: October 15, 2013

I came home one day to find Emry, our 3-year-old, with a boxed collector toy my grandpa had given me in the basement.  He wanted to know if he could open it.  Rachael instructed him to take it upstairs and we would ask daddy when he gets home.  About an hour later, Emry went back downstairs cradling the Allis Chalmers tractor like a baby.  The next morning, we had a chance to talk about it.  A quick Google search revealed the $28 toy was now worth between $60-100. I told Emry we would go to the dealership and pick out a new toy he could play with.

So, what is important to a 3-year-old when selecting a new tractor?  It must have a loader, it must be orange, and it must make sounds.  Emry selected a Case IH remote controlled model that makes noise.  (Mom was happy about the realistic sounds.)  However, it also hit an important category for dad – it was 25% off.  Had he selected the steel model (not plastic) with a loader, it would have been as much as the collector toy at home.

Good service, from dealers to delivery companies, makes the farm run smoothly
Good service, from dealers to delivery companies, makes the farm run smoothly

In all seriousness

Seriously, more than discounts or price, probably the most important factor for me on a tractor purchase is customer service.  These technology-laced machines often require more than a wrench and petroleum products to keep them running.

Support and quick remedies are important.  It seems we've been in a tough stretch with customer service as of late.  Equipment coming from dealers not set up properly continues to be an issue. This week we had a technician working on a GPS issue. He 'broke' all his tools one day and left to get new ones. 

The following day he returned. About 45 minutes later, he called and told me he "broke all his tools, they were worn out." I inquired about the new tools, he said he couldn't find any. I wondered why he came back, and sent him home.

We've also had issues with deliveries from a certain freight company who made their name with overnight service. Because of past issues, I had requested they flag our address, so they could schedule deliveries to be sure someone is available to unload them.  They showed up last week without notice.  Then they decided to deliver it to the vendor we ordered through about 30 miles away. I was not happy about sending someone to go get it. The freight company just had a book of excuses.

We did have a pleasant experience recently. It is not out of place for us to purchase equipment over the phone and email – sight unseen, some would say. We haven't had any real problems. Last Thursday evening, we took delivery of a Rogator purchased over the phone and emails.  The machine was fully serviced and the condition was exactly as described.  No complaints. 

I did note that the strobe light and a couple other parts were lost in transport, so I contacted the salesman.  His response was "No problem, we'll take care of it."  He asked me to email photos to make sure he shipped the proper parts.  I received the parts a few days later. 

Though I don't typically promote businesses or companies, Tim Bearden at Alliance Application Equipment in Tennessee and Arkansas deserves a pat on the back.  If you're in the market for application equipment, give them a look.