Observer: Program group identifies problem customers

Jan. 1, 2020
San Antonio, Texas — Much like sorting through a box of parts to locate that "one good one," sometimes the business partners who stand out above the rest are lost in the bin.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Much like sorting through a box of parts to locate that "one good one," sometimes the business partners who stand out above the rest are lost in the bin.

At this year's Automotive Parts Associates' (APA) conference, attendees weighed in on what makes a good tech customer.

"Good customers are customers who pay the bills," admits Jim Puckett, owner of Parts, Inc., a warehouse distributor in Brentwood, Md. "Certainly volume is a huge factor."

Other factors that play into a good customer involve how warranties and labor claims are handled, he adds.

Good customers are those who order a part and patiently wait for the product to be sent, not those who are "on the phone three minutes later, asking, 'Did the truck leave yet?'" says Jeff Schuyler, president of Import Auto Supply, in Yuma, Ariz.

Some of these techs expect their parts in 10 minutes, merely because they won't put more inventory into their stores, says Schuyler. One way to deal with these problem customers is for the jobber or WD to bump up the price a bit to compensate for the extra work involved, he adds.

The customer question also was posed to manufacturers and their sales reps.

Russ Pollard, a manufacturer's rep for Canadian parts maker Richporter, says the customers who recognize market trends and are willing to make changes in their lines are the ones who separate themselves from the rest.

Like Puckett, Wayne Hoskins, president of Vancouver, B.C.-based Pacific Parts Ltd., says his best customers are those who pay, despite how far ahead they order parts. He adds that he wants to get out of the "on-the-hook" business and more into the preventive maintenance business. "I don't want to just be doing hotshot deliveries."

For video coverage of the event, please visit www.motorage.com/apa.

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