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Above and Beyond: Delivering Groundbreaking Service

There are few things we enjoy more in life — and in business — than seeing one person helping another. And that’s certainly true for associates on our Parts & Service teams. They know that groundbreaking customer service goes beyond fixing a bug or rebuilding a cylinder. It’s about leaving people with a positive memory of our business.

We asked some of our branch and service managers to share their insights about what it takes to create customer satisfaction and how their teams are bringing Southeastern’s company values of Helpful and Capable to life. Here’s what they said.

Going the Extra Mile (or 50 miles)

It had already been a long day for road tech Joe Cybulski. He’d gotten up at 5 a.m. to take care of several service calls and was about to head home. Then the phone rang.

“I knew what his schedule was like that day, and here I am calling him at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon with a crisis,” said Brian Zack, Mentor Branch Service Manager. A contractor had been working on a break wall that gave way, and his mini-excavator rolled over. They used a crane to upright the machine, but they couldn’t get it to start. With the clock ticking and waves crashing against the shoreline, they called Southeastern for help to get the machine running and out of harm’s way.

“Joe didn’t hesitate for a second,” recalled Brian. “He drove 50 miles and worked until 11 that night. Whatever he had planned for that evening, he set it aside, even when it meant an 18-hour day.”

Examples like this aren’t hard to find, says Mentor Branch Manager Mike Kress. “We offer 24-hour service, so my phone does ring sometimes in the middle of the night. Whether a machine is down on a turnpike or a plow has an issue during a snowstorm, it’s really about relationships — treating people the way you would want to be treated and taken care of if you had the problem.”

Being a Sponge

Soaking up knowledge, and knowing your stuff, are at the heart of being helpful and capable. “You can never ask too many questions,” says TJ Gleason, Perrysburg Branch Manager. “Being customer-oriented means having a willingness to learn and listen, to take on new challenges, and participate in training. The more we know, the better we are at solving problems together.”

Many service managers agree that technical knowledge is key. But understanding people, and developing the ability to work with others, is the secret sauce.

“I’m a techie, so I enjoy that side of the business. But I also get a thrill out of interacting with customers,” says Perrysburg Service Manager Dave Beck, who joined Southeastern in February. “There are so many friendly and talented people here to learn from. We’re very committed to helping each other, and our customers, be a success.”

Getting Personal

After nearly 40 years at Southeastern, Gallipolis Branch Manager Fred Pennington knows a thing or two about what it takes to meet customers on their terms.

“I’ve been places most normal people have never been,” he laughs. “Inside dams on the Ohio River, power plants, atomic enrichment stations, barges . . . it’s all part of understanding what our customers want and giving them the parts and service they need to get the job done.”

As Fred notes, meeting those needs is definitely a team effort. “Sales, service, and parts are a customer experience chain. We support each other and work together to give customers the best solution for their situation, whether that involves parts, a service call, a rental, or a new purchase.”

Over the years, his experience has taught him that the best customers aren’t just customers. They’re partners, family, and friends.

“Always make an effort to keep connecting, keep learning, and keep helping them out,” says Fred. “We’re there for a lot of customers when they get in a bind. But we also call and just check in to see how they’re doing. It means something when customer relationships turn into deep friendships. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job.”


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