Putting the Customer in the Driver’s Seat
Joe Seager talks about Modine’s commitment to customer service
Joe Seager, application engineering and customer service supervisor, is a car aficionado who brings a love of high-performance machinery to his job. On a daily basis, you can find him working to support four engineers and three customer service representatives as they help Modine customers meet their HVAC needs.
Q: What brought you on board at Modine?
A: I started at Modine in January 2013 through an engineering co-op. I love cars, and anything with an engine, so Modine’s involvement with vehicles pulled me in. Ironically, I found a home with the Modine Building HVAC Division and have no regrets.
Q: What’s a typical day like in your department?
A: The morning is usually pretty busy for the customer service reps (CSRs). There are lots of orders to process and questions to answer. As the day progresses, they get more time to complete their standard tasks. The application engineers (AEs) provide pre-sale technical support, coach our factory sales reps on Modine products, and process orders for our highly engineered products that sometimes require custom intervention to best meet our customers’ individual needs. My goal is to help the AEs and CSRs remove obstacles that make their jobs more difficult, so a lot of my day is spent problem-solving. For the rest of the day, I work to improve my team’s key processes.
Q: Tell me about the role of customer service at Modine.
A: Customer service is Modine’s direct line to our factory sales representatives and our customers. The CSRs work to ensure that we at Modine BHVAC do what is necessary to deliver value to our end users and channel partners. The CSRs work as a team with sales, engineering, manufacturing and technical service to provide accurate and timely solutions to our customers.
Q: How does Modine approach customer service differently than other manufacturers?
A: Creating value for our customers is key. We do our best to balance efficiency with responsiveness. We work hard to refine our processes so that we can deliver expedient solutions but also develop strong individual customer relationships so we can understand their specific needs.
Q: What are the main selling points of Modine products?
A: Modine is willing to work with customers to adapt our products to meet their custom HVAC needs. As experts in the industry, we feel it is our responsibility to listen to what the customer really wants to accomplish and guide them to the right solution. Once our product is installed, we will stand behind it. If something goes wrong, our customers know they can trust us to work with them to make things right. We have their trust, and we take that extremely seriously.
Q: What are clients and customers looking for, and has that changed over time?
A: The specific products and services customers are looking for have changed over time, but their core needs are the same. Our customers depend on us to help them solve their problems. That could mean we sell a single-service part or a multi-year phased contract that supplies a large school district with hundreds of classroom HVAC units. Either way, the livelihood, comfort and safety of our customers and channel partners depend on quality and reliable products from Modine. We will continue to deliver value and solve problems into the future, and our methods will adapt as necessary.
Q: How is technology changing the functions of customer service?
A: Many things can be automated with software now, which allows us to choose the things that we want to be more personally involved in. If we can automate some aspects of customer service, it gives us more time to focus on the aspects where customers need our involvement most. Ironically, technology and automation allow us to be more personal and develop stronger individual relationships with our customers.
Q: What are the most interesting changes you’ve seen over the course of your Modine career?
A: As an engineer, I talk and think a lot about processes. During my short career, I have seen Modine devote considerable and increasing effort toward process improvement. It has been enjoyable watching these improvements translate into value for our customers. As I mentioned earlier, the more efficient our processes get, the more energy we will be able to devote to the most critical aspects of our business. I think this is a big part of our competitive advantage.
Q: What’s the best thing about working for Modine?
A: Modine treats its employees well. Together, we have all created a family-like environment, and it’s important to all of us to preserve that. The leaders in our company make sure everyone knows that the “door is always open” policy is a real thing. This ensures that issues are brought to the surface quickly and that we can all keep pushing Modine in the right direction.