Power Equipment Australasia

ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK “We are close-knit team of seven that run the dealership and all have varied experiences,” said Ricky Vassallo who spoke to us about the journey this far. “Before this was a Stihl shop, it was Classic Mowers and Chainsaws that Jeff owned. Joe, who is my brother-in-law, bought the business I think around six to seven years ago. Last year in June, I bought into the business as well,” said Ricky who is a fully qualified car mechanic, having worked with Hyundai for 25 years. Also overseeing the business with the duo is Marlene, Joe’s wife and Ricky’s sister as well as friendly staff and team. The staff at the dealership is knowledgeable and is able to assist customers in selecting the right tool for the job and also explain its ease of use and safe operation, together withmaintenance and care of themachine for its optimumperformance. “We always fill in for each other when required...whether it is in sales, ordering products, spare parts etc,” says Ricky. This balance and team work has helped them consolidate the business and achieve continued growth. “I believe one of the secrets to a successful business is keeping the teammorale high,” says Ricky as he goes on to add, “We are fortunate to have an experienced and good team that works well together.” CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IS KEY If there’s something the team at Stihl Shop FTG swear by, its quality customer service. “Good customer focus and an in-depth understanding of the products we sell as well as the needs of our customers, is key to the success of our business,” says Ricky. At a time when customers have so much to choose from, both in terms of products and where to buy from, what does it take to have satisfied customers? “While it’s essential to have good products with good customer service, it is very important to offer follow-up service and sound advice,” says Ricky. OVERCOMING CHALLENGES Milestones in business, especially achievements, are as important to look back on as the roadblocks that the business would have faced. As part of our dealer profile series in PEA magazine, we always ask successful dealerships about the challenges in their journey and how they overcame them to make it insightful reading for our readers. According to the Ricky, the biggest challenge is making sure customer relationships are always maintained. “While it is very important to keep existing customers happy and offering them sound product advice, it is equally important to bring new customers in so that the business grows,” he says. Business in times of a pandemic has not been easy either. “For most dealerships, making sure there was enough stock during COVID-19 has been very challenging,” says Ricky. “The key to keeping customers satisfied is to make sure that the products they want are always readily available. The pandemic made that a challenge due to backend delays,” he says. “Ordering spare parts and equipment was quite difficult during the pandemic as well.” LOOKING AHEAD When it comes to future of the OPE industry, Ricky believes battery-powered equipment has found a lot of buyer interest. “The Stihl battery range has been really well received. Customers have loved battery products especially Stihl chainsaws,” he sums up. MARCH - APRIL 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 23