In your organization, please provide the names and titles of up to 5 people who are directly responsible for the company’s performance in the chosen category.
Bob Morrow - 3.5 years - Western Regional, Tech Support, Warranty
Scott Buwalda - CEO/owner - 6 years, from the inception
Tonia Sheppard - Eastern Regional, Administrative
Klifton Keplinger - Director of Interactive Media and Marketing
What is your department’s support goal?
At Hybrid Audio, we all work as a cohesive team toward the goal of complete Customer Satisfaction. It seems to work, as we have one of the lowest return rates of any company in the industry, well below one percent, with some models that have never failed! In addition, Scott Buwalda and myself do dealer/rep training nationwide to assure our customers of an educated, motivated dealer network across the country.
Provide a brief description of how the department functions, and how the functionality benefits your customers.
If a customer has a problem with any of our products, all they have to do is call us, explain the issue and in most cases a replacement is on the way that same day. Between myself and Scott Buwalda, we have over 50 years experience in this industry and audio in general. In adition to being a professional musician, I come from the installation side of the industry and have owned my own store, worked for manufacturers building demo vehicles and doing new product development and introduction, been a sales rep, and written speaker reviews for Car Audio and Electronics. We can ususally determine the cause of a problem and advise the user how to avoid similar problems in the future very quickly. As an example, we had a dealer who incorrectly used a few pairs of our smaller tweeters at a far too low crossover point. Upon questioning the client, I learned that they were high passing the tweeters over two full octaves too low, so the solution was to raise the crossover point to the correct frequency and this ended up solving the problem. By the way, we warranteed the tweeters this time and warned that we'd be reluctant to do it again for this client.
What sets your department apart from competitors’ similar departments?
I'd say the fast response time and constant availability of a human voice on the other end of the line sets us apart from other companies in this industry. I answer the phone virtually 24/7 because I know what it's like to have a customer waiting for their car on a Saturday afternoon and not be able to contact anyone about warranty or technical advice. I'm the guy that will answer the phone at a time like that. The fact that I can also offer technical assistance speeds up the process too. When you call us, we can assist with the warranty claim and also advise what to do or not do to avoid the problem in the future.
How has your department improved from 2011 to 2012?
2011 was a great year for us here at Hybrid Audio, so we decided to expand our staff and added an Eastern Regional ( I was previously National Sales Manager ) freeing me up to do more warranty work and product / dealer / rep training which will promote an even lower warranty rate due to better education about our products. We also added a full-time Director of Interactive Media and Marketing to help us get the word out about our products.These additions have proven to be a great asset in the first half of this year and I feel this can only help us grow in the future.
What changes or improvements, if any, are planned for your department in the coming year?
Due to our extremely low return rate, on June 1 we are going to extend our factory warranty from one year to three years when professionally installed, and one year when user installed after an OTC sale. We'll also keep expanding our already incredible website with even more information because an educated consumer will have far fewer issues with our products and their correct application and that will translate into fewer comebacks and warranty claims.