Friday, June 6, 2014

Service You Depend On

By Nichole Gouldie, Communications Specialist

All businesses, regardless of type, have one primary and common goal -- to serve and satisfy their customers. Satisfied customers are the number one indicator of business success. Likewise, a cooperative has one compelling purpose -- to meet the needs of its members and potential members. Without a focus on serving members and customers, why should a cooperative exist?

"After safety, our number one priority at MKC is customer service," said Jeff Jones, senior location manager at Haven. "No matter the size of the operation, each producer is important to our daily operations and deserves the same level of customer service as anyone."

Cheney area farmer Tarry Zerger is willing to put some miles on the truck to use
Jeff Jones, senior location manager at Haven, and
Cheney area farmer, Tarry Zerger, discuss Zerger's
needs for application and services.
the services at MKC, although he notes most times his services are delivered to his home when needed. "You can’t beat the customer service," he said. "My location’s knowledge and helpful attitude is always appreciated."

Zerger, a cattleman, row-crop grower and wheat grower, depends on the agronomy and energy services at MKC’s Haven and Castleton locations, as well as utilizing the CFA Input Finance Program and working with TMA for grain marketing. Zerger commented he isn’t the farmer in the area with the most acres but the employees at his local MKC location always take the time to go out of their way to help him.

"We take a proactive approach in contacting our customers regarding future applications and services," Jones said. Jones added Agronomy Manager Perry Stussy has led this charge at the Haven location with unbelievable relationships with local producers. "Perry is dedicated to taking a personal interest in his customers and works hard at meeting their needs, giving them proper expectations of what they can expect regarding timing and completion of services. He has lead by example for other employees at our location."

Often Zerger is sitting in the tractor thinking about next year when he gives his MKC location a call to get advice from the employees. "I also receive several calls from the local employees to plan what inputs and services are needed next for my operation," he said.

With a full-time career off the farm, Dickson County farmer Brian Whitehair relies on reliable, timely service and expertise. "With an off-the-farm job limiting the time I have available to spend in the field, when I am ready to go I need to be sure I can rely on a business’s customer service."

Sense of urgency is critical when providing great customer service. "The growers, at times, don’t expect us to get to them in such a timely manner," Jones said. "We look at scheduling and work hard to get the work orders done while in a specific geographic region."

"It is important to me to not ask for anything that isn’t unreasonable from my MKC location," Zerger said. "But they work to go above and beyond to meet my expectations."

There was one instance last Fall when Zerger’s landlord had lined up a fertilizer purchase from a competitor. "It was a Saturday morning, and when I gave the other business a call to let them know I was on my way, they said they were out," Zerger stated. "I tried my luck at calling MKC on a Saturday. The Haven location was able to get me set up and keep me in the field on that day."

Whitehair commented the relationship he has with his local MKC employees is what keeps him coming back. "They are willing to work with my plan to do what is best for my operation," he said.

Jones and other MKC location managers lead their employees to stay positive at all times, set proper expectations and deliver on them to meet the needs of producers. Jones said, "We have to do what needs to be done in the moment for the customer."

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