(The following is from an article on OutputLinks.com.)
Bell and Howell has been evolving at a fast pace since its acquisition by Versa capital.
The “New Bell and Howell” is succeeding at what many enterprises would love to do: Reinvent the company to be highly relevant in today’s marketplace by identifying and leveraging their base skill-sets.
By strengthening their mailing offerings and now adding new services and products this “New Bell and Howell” is an entirely different company than the Bell and Howell of just a few years ago.
In this article, Jim Feely, Bell and Howell’s vice president of service, discusses the company’s expanding focus as an independent service provider with Andy & Julie Plata, Co-CEOs of the OutputLinks Communications Group.
Julie: Greeting Jim. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Jim: As the vice president of service, I have management responsibility for Bell and Howell’s service organization. Over my twenty seven years in business, I spent about twenty two of them in service and five in sales.
I originally served at Bell and Howell in a senior sales capacity. I left the company five years ago to serve as Fire Chief of the Durham Highway Fire Department and to run my own printing business. Then I rejoined the company two years ago to be part of the “New Bell and Howell” and expand the service organization’s offerings to a wider market.
Andy: That’s quite a background – sales, firefighting, print shop owner and now equipment service. It will be interesting to see how those experiences can apply to your new objective of expanding Bell and Howell’s service offerings. Tell us about what you are doing now and where you are going with this services expansion.
Jim: We have reinvented Bell and Howell service as an independent services business that is no longer tied just to the mailing and parcel industry. We are now servicing a variety of different products from cash dispensing machines to wide format printers and even robotics.
We are working hard to expand our service brand by proving ourselves as an excellent independent, single-source service resource.
Julie: What do you mean by reference of single-source provider?
Jim: Many companies have an objective to reduce the cost, administration and data-loss risk by consolidating services with a single vendor whenever possible. Since our proven team operates on a 24/7 basis and our technicians have a wide range of service experiences, contracting Bell and Howell to service much or all of their equipment is the perfect solution to the stated objective.
Julie: What are Bell and Howell’s primary value propositions that would help a company choose you for their important service functions?
Jim: Good question and we have a great answer.
Bell and Howell has one of the largest dedicated service organizations in the industry with a large geographic national footprint in the US and Canada. So multi-location companies with equipment spread across the country (even in rural areas) would be under a single Bell and Howell service agreement.
We have a dedicated customer call center that’s available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Customers love that they have only one number to call, any time of day or night for service
We offer a variety of very flexible service plans to meet our customers’ needs. In some cases customers want us to be resident, onsite, to be able to respond immediately. Since many of our customers require non-conventional hours for service, they can feel comfortable to call us at any time to be there.
Customers can order parts and supplies online through our website, anything the customer needs for the equipment we service can be ordered through our website.
Julie: What tools do you use to ensure the high level of services that companies require?
Jim: Bell and Howell is an SAP user as well as an SAP partner. So we understand the product well and put it to work benefitting our customers. Our SAP system tracks every call that comes in, the response times and problem resolution.
We use customer surveys and our call center data to monitor the level of service customers receive to insure we meet our promise of excellence to the customer.
The goal is to continually enhance the quality of our service by accessing immediate feedback from our customers and our technicians.
Julie: What do your customers see as the benefits?
Jim: As the executive in charge, I consistently monitor our response times. We commit to 4 hour response, and we’re averaging less than 2 hours.
Customers recognize downtime is expensive. So the high level of service we provide to enhance uptime at a lower cost is what our high demand customers require and appreciate.
Andy: Will the refurbishment center you are opening in Wisconsin benefit your non-Bell and Howell maintenance customers?
Jim: The answer is, yes. We will refurbish Bell and Howell and non-Bell and Howell at the center or even in the customer’s location.
Customers who are looking to minimize capital expenditures costs and increase the productive life of their machines by years are the perfect fit for our refurbishment services.
We will make their equipment look and run like new plus provide ongoing maintenance for a considerably lower cost than their other alternatives. Our goal is to extend the life of the customer’s equipment which is of great appeal to customers who want to conserve capital.
Julie: As we close, please share with us the primary questions you and your sales team use to qualify a prospect for independent maintenance?
Jim: Here they are:
• Has your service environment evolved as fast as your operations have evolved?
• Has your equipment service been getting a better, more flexible, all inclusive, and less expensive?
• Are there too many service providers having access to your facility?
• If a trusted, single service company could bring your company lower costs with greater security and uptime, would you be interested in discussing the opportunities?