A wholesale distribution business relies on the service it provides to customers in a big way. And there are certain things that wholesale businesses with a reputation for incredible service all do.
Curious about what they are—and ready to take your business’s service to the next level? If so, here are 10 tips to do just that.
- Have a web presence. People want to learn about your hours and services online. A website is best, but a Facebook® page can also suffice.
- Work with your suppliers to develop efficient delivery schedules. When products aren’t delivered on time, your customers can be left waiting. Work out delivery expectations ahead of time to keep things moving.
- Keep your customers in the loop. Regularly contact your customers about the status of their orders, especially if they’re delayed.
- Stay informed about consumer preferences. Trends and people’s spending habits change over time. By being in tune with what people are buying and are willing to spend, you’ll be able to supply your customers with products that sell.
- Create seamless processes for ordering, delivering and billing. Automating these processes can do that, and there are many technologies out there that can help you. The rise of e-commerce means that many customers expect to be able to order online, so consider giving your customers this option.
- Prep your reps. Teach each new hire your service philosophy and equip them with the right tools and information to deliver that great service. This can include everything from information on what a particular account ordered in the past to digital tools that streamline operations to the most accurate pricing lists.
- Offer discounts for placing orders at various thresholds. Free shipping can also show customers you care about their business.
- Give them some guidance. Your customers have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a distributor. Being available via phone, IM and/or email to offer guidance is key to attracting and retaining customers.
- Get control of your inventory. While you probably don’t want excess inventory sitting around your warehouse, not having enough to meet your customers’ needs could put a damper on your relationship with them. To prevent this from happening, carefully track both incoming and outgoing inventory, coordinate anticipated demand with ordering and do regular physical inventory counts.
- Think long term. A focus on fostering long-term customers pays off over time. Some ways to do that include differentiating on customer service rather than price; being willing to nurture leads to a sale; and letting customers know you appreciate them.
ERIE believes that service is as important for an insurance company as it is for a wholesale distribution business. That’s why ERIE—whose motto has been Above all in Service® since 1925—has a reputation for settling claims fast and fairly. It’s also why your ERIE policy includes access to a local risk control consultant who can evaluate potential hazards and recommend measures to reduce common risks.
As a wholesaler-distributor, you get these services as well as a full suite of industry-specific coverages under The ERIE Custom Collection® Wholesaler-Distributors Program. Contact your ERIE agent to day to learn more about it and to get a free quote.