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The Remi Group

remispring16

In a world where most organizations are looking for a cost-savings around every turn, The Remi Group specializes in providing just that with a more cost-effective, centralized approach to repairing and maintaining electronic devices. “We want to be a trusted solution, do an excellent job and be respected in the marketplace,” CEO and founder Dan Schuster says. “Remi is the best choice. We are the little guy fighting against the titans, but are becoming more and more relevant.”

Schuster started the Charlotte, N.C.-based company in 1998 as a division of Royal & SunAlliance Insurance. “We started in January 1998, grew very fast and were successful,” he remembers. “Royal & SunAlliance USA ran into financial problems after Sept. 11, 2001 that decimated their U.S. operation. I made a deal with RSA to take the employees, the liabilities, and the company I had essentially built to become independent in 2003.”

Today, Remi specializes in providing equipment maintenance and asset management solutions. The company replaces existing manufacturer maintenance agreements and consolidates all assets into one comprehensive program. “Our competitors are the original equipment manufacturers that sell guarantee cost long-term maintenance agreements,” Schuster explains. “We consolidate maintenance contracts, save our clients 15 to 30 percent, and when the equipment breaks we dispatch the appropriate vendor to deliver the necessary maintenance services. The OEM service provider invoices us and we take care of the entire process.”

Building Trust

remiinfobox copyWhen an organization chooses Remi over an OEM, the company recognizes that building trust among these early adopters of its business model is vital. “We focus on customer service from the first time equipment breaks and every time thereafter,” Schuster says. “We have to do everything right – dispatching the vendor, making sure the repair is done appropriately and doing a good job to earn their trust. Everyone you do business with has to start saying, ‘This really does work.’”

Remi acknowledges it is a small company in a billion-dollar industry and up against strong competitors. Most organizations buy products from an OEM and because of that the manufacturer usually has already gained their trust. Remi’s task is to emphasize the ease of use with its service and educate clients that its service works just as well as the OEM’s maintenance contract – and can save them money.

“We start building momentum with people’s trust,” Schuster adds. “We always start with skeptics and start slow, but soon they see it does work just like we said it would. When we get into an account and prove ourselves, they will continue to do business with us for years.”

Remi has found that treating OEMs with respect and paying them fairly and quickly has been the best way to build long-term relationships. “They might not love us,” Schuster admits. “What you can do is be professional and courteous. Many of the OEMs treat us like customers and a few treat us like a mild annoyance. Every day we work hard to do all the right things, treat them like the professionals they are, follow their rules and pay them promptly.”

Investing in Talent

The uniqueness of Remi’s business model requires the company to spend a year training new employees, which is why new hires are screened carefully for the position. “We serve many different marketplaces and deal with many different types of equipment and vendors. When we hire salespeople we expect it will take a year for it to come together,” Schuster explains. “There is quite a bit of in-house training to get them up to speed on how everything works. We believe in action selling so that’s part of our training regimen and sales philosophy. Our business is a hard sell and technical sell. We spend a lot of money recruiting the best and investing in them.”

Remi offers competitive wages and attractive benefits to retain its people. Schuster tries to create a positive and safe work environment, as well as show how valued each employee is to the team. “A lot of people who started with me are still here,” he adds. “They are the core of underwriting and pricing. We know it’s very hard to replace the good ones and we put a lot of effort into employee initiatives. We were named one of the best places to work in Charlotte this year based upon a process that included an independent employee survey and we are very proud of that.”

Moving forward, Remi will continue to focus on growth through sales and marketing. “We have reinvested a great deal into the company and spent a lot of money since 2012 in sales and marketing,” Schuster says. “We have a huge marketplace out there and there’s only more technology coming as we move into the future. We are quite excited about the future of our company.” mt

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