Scaling new customer care heights.02/15/2012 Thankfully, some things never change – and that includes Bühler Sortex’s commitment to exceptional customer service. That commitment can be traced back to 1947, when the fledgling business provided support to those who bought its first optical sorter. Some 60 years later, it was the introduction of the company’s Total Care Contract programme that real-ly set the bar high – a fact to which customers in more than 40 countries can testify. Recently, Bühler sold its 1,000th Total Care Contract, to a rice-sorting business in eastern India. The customer is Mr Ka-lyani, owner of Modern Rice Mills, which operates in Andhra Pradesh, known as the ‘Rice Bowl’ be-cause of the lush paddy fields for which the region is famous.
Mr Kalyani says: “I sort raw rice using Bühler's SORTEX Z3V and Z+4Vx sorters. To remain profitable, my business must operate 24-7, any downtime cuts into my margins.
“Bühler’s optical sorters deliver high quality end product, and the reputation of my business is built on this. The machines are ultra-reliable, but knowing I can call on technical support from Bühler’s service office in Kakinada as and when I need it provides great peace of mind. The Total Care Contract is a kind of insurance policy. It makes total sense for busy businesses like mine, which must remain operative round the clock. And because I’m so happy with my SORTEX Z sorters and the technical support I receive through my Total Care Contract, soon I will be taking delivery of a new SORTEX A5V.”
“Selling our 1,000th Total Care Contract is a fantastic achievement,” says Colin Chaffers, Head of Technology & Customer Service for Buhler Sortex Ltd. “Of course, the quality, efficiency and reliability of our optical sorters is extremely high. However, customers operating in tough environments and challenging markets around the world like the added assurance our Total Care Contracts offer.
“The launch of our Total Care Contracts programme signalled a new direction in customer support. It showed a commitment to a higher service level, providing everything a customer wanted and needed at a fixed cost.
“Highly trained Bühler optical sorting engineers throughout the world were already delivering a fantastic local service, in local language to local customers. But, the additional dimension needed was to harness technology to provide remote fault diagnostics that allowed engineers on the other side of the world to fault-find machines quickly and effectively, to ensure minimum down time.”
Key customer benefits
Total Care Contract packages range from Gold (the most comprehensive solution), Gold Lite, Silver and Silver Lite through Bronze and Care Plus down to Care and these can be applied to Z, Z+, A, E and K range sorters.
Customers can also benefit from Bühler’s Anyware system, which delivers worldwide support at a local level. It works via a telecoms link or the Internet. If a problem arises while a sorter is being operated an alert is created and Bühler’s service centre engineers can determine the appropriate action, often with-out the need for a site visit by an engineer.
Bühler product manager Sylvia Woche explains: “Gold provides customers with: Anyware Fault Alerts, Anyware Automated and Manual Health Checks, Wear Care (wear parts), Repair Care (repair parts), Ejector Care, Repair Visits, Maintenance Visits and Operator Training. Care provides Repair Visits and Maintenance Visits, which can still offer great peace of mind.
“Customers can now sign up for a Gold contract for up to five years. Previously, it was up to two years. The new longer contracts are better for the customer because the price-per-year decreases, the exchange rate risk stays with us and they don’t have to worry about increased rates, because the price is fixed at point of sale. Similarly, the Silver contract has been increased to up to three years and Bronze Anyware has been added to the mix and match Bronze packages.
“We’ve added application days to the Gold, Gold Lite and Silver packages, because we’ve seen the additional need to give customers application training. It’s all part of our commitment to provide com-prehensive support to our customers throughout the world. Because of our commitment to world-class after-sales support, being a Bühler customer means much more than simply buying a machine,” she concludes.