The Impact of Equipment Downtime

Customer experience is key to loyalty—so your equipment has to be up and running.

July 09, 2024

Vixxo_Logo_Green.pngThis article is brought to you by Vixxo.

“Customer loyalty is top of mind for c-store operators, and delivering on customer experience is key to loyalty,” shared Jeff Stegman, an industry veteran and senior vice president of customer success – convenience at Vixxo. “That could mean the latest innovations or tried-and-true standards. It has to work when the customer wants it to work.”

“We’re seeing it all across the industry. Construction and facility teams want to ensure their stores are set up and maintained well, but delivering on that vision has been difficult.”

Stegman pointed out that many c-stores have at least 30 equipment assets, and that number is growing. “Whether it’s a pizza maker, a beverage dispenser or something else, equipment that isn’t up and running leaks both dollars and customers. With 75% of c-store profit coming from in-store sales, operators want to ensure customers get what they need.”

When equipment fails, it not only halts sales, but can also drive customers away, potentially for good. Stegman warns: “Consumer's loyalty can be significantly impacted. The average consumer can change their normal store after two negative experiences.”

For larger operators, the burden of non-working equipment falls heavily on store managers. “Even if the task of fixing the equipment rests with the facilities team, store managers face the immediate repercussions of dissatisfied customers.”

In a Vixxo study, 35% of c-stores had problems with equipment directly tied to revenue and one quarter of all stores had issues with food and beverage equipment. “We see the combination of the maintenance and repair process being inefficient and the lack of trained technicians,” Stegman said.

A scenario many operators have experienced is dealing with servicing newer equipment. “We’ve seen operators purchase equipment and expect reliable service support from manufacturers, but that hasn’t occurred. Some manufacturers are struggling to maintain the service and installation sides of their business. Operators are resorting to using in-house technicians or spending more for alternative service vendors. This, unfortunately, has put more burden on facility teams for training and sourcing and led to more downtime.”

To ensure c-stores are well-equipped to face these challenges, Stegman advised operators to contemplate comprehensive solutions before rolling out new equipment. This includes not just the immediate needs like utilities and infrastructure but also long-term maintenance and repair strategies. “Working with a facilities partner like Vixxo can help operators navigate these situations and find long-term solutions. Vixxo can share how your stores compare in the market,” Stegman said.

As convenience stores continue to adapt and evolve, the insights shared by Stegman underscore the critical overlap of customer service, equipment management and strategic planning. In concert, these elements secure customer loyalty and driving success.

This is the first of a two-part series on how operators can rethink their maintenance process. Look out for part two on Thursday. Learn more about Vixxo, a facilities solutions provider, here.