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Fri, Aug 12, 2011

In The Business Of Business ... AND Aviation

LSA Company Makes Changes Following ANN Article

Sometimes, it's just good to know that perhaps you've done some good. We received this e-mail earlier this week from a company who had read David Juwel's ANN piece about being in the business of aviation, but not in the business of business.

The e-mail is from Pipistrel, which offers a line of LSA motorgliders. It's reproduced here in its entirety.

I wanted to provide you with some feedback on something that really troubled me and hit home when you reported the following feature on February 15, 2011

This article really did highlight the fact that many of the LSA distributors in the USA were not doing things correctly/professionally and highlighted the fact that the professionalism in the industry and the lack of triple digit sales each year was because the customers perceived our end of the industry to be nothing more than the equivalent of questionable used car salesman hawking our wares.

Your secret shopper really did highlight our need to not only be more professional with our customers but also to provide outstanding follow-up after the event to not only give our customers more information after the show but also to reinforce we are in the business of being in business!

Our motivation was solely kicked off by your story which highlighted deficiencies in the way we were doing business.

Getting smarter about this we implemented some plans for this year's Sun N Fun event. We made sure all of our dealers were backing up customers enquiries by registering their interest, writing down their name and e-mail address for follow-up. We thought this system would be great but when the information was assembled a few days after the event it was discovered that at least 60% of the e-mail addresses we had collected were wrong and 60% of our customer contacts bounced making it impossible to follow up these customers!.... consider this to be time wasted when you immediately invalidate 60% of your customers contact details

A couple of months of searching went by looking for a better solution when I finally made contact with some software developers working in the App Store.
With their cooperation we developed a very simple program which captured the customer's name, their e-mail address, the aircraft they were interested in, their location and local dealer for follow-up as well as any other comments about the customer and his requirements.

With a couple of iPad's running this program we went out and collected more than 200 serious contacts during this year's Oshkosh event. Utilising the new technology our bounce rate came down to less than 5%, when we went through and cleaned up some questionable e-mails we were then able to deliver all but about 3% of our enquiries back to the customers.  I am very pleased with this lower bounce rate which is much better than no follow-up contact at all....  e.g. Sebring and previous events and much better than a 60% failure rate at Sun N Fun..... already we have proven that our efforts are working by the number of order forms we are swapping between ourselves and our customers, hopefully deposits will be forthcoming in the next months will be extremely busy!

I wanted to write and thank you personally for the work that you do in the aviation industry and in particular this particular article which prompted me to take a different look at the way we were doing business and make some very serious improvements which not only benefit our sales but also our customer service and our professionalism within the industry. This would not have happened had it not been for your article in February which I am very grateful.

With regards, Michael Coates
Pipistrel USA



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