I am a gardener and a farmer in my life away from Nashville Wraps. My dad was an organic gardener back when the Mother Earth News was still printed on newspaper. So in 1975 he purchased a Troy-Bilt “horse” rear tine tiller. It was a beauty and would leave a garden feeling as smooth as a double chocolate milkshake. We have enjoyed that tiller in our family for the past 35 years.
This tiller has stood the test of time and has a great lesson for all of us in business today.
This year, my son who also works at Nashville Wraps and yes, who also inherited the “green genes”, was putting in grape vines and helping me with the garden. But when we got the tiller out it just wasn’t much of a horse… it needed parts and some tlc mechanicing.
One thing about Pop was that he kept everything, especially documentation and catalogs that came with whatever he bought, going back to near pre-historic times.
My Mom who is 85 went right to the spot where the tiller book was kept. It was an amazing adventure for me to flip through the pages and content of the books which were shipped with that tiller. I am certain that if anyone read it all they would be an expert in mechanics, maintenance of small engines, and moreover a proficient organic gardener. The documentation was complete, illustrated with pictures, easy to follow and had something that is very much missing from the literature of today: it just made sense! Plus it was a document that could set the gold standard for customer satisfaction.
Troy-Bilt manufacturing in Troy, NY got it right. They had the best product, the best service, the best people, and like I said, the best documentation I have ever seen. So 35 years later I need parts for the thing… Are they still in business? Will they have parts? Will they know what I’m talking about or even care?
I did what anyone in my predicament would do…I Googled them!
Sure enough, right at the top of the list was Troy-Bilt. I had to look at the new tillers first. Were they some sleek new version, or were they some type of cheapened rendition as we so often see? But there it was in all of its 2010 glory… A brand new red Troy-Bilt Horse tiller that looked IDENTICAL to its 1975 forefather. A newer engine and some extra safety controls were the only differences. I was ecstatic.
So I did the unthinkable…I called them.
The parts numbers that were in my 1975 parts catalogs were nothing like those listed on the web site. Usually calling an 800 number has a high risk of failure in these times of customer service cut backs, off-shore call centers and people reading scripts from a computer screen if you even get that far. But in this case it was two simple menu choices and I had someone on the phone who not only was human, but was pleasant, energetic and downright enjoyable to talk to.
I said, “I have an ancient Troy-Bilt tiller that I need parts for,” and he said, “We’ll get you what you need for it I’m sure,” and he did exactly that. After only a few minutes I had ordered belts and a complete set of replacement tines including all the mounting hardware. He asked me related questions, such as, “Is it leaking any oil?” And of course it was…so I got oil seals too.
It should be good for another 35 years!
At Troy-Bilt the person I talked to was an AMERICAN, he knew his business and his products, he was interested in me and my needs and we both had fun. He was able to up sell me from standard tines to the “custom” ones which he said probably were the ones that my Dad got that lasted for the first 35 years. It was a pleasure doing business with this person and this company (now owned by MTD).
This is why companies like Troy-Bilt and Nashville Wraps will stand the test of time as long as we continue to provide excellent products and excellent customer service and support. People have not changed across the years, but many business have. Almost every day we get a letter of thanks for our great products and customer service, and in the event that we have a problem (nobody is perfect) we go out of our way to make it right.
In today’s world, retailers can’t always compete on sheer buying power, but we all can compete for the satisfaction of our customers and in doing so will almost always come out as the long term winners. Pop would have been proud of his decision to buy the best back in 1975 and certainly of his belief in Troy-Bilt products and their outstanding customer service. Way to go!
Director of Marketing