From the monopolistic industry has managed to evolve whole sale distribution business with exclusive contracts that are signed with manufacturers for an open, capitalistic market, where there is literally competition among everyone.
In this type of market, the key differentiator is developing strong relationship with customers, since every distributor spread across the region is likely to be providing similar type of goods with comparable credit terms and identical offers. The kind of experience you have to provide your customers with is what will actually establish you much ahead of competition, leaving them far behind.
Having just about 10-20 customers, starting and managing the business along with maintenance of personal relationship are quite easy and effortless. It is not tough to convert these customers into loyal ones, due to the in-depth rapport enjoyed with them on a personal scale. However, with rapid development of the business and enjoying creation of several thousand customers, getting to every customer personally can be impractical. It is also equally risky to depend upon your sales executives to maintain better relationship with your customers, since salesman attrition rate is quite high in the wholesale distribution business. Moreover, the same person might be working for the competitor tomorrow.
Using futuristic distribution software, you can easily provide excellent customer experience and make the task seem effortless. Given below are five simple tips that can help maintain better relationship with your clients, irrespective of your business size and domain.
Free your customers: Customers should be provided the freedom to order their choice of items using an online portal and from their desks. To place weekly orders, they should not be dependent upon your rep’s beat. Rather, they should be offered the convenience to place their orders during any point of time and the orders placed should reach you at the earliest allowing you to fulfill them immediately. Your customers also should be in a position to check their credit terms, applicable offers and outstanding, all by themselves, without actually requiring your assistance every time. In this manner, they are able to become fully independent and now can run their business peacefully without worrying out potential shortages. It is this kind of convenience that will ensure that he becomes dependent on your business and not think about switching on to any of your competitor at any point of time.
According to Bill Gates, when any technology is implemented in the business, the first rule that implies is applied automation combined with efficient operation is sure to magnify overall efficiency. The next rule is that inefficiency will only magnify if automation gets applied to inefficient operation.
Manners: There are several options present in the market for your customers to get hold of similar looking products. The reason for them placing an order with your business clearly state their loyalty and eagerness to develop a healthy relationship with you. Hence, for every transaction they make, you need to make sure to thank them, be it a receipt, an invoice, an order including returns. Two purposes are solved in this manner. Firstly, your customer can have that feel good factor for choosing your business to purchase and secondly, it provides confirmation to your customer of his/her order being received or amount paid has been received by your rep. All misunderstandings can be easily eliminated with a simple thank you conveyed through email or SMS. It also brings in greater transparency to the relationship.
Personalization: Remembering the specific products for which the customers makes order repeatedly with you can take personal interaction to a higher level. It actually allows your customer to feel valued and be happy that his/her choice is remembered. However, remembering every customer’s choice can be impossible. But a quick glance at the sales history of the customer and accurate reports present on the order taking screen makes the task seem possible. With regards to offers, every customer does require specific product type and is not likely to purchase each and every single product available in your inventory. It is with personalization of the offers for the specific customer can help him/her to derive that special feeling when compared to other customers, who probably might not get similar offers. It helps to save money on majority of the items, while providing offers just for special items.
Good business: It is essential to keep business dealings to be professional as much as possible, even though the customer is a friend. It helps to eliminate uneasiness if new customer is referred by your customer, then provide him/her with referral commission. The actual percentage here can be less important when compared to the gesture itself. Each time, the referred customer purchases any item from you, the referrer should be given a small percentage. It will serve as a constant reminder to not forget friends and it will help cement relationship even better. Remembering his thanks will only ensure that your customer remains loyal to you always.
According to Zig Ziglar, people are likely to listen to you only if they like you, but they will conduct business with you only if they have complete trust in you.
Slow but steady can help win race: You need to be a man of words and avoid over-committing as you might only struggle to deliver the order on time. By keeping the promised made on delivery time, your customer is likely to feel obliged automatically to maintain the agreed upon credit terms, without getting into unnecessary negotiations. It will be essential to keep up with the commitments made with regards to delivery time, offers and current stock. If goods are delivered even by an hour late will only cause major loss to the retailer especially during peak business hours. Committing less than actual capacity is crucial to ensure being reliable all the time enabling your customers to approach you without any hesitation, as and when necessary.
The above mentioned five simple ways can help you to offer top notch customer experience without requiring to lose precious money on those unprofitable offers. It does help everyone ranging from large chains to small distributors to enhance their overall customer experience.