I’ve typically been one to lend a neighbor, friend or family member a tool, book or household supplies when in need. I’ve certainly been on the borrowing end of the equation and I’m happy to reciprocate.
But there is a reasonable expectation that any borrowed item will be returned. I’ll admit to being burned on a couple of occasions with loaning out items that never found their way back home.
I’m willing to accept partial blame and admit to being pretty relaxed on reminding borrowers that whatever I lent them, I need back by a certain date. And quite honestly, there have been instances when I’d prefer not to get an item back.
That’s not the case when dealers provide customers with loaner technology while a component is out for repair. As much an incentive as it is good customer service, dealers routinely stock commonly used replacement technology for farmers.
Being able to quickly deliver and setup a substitute display for a customer in the heat of planting season can be an invaluable, albeit somewhat inconvenient opportunity to reinforce service reliability.
But once that season-saving replacement system serves its purpose, it doesn’t always find its way back to the dealership. A shared challenge among dealers is making sure customers return a borrowed system in a timely fashion — if at all.
Some say they’ve had success with gentle reminders, but others will go so far as to invoice the item and even send a bill if an item is several weeks overdue. One precision farming dealer began including a notice with each piece of loaner technology stating that once the repair is made to the original item, the customer has 4 business days to return the loaner or be subject to a $50 per day fee.
It’s been an effective tactic and customers have been more responsive to returning equipment within a reasonable window. Taking a hardline approach with a hardware loaner policy might not be the route every dealer prefers to take, but at the same time, it’s costing them money every day that components sits in a customer’s shed on an idle tractor or implement.
With planting season nearly upon us, it’s worth revisiting your action plan for loaner technology to avoid having to hassle customers or lose them all together.