As precision farming dealers, what types of remote service or technology support do you offer to farm customers and how are you charging for this service?
“At this time I am not currently charging an annual subscription fee to customers for technology support because it’s too much of a management issue trying to figure out who has paid for service and who hasn’t, and having a dedicated service person who is willing to answer that phone when it rings. We offer RTK subscriptions from our network and most of that covers customers who need simple questions answered.
“But if I make a call to the farm and it isn’t covered by warranty, I have to charge the customer. This is a complicated topic with customers and with dealers trying to figure out what the best method for servicing units. I usually overlook a lot of things we should be billing for. But the bigger picture for us is customers not only buy precision equipment from us, they are probably buying other wholegoods from us as well. What we have done in years past seems to work and I haven’t seen the perfect way to charge for services yet so I keep doing what I have and it just works for us. It probably wouldn’t work for everyone though.”
— Spud Armstrong, Ag Technologies, Rochester, Ind.
“As a dealership, we offer remote service when the hardware allows us to use it. In other words, if the hardware the customer purchased has remote access capabilities then we will use it to its full potential. We are currently trying to roll out a new program for customers to sign up for a preseason check-up program. The customer would be able to have their precision equipment looked at, updated and/or calibrated prior to hitting the field. This will give them peace of mind that it is ready to go and also cut down on the first week of panic for us dealers.
“We are not quite there yet. We are just starting to get it going and need to ‘train’ our customers to understand that this is just like the type of service offered by iron dealers. The equipment dealers have these kinds of preseason checkups all the time, and they work well. Currently our technology support charges are free for over-the-phone service, and if it is in-person, it’s $1.00 per mile each way and $100 per hour once we arrive at the job site.”
— Andy Briggs, Crop IMS, Bristol, Wis.