The summer season is a time for reflection. We come out of winter hibernation and spend our spring time cleaning out the old to make room for the new. Summer allows us to reset, get organized and focus on productivity in the seasons ahead. Should we do the same with our businesses? See what we no longer need, what we need to “clean up” and the new things we need to adopt? Warehouse distributors that are laser-focused on improving efficiency and productivity will find greater customer satisfaction that will turn into loyalty. Are you focusing on changing the right things?
Satisfaction vs. Loyalty
Customer service is a business’ ability to satisfy their customers.Customer satisfaction surveys abound in this industry and most others. We’re curious to learn if our customers are satisfied with how we’ve treated them and the products and services that we have to offer. A customer satisfaction survey measures a point in time, usually one transaction with a business. Does a customer’s satisfaction mean they are also a loyal customer? Not necessarily. Customer loyalty is achieved based on a business’ ability to supply its customers with what they need. Loyalty means customers choose to do business with you even when less expensive, more convenient alternatives are available somewhere else.
Many businesses have a long history of experience in warehousing. You have set processes, policies and technology. You can’t rely on the old ways of servicing customers and assume your customers will stay. Discover what matters to your customers, and you will build customer loyalty:
- Price matters, but customers are willing to pay more for a better total experience.
- You can have a lot of inventory on hand, but do you have the right products your customers need? Inability to get the needed products degrades loyalty.
- Easy ordering. Do you have a smooth, seamless process? Cumbersome, outdated order placement systems will ensure your customer does not come back.
- On-time delivery. Quick fulfillment and delivery that allows your customer to keep their own customers happy will keep them coming back.
- Customer service. Reliable, highly-trained customer service members will delight your customers every time.
Ensuring Your Value
There are two key ways to ensure that you remain or become your customers’ first and only choice.Look inward and evaluate whether or not you truly understand your customers’ needs and what products and services they are looking for from a distributor.Reach out with personal calls to understand what they are looking for and what you may need to change to accommodate them.Secondly, review your processes and systems.If you have a lot of longstanding manual processes and/or home-grown or outdated technology, create a plan for purposeful change.Customer loyalty and prosperity will follow for those companies that are willing to take a good, hard internal review and engage their current customers in the solutions.
If you want to ensure an objective review of your systems and processes, engage a third party supplier to assist you in evaluating technology options to improve efficiency and productivity. At NSA, we have the skilled staff and products that will set you on your way to a loyal customer base. Reach out today to learn how we can partner for your success.