Smeg MD shares secret to success

A multi-tiered customer approach.

Drawing to the end of its record-breaking 70th year, Smeg Australia managing director, Jim Kalotheos has revealed one of the secrets to its success in the local market.

“Our multi-award-winning small and major appliances are undoubtedly the stars with the Australian consumer but it’s our customer service team that is the unsung hero behind this success,” he said.

“The first thing to understand about Smeg Australia is that it is not just a company or a brand – it’s a family. Words such as respect, care, integrity and belief are integral to the family dynamic and each and every staff member and customer is part of the family.

“We take a multi-tiered approach to our customers and our customer service, committing specialist teams to each of our commercial, consumer, food service and Diamond service departments.

“Smeg customer service is rated number one within the industry.”

The technicians

Smeg national service and spare parts manager, Steve Cullen says the technicians are an important part of the Smeg family.

“They love fixing problems and they are willing to do anything.

“Their training extends beyond the technical aspects of their job. Each family member – be it employee or customer – is treated with the utmost respect and understanding and our technicians are taught how to relate to each and every one of them.”

At its Banksmeadow head office in Sydney, young, future Smeg technicians take part in an apprenticeship training scheme in technical and human relationship skills.

Earlier this year, Smeg launched its elite Diamond Service – a dedicated phone line and email address for consumers of its premium Dolce Stil Novo collection, with a 24-hour response time, seven days a week.

Smeg Diamond Service manager, Allison Langer says Dolce Stil Novo customers are surprised to learn that Smeg offers them an exclusive 24/7 customer service. “We call it the ‘White Glove’ service.”

Smeg team, L to R: Daniel Brander, Jim Kalotheos, Lesley Ryder, Allison Langer, Steve Cullen, Karen Farrugia and Jedrzej Wierzbicki 

Spare parts

More than 248,000 Smeg spare parts are held at any one time, which is integral to the fast, responsive service the company offers.

Smeg service administration manager, Lesley Ryder says the service, spare parts and workshop technicians have more than 400 years of experience between them.

“We love being in service and we love helping our customers.

“Immediate access to the correct spare part is crucial to the fast turnaround we offer on all service calls. We simply couldn’t offer this if we didn’t stock this vast amount of genuine Italian Smeg spare parts.”

Logistics and transport

Warehousing and distribution on a national level are key to the brand’s success and this falls within two departments – logistics and transport.

Smeg national logistics manager, Daniel Brander oversees a highly experienced team of 19 across two warehouses in Sydney and Melbourne.

He says tight turn arounds and remote locations are all part of the daily routine and the team genuinely relishes the challenge.

“We have a culture whereby every delivery is treated as a priority, whether it be to a retailer, project site or home or prime time television programmes such as House Rules, Love It Or List It or Buying Blind,” he said.

With a team of 12 and six hand-picked specialist carriers, Smeg products are delivered all around the country, to retailers, distributors and home addresses.

Smeg Australia’s longest standing employee, Jedrzej Wierzbicki, has been in charge of transport since 1986. He has seen the brand grow from a total of 16 product deliveries each month to the current level of about 200,000 units a year.

“We have delivered to boats, islands, the outback and used cranes, ferries and sheer manpower to get the goods to the location on time and in perfect condition,” he said.

“During a recent delivery to a home address, the refrigerator would not fit through any of the doors or up the staircase. So a group of seven Smeg team members stripped the fridge and took it up the stairs piece by piece – and then reassembled in-situ. The owner was thrilled – and so were we.”

Another example of above and beyond customer service was one Christmas Eve when a customer rang as they had taken the door off their oven for a clean and couldn’t get it back on – they had 100 guests for Christmas lunch the next day. The Smeg team rose to the challenge, the customer was amazed and the 100 guests enjoyed their Christmas lunch.

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