NRE builds the best rail, marine and power equipment in the industry. But for the company's leadership and staff, that's not enough. NRE is also committed to providing the best sales and customer service in the industry, too. Backing up a standing tradition of great service, NRE has recently made key changes to its sales force to better serve clients.
The NRE sales team is divided into two groups — outside sales and inside sales. Kirby Roseveare, NRE's Assistant Vice President of International Sales, says the outside sales team has recently been reorganized from covering geographical areas to a focus on product and market specialists.
“Now, when a client calls NRE about a purchase, they'll be connected with a sales agent who is an expert in their particular industry, whether Class 1, industrial short line, transit, marine, or other,” said Roseveare.
And that's not the only upgrade. Mike Zerafa, Assistant Vice President of Business Development at NRE, says the sales team has also grown in number to better serve clients.
“We have added three key account managers and two inside sales reps to improve our coverage within the specific market segments,” Zerafa said. “This allows NRE to offer a specific value proposition tailored to that segment and focus on their specific needs.”
NRE's outside sales specialists travel to each client's site to assess their product and project needs, ensuring customers get exactly what they need, tailored to their specifications. Because needs and expectations can differ across international markets, NRE has both international and domestic sales teams.
“The biggest difference between the International and North American sales reps would be the cultural diversity in the international markets and the proximity to customers,” noted Zerafa.
In particular, Zerafa says, NRE's domestic sales team has to stay sharp to serve clients in a quick-turn, robust market. But more than just being the fastest, NRE wants to offer the absolute best solution for customers.
“In the North American market, the cycle time from enquiry to order fulfillment happens much quicker,” Zerafa said. “Commercial terms are simpler, and products are often shipped same-day from stock. There are over 26,000 locomotives in North America, and while the market is large, the competition is fierce. The customers have many options, so it’s important the North American sales reps take advantage of this proximity and get to know the business of the customer, understand their needs and become a solutions provider, an extension of the customer’s business. This is what separates NRE from our competitors.”
Inside sales reps are based in both the U.S. and Canada to help clients find the exact parts and components they need for a repair or project. And NRE sales agents are standing by around the clock to offer service.
“I took a call at 9:30 last night, and our outside sales people do the same, both domestic and international,” said Roseveare. “We are always available. I can log onto our system at home at any time and look up inventory.”
Further, NRE's inside sales reps get to know their customers personally.
“Our inside sales reps are dedicated to assigned customers and segments, making them more familiar with the NRE standard offerings and ultimately more responsive to our customers,” said Zerafa.
NRE team members bring an average of 20 years' experience in the industry to their work — expertise that can't be matched. But as a vertically integrated manufacturer as well as a marketer, NRE offers even more.
“Unlike a lot of parts suppliers, we're a locomotive builder. So we consume most of the components that we purchase; most of the components are used by our own shops,” Roseveare said. “So there's a level of expertise there. We're a consumer of our own product — whereas our competitors just buy and sell. They have no idea if the parts work or fit or otherwise.
“If a customer calls up and says I've got a broken part, because we're vertically integrated, in a lot of cases we can actually recommend to the customer an upgrade that's more reliable and less expensive — especially on the electronics side, because we have our own electronics company,” Roseveare added.
In the highly technical transit industry, a customer may not know exactly what they need or whom to ask for when an issue arises. In that instance, a call to NRE's technical assistance line — answered live 24 hours a day — is the first step to a quick, expert solution. Whatever the question, clients can call customer service at 618-NRE-HELP (673-4357). When you call, you won't be faced with a complicated phone tree or endless time on hold. You'll talk to an NRE representative ready to go the distance to ensure you get the help you need.
“Many times, our customer service reps can answer questions themselves; but if they cannot, they will take the client's information, find the person with the knowledge, get the answer, and call them back,” said Roseveare. “They'll put the client in direct contact with the appropriate company expert.”
What really sets NRE apart, though, is its small business spirit backed by big business resources.
“We're a big/small company,” said Roseveare. “We still behave like a small company. We have retained the ability to react like a small company, but our resources are large. Customers aren't just a number, they're a name and a face to us, and we treat them accordingly.”