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Keeping Customers On Site

Offering customers a site where they could do a little one-stop information gathering was important to Springfield, Ill.-based Roland Machinery. So when it became clear that it's original choice of Web site design company was on the road to delivering a site that didn't meet the company's goals, Roland changed directions and Web site designers.

“Our goal for this Web site was to create a more user friendly, more navigable site, with the most up-to-date information available for our customers,” said Matt Roland, sales manager. “We wanted to get more information in front of the customer's face.”

Rather than trying to include resource information from all its equipment manufacturers, the company decided to provide convenient links to manufacturers' Web sites. A frame identifying Roland Machinery appears around the manufacturer's homepage, giving the appearance that the customer is still within the Roland site. Once finished navigating through the manufacturer's site the user can return to the Roland site with a simple click.

“Our goal was to be a one-stop resource,” said Roland. “Customers can access our site and from there obtain the most current information directly from the manufacturer about the equipment Roland Machinery provides to the construction industry.”

Another priority was to highlight some of Roland's custom offerings such as its aggregate and paving equipment, which the company has committed significant resources to at its nine branch locations throughout Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. The new site has buttons specifically created to easily draw these customers in.

Selecting the Aggregate button brings up a drop down menu of all the types of aggregate equipment Roland offers. After selecting a particular type of equipment, all the machines available in that category are listed along with model numbers and other specifications. Contact information for Roland's in-house aggregates expert is also listed.

As the company grows and its services evolve, Roland plans for the Web site to grow with it. The site currently offers an online faxable parts order form that can be printed out and returned by fax. Roland would like to implement an online parts ordering process at some point in the future.

“Our long-term goal is to create an extranet site where customers could source parts that we have on hand and we can deliver them overnight,” Roland explained.

The company is also considering adding a feature that would allow its customers to access their accounts online. Both making online parts ordering and online account access available to its customers are two- to five-year goals, Roland says, noting that the company wants to ensure that these offerings are secure.

The most popular section of the site is the same today as it has always been — Used Equipment. The company lists all of its used equipment by category and provides as much information on the Web site as it has on each item, including, in most cases, a photograph. This section of the site is updated as often as necessary to include the most current used equipment inventory.

The site also features an E-Specials and Events section. Here customers can find more information about customer appreciation events such as the recent Fish Fry, which was held in Cape Girardeau, Mo., as well as special offers on parts and service. In the winter months, Roland says, customers will likely find rebuild specials and other parts and service offerings at this spot on the site along with manufacturers' specials in the future.

“We want to provide current up-to-date information. We're not trying to replace the human contact of our business,” Roland said. “We are still committed to having a personal touch with our customers.”

QUICK HITS — Concrete Pump Repair, North Branch, Minn., recently introduced a new site with one-click access to purchase information on used concrete pumps, including trailer-mounted pumps and truck-mounted pumps with placing booms. The Pump Mall provides specifications for each pump and photos are available for most models. Warranty information on each pump is also available. — Multiquip unveiled the new state-of-the-art Stow Web site, which showcases Stow's line of concrete working products, including concrete mixers, screeds, trowels, vibrators, saws, grinders and dewatering pumps. Each equipment category contains photos, product features and benefits, and detailed specifications to help customers select the appropriate machine for the job. The site also includes the latest Stow news, equipment warranty information and links to other Multiquip sites.

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