With winter inevitably approaching, I recently took advantage of an online deal to have my home heating unit tuned-up to hopefully avoid the nightmare of a broken furnace on a sub-zero day.

An added incentive of the offer was an inspection of my air conditioning unit, which as a consumer, made me feel like I was getting extra value with my purchase.

But once the service tech arrived, he told me right away that he would only service either the furnace or air conditioner — not both — as I had anticipated.

His explanation was that my discounted purchase didn’t guarantee maintenance of two units and that the additional service was based on the availability of the technician.

To his credit, the technician patiently allowed me to speak my mind, but in the end he sped off to his next job and I still have an air conditioner going into hibernation in need of an inspection.

The experience soured me on the company, but also got me thinking about what could have been. If the technician had taken a few extra minutes, he might have won over a long-term customer.

That service philosophy is one which precision farming dealers can embrace, even when time is scarce.

While plotting a course for a multi-state trip to several farm equipment and precision technology dealerships later this month, the Midwestern locations I contacted are buried in service calls during harvest.

Understandably, not every store could promise more than a brief visit — if that — with a precision farming specialist.

But at least one precision sales representative told Precision Farming Dealer that despite being the only technician covering multiple territories, he won’t shortchange a customer who needs a little extra technical help during harvest, even if it means temporarily delaying service to others.

His rationale being that customers always appreciate what he does to solve their immediate problem, but if he can easily troubleshoot another technology issue onsite, it’s that extra effort that reinforces long-term customer loyalty.

This proactive approach undoubtedly has its limits, and the precision farming technician acknowledges that prioritization factors into how long he can stay at one location.

During a hectic time like harvest, it may be tempting to get from one customer to the next as fast as possible.

But as uniquely qualified individuals, precision farming specialists can take a few minutes and leverage their training and knowledge to strengthen customer relationships, even under the most demanding conditions.

I can only hope that the next service company I call sends a technician who shares that vision.