This month our Counter Insurgent shares the love for suppliers, congratulates disties for their customer service and recalls a particular problem where a distributor stepped in to save the day...
I have known good and bad distributors over the past few years - from those who just want the custom to those who seem to genuinely care and want to help.
Some distributors go out of their way, whatever the problem, and that is so important.
We have all had times when things go wrong (usually all at once), but a distributor with top notch customer support makes life much easier. My first choice distributor has help forums and even access to a free business advisor who will help you grow your business.
I once had a problem where I was waiting on a large order which I needed for a customer the next working day, but the courier had lost the parcels. I called customer services and they replicated the exact same order – and made sure a duplicate set went out on time for me.
The other order eventually turned up and my distributor was happy to pay me to send it back by return carriage. Now that is customer service to me: a distributor that wants your business to work because ultimately without the people they supply, they would not exist in the first place.
I know what a headache these situations can cause and ultimately the knock-on effect can just keep rippling, but some quick thinking and a little helpful service can put an end to all the pain. So credit where it’s due – thank you Target Components.
Now, service like this can cause problems for the distributor of course, knowing they will have to deal with the returns and even double credit lines just to cover it. But it’s this type of clever service that makes you remember them.
We all know that one distributor doesn’t stock everything, so we may have to use other distributors that aren’t our first choice. That said, sometimes you make compromises and order slightly different stock, or compromise on price just to get the level of service that you have grown used to.
I want to say well done to all of the distributors out there with similar models and great customer service – it’s not always about the size of your company or the stock you hold which will help keep customers. If you get the customer service right, your customers will go out of their way to shop with you.