Wholesale distributors often say their level of customer service is highly important to them and how they do business. In fact, according to an article on the Industrial Distribution website, “82 percent of surveyed distributors believe that their quality of customer service differentiates them from competition.”
But when examining the customer service side of wholesale distribution management, one often finds archaic tools and outdated methods that go against claims of customer service excellence.
Distributors must pay attention to the effort a customer puts in to address a question or need. In the past, calling customer service by phone to discuss an invoice or order was acceptable. However, as the speed of business is growing in today’s accelerated life, customers view phone calls as inconvenient. Customers now expect a self-service option, which means distributors should be looking at web options for their wholesale distribution management systems.
“Distributors are falling behind when it comes to giving their customers what they actually want,” the article notes. “Only 30 percent of distributors are offering a customer portal, yet over 70 percent of customers would prefer an online service option, like a portal.”
An online customer portal allows people to log in on demand to view current and past invoices as well as ask questions and request support. Along with an assured response time from the customer service team or account management, the portal will provide customers with convenience and a feeling that they matter to their distributor. In return, it ensures customer loyalty.
So why are distributors ignoring this valuable opportunity for their wholesale distribution management systems? It may be because they feel other projects have priority, or that no one department takes the ownership of the customer relationship. It could also be that distributors feel technology will come between them and their customer base.
“They feel the ‘personal touch’ they provide is what makes their customers feel special. It is true that sometimes that personal touch is needed, but often times, the customer simply wants to get their issue resolved and move on with their day,” the article explains.
Retaining the phone call option can still be a valuable way to remain attentive to customer demands, but today, the demand for a quick and hassle-free resolution to questions and problems is far more important.
Wholesale distribution management in the cloud can provide comprehensive customer portal capabilities that separate businesses from their competition when it comes to customer service.
Contact us today for a no-obligation assessment of your cloud readiness.
Source: Industrial Distribution, December 2013