In business since 1907, Wm. Nobbe and Company’s motto is, “People dedicated to making your life better.” This focus on enabling employees to better serve their customers is reflected in the dealership’s philosophy.
Over the years, this John Deere dealership has grown to seven locations in Illinois and Missouri, serving equipment customers in large and small ag, residential, commercial and municipalities. Nobbe family tradition continues with Tom Nobbe serving as President/CEO and his sons Jared and Brad in leadership roles within the company.
“We want to make sure we don’t grow so fast that we lose the personal touch and the ability to deliver results,” states Nobbe. “It’s very much still a people-focused business. For the last two years, we’ve been working really hard on the people side of things.”
Recognizing that frontline employees are the ones delivering results, two-way communication is key, according to Nobbe. Ensuring employees are involved in the business is a dynamic part of running a successful dealership, Nobbe said. And focusing on their employees enhances the customer offering at their dealerships.
One unique offering for Wm. Nobbe and Company is extended hours at the Waterloo, Illinois stores, which have been offered there for 20 years. The store is open year-round from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., offering flexible hours to employees who also farm and serving as a resource for customers across the region for options outside normal business hours to meet their equipment service needs.
Providing great customer service is top of mind for any equipment dealership, and Nobbe points to downtime as a major concern for his customers.
“More and more customers want service on the road,” said Nobbe. “We have a lot of larger service trucks with cranes that can do the work in the field, which is actually our preference too. Downtime is a major issue for customers because time is money. So, they’re looking to us to keep them running.”
Nobbe also says that meeting the needs of precision ag customers is another focus for the company.
“The needs of precision ag customers are changing every day,” said Nobbe. “We have four people dedicated to that segment of the business. More and more customers are looking at their dealer to provide information and guidance to help them be successful.”
“It can be easy to focus on the technical aspects of the business or to have everyone focus on financial goals,” says Nobbe. “That comes fairly easy, but what you can lose sight of, especially as you grow, is the people side of the business and in particular, the employee side. We’re working to get a good balance of the people side of the business and the technical side of the business.”
In fact, the company brought in an outside consultant to further enhance employees’ leadership and customer service skills. Management went through training to learn best practices and now management is working to keep the lessons alive for employees.
“The employees are the people dealing with customers day in and day out, which is why it is such a critical part that we are putting a lot of emphasis on. If you’ve got happy employees who are engaged and on board, the customer side of things will just come along.”