UBEC...Remember The Name4 Jun, 2001 imageSource
UBEC...Remember The Name
1961 had historical events that changed the way we view the world today. There was Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin, who became the first person to orbit the Earth, Roger Maris’ 61 home runs in a season and US breaking diplomatic relations with Cuba just to name a few. 1961 also marked the beginning of the company that sold typewriters and calculators with the funny name. The company’s name was UBEC.
For that first year of business, people on the streets would see a young man driving around Northern California’s Bay Area in a truck with a sign that reads, “Is Your Typewriter Broken?” Founder and owner of UBEC, Bill Schmidt, built his company’s reputation on hard work, competitive pricing and most of all, customer service that exceeded everyone’s expectations. The results have been nothing less than stellar.
The name UBEC was chosen from several suggestions from his friends. “After reading all the suggestions UBEC kept jumping out at me,” laughs Schmidt. “UBEC didn’t mean anything at the time, but you remembered the name.” Forty years later, people still remember the name as Schmidt has built one of the oldest office equipment dealerships in California.
Taking this theme, UBEC has taken their name and tied it into their advertising campaign with the positioning statement, “UBEC…Remember the Name.” “It’s been an effective campaign because people hear it and see it, but most of all they remember it,” comments Schmidt. “It has brought us more name awareness within our market.”
“At the time, I didn’t offer much of a store front,” adds Schmidt. “But I knew if I based my reputation on good work at a fair price, people would take a chance with me. And here we are some forty years later, even though we live in a different era, we still run the business the same way.”
A Kyocera Mita (formally Mita) dealer since 1974, Schmidt chose his suppliers like he chose his employees. “I look for honest, loyal people who believe that the customer is number one,” commented Schmidt. “I’ve been fortunate that Kyocera Mita has the same type of philosophy and we’ve had a great relationship for close to three decades.”
The company culture around UBEC has always been that the customer comes first. O.C. Schott, Director of Major Accounts, explains, “When I first started working here, it was very clear that we did everything possible for our customers. This stems from Bill’s belief that it can take months to get a customer, but only seconds to lose one.” Schott, who has been with UBEC for nine years, continues to use Schmidt as a “sounding board” on equipment and deals in the works.
President of UBEC, Steve Boone, who has been with the company for a little more than two years, says the company has gone to great lengths to keep the customer happy. “We don’t believe in voice mail,” states Boone. “When you call UBEC you get a person on the other end of the line who is genuinely concerned about your situation.”
UBEC also has an automated tracking software that will track a company’s equipment history. This allows the technician to pre-evaluate the piece of equipment and “arm” himself with possible parts that might be needed on the job. This reduces downtime for the customer. This is possible with UBEC’s local parts warehouse that stores over a quarter of a million dollars in parts and supplies. “We are always trying to find ways to improve our service to our customers,” said Boone. “We always feel we can do something more for our customers. That’s why we never settle for anything but the best.”
Experience = Recognition
The digital age has made customers rely more on their office equipment vendor than in the past. With technology moving at a rapid pace, networks, connectivity and software issues are now the main concern of customers. A seven-time Gold Medallion recipient for excellent service, UBEC has more than twenty factory certified technicians and many with more than ten years of tenure. “Our technicians are continually being trained on the latest technologies being developed by Kyocera Mita, and are looked upon as one of the best technician teams in the country,” said Jeff Schmidt, UBEC’s Service Manager and son of Bill Schmidt. “Being a recipient of the Gold Medallion year after year is a salute to their hard work and dedication.”
As one of the select group of dealers who have a factory certified technical trainer on staff, UBEC stays ahead of most dealers when it comes to training on new technology. “We are constantly training our technicians on the latest Kyocera Mita technology and thus pass along our expertise to our customers,” comments Schmidt. “It’s something that only a selected few dealers have around the country and we are proud that our technicians usually complete their training from our factory certified trainer, before most dealers can arrange an appointment to have their technicians trained.”
Added Service Benefit
Another side of customer service UBEC has offered recently has been their DocuFacts program. UBEC will come into a business and do a comprehensive evaluation of the company’s in-house and outsourced copying and printing. And they offer this for free. “The DocuFacts program is a service we offer to prospects as well as existing customers. In doing some research, most companies don’t know how much money they can save by doing things in-house with the proper equipment. It’s a service we have found to be a good tool in educating companies about how the digital technology available can dramatically reduce their expenditures.” said Boone.
Service to the customer also means that the vision within UBEC must be one of customer service and dedication. “Over the years Bill has made UBEC more than just a company. He makes everyone feel like part of his family,” commented Jeff Schmidt, an employee of UBEC for 25 years. “That is one of the main reasons we’ve had so many people spend a good portion of their careers at UBEC.”
An example of this is Karen Allen, Operations Manager for UBEC. Allen has spent 25 years at UBEC, and she has watched it grow into one of the most respected office equipment dealers in Northern California. “Karen is a great example of type of people we have at UBEC,” She is dedicated and treats each customer she comes into contact with as if they are the only customers we have. That’s what keeps our customers happy, the one-on-one attention they receive from UBEC,” stated Boone.
As an independent dealer, UBEC competes with the megadealers for business. “Our commitment to our customers is providing them with the best service in the industry,” said Boone. “We don’t see the megadealers as our competition, but rather they see UBEC as their competition.” Asked what is in store for the future of UBEC, Boone quickly replies, “Total customer satisfaction. This is what we strive for everyday and will continue to do so in the future.”
UBEC, Inc. is located in Pleasanton, California with more than 30 employees and is an authorized Kyocera Mita dealer. For more information about UBEC, please call (925)225.2000 or log onto www.ubec.com.