In a service-driven industry like irrigation, looking after the customer is crucial to your business’s success.
For Irrigation Tasmania’s new Sales and Marketing Manager, Nigel Searle, that means the needs of the customer must be behind every decision he makes and each product his team sells.
“Customer service is so important to me and it’s why I keep our team focused on delivering the highest level of customer service that we can,” he says.
“We have to give 110% service all the time and being available for our customers 24/7 is what we do – and we mean that. It’s not a throw-away line, we are available day, night and weekends.”
With increased competition in the marketplace, Irrigation Tasmania has to be at the top of its game, says Nigel. Great customer service throughout every part of the business is what will help deliver that high quality service customers rely on.
“In the growing season farmers are heavily reliant on irrigation and it’s critical their irrigation systems, pumps and pipes are all maintained and operational. We have people available to fix breakdowns or help resolve their issues whenever and wherever they need us.”
A born and bred Tasmanian, Nigel spent many years in sales for the mining industry before joining Irrigation Tasmania around 18 years ago. His strategic business eye recognised the opportunity that existed for Irrigation Tasmania to assist the mining sector. Using his strong mining network, he established the business’s Mining and Industrial Division delivering products and services across the State.
He also helped Irrigation Tasmania provide services to the aquaculture and live seafood exporters, food processing factories, water and sewerage utilities and other local industries.
Working with Irrigation Tasmania’s business partners to keep on top of the latest products to hit the market, ultimately his key driver is finding out not just what it can do but, more importantly, how it can benefit Irrigation Tasmania’s customers.
“There’s quite a trend, particularly among the younger farmers who are very tech savvy, to want products and services that will help make their life easier” says Nigel.
“Labour is expensive, energy is expensive, so ultimately if we can find them products that are going to make their enterprises more cost effective and efficient they are going to be better off.”
Nigel says the level of technology coming into the marketplace has the potential to change the way farmers work. Remote control operation and monitoring via smart technology has enabled farmers to operate their irrigation systems from anywhere – whether they be elsewhere on the farm, or the other side of the world.
There are platforms that will enable a farmer to monitor and adjust every pivot on the property by looking at one screen, says Nigel. That enables them to invest their energies into other parts of the farm while still ensuring the irrigation is doing its job.
“Farming is a really competitive business now and efficiencies in time, effort and labour is really important,” says Nigel, “which is why our customers rely on us for advice and recommendations. We have to know about these products and services so we can guide them. It’s very exciting what technology is becoming available and what it can mean to farming efficiency.”