Taking Customer Service to the Next Level for Your Wholesale Business

Customer_serviceCustomer service is just as important for manufacturers and wholesalers as it is for any other type of business. It is important to consider all points of your company’s interactions with customers to ensure their experience is positive from beginning to end.  A poor experience with your company could lead to a dissatisfied customer and possibly a bad online review, and one bad review can have a bigger impact than 100 positive ones.  Create a positive customer experience with these suggestions. 


Communication and Information Flow

Each customer has their own personality and their own way of communicating with your company to obtain information.  Offer customers clear ways to reach you.  An easy-to-find contact us page on your website is a good start. Some customers will want to speak with a sales representative, some will prefer email or social media, while others will prefer the convenience of an online customer portal.  By offering many options for communication, you are able to connect with customers the way that works best for them. 


Offer Multiple Order Channels

Just like communication flow, your wholesale customers will want to place orders and interact with your staff in ways that are most comfortable to them.  Some will want to speak to a sales representative, some will prefer emailing their orders in and some will enjoy the convenience of placing their orders through an online customer portal.  For maximum effect, your online portal should sync with your accounting software so that your customers can answer their questions with up-to-date info such as inventory availability, pricing, invoices, and tracking numbers.  Having a number of choices available is a great way to make the order process efficient and increase customer satisfaction. 


Know Your Customers

Inside and outside customer service representatives should have up-to-the-minute client information at their fingertips.  Giving them access to customer information stored in QuickBooks, through an online customer portal, is important so that they can be knowledgeable about the account’s details. Having this info immediately available rather than asking the customer to wait on hold or for a response to an email improves customer service support. Some companies even note a buyer’s personal details in their systems to help create that personal touch.


Stay Ahead of a Mistake

On the occasion that a mistake is made, contact the customer right away. Let them hear it from you rather than waiting for them to discover the error for themselves. People appreciate an up-front approach and an early warning of an issue can often be the difference between an out-of-stock emergency and a minor inconvenience.  It’s important to offer a solution which can help diffuse the situation and reassure the customer that you care and are taking steps to fix it. 

Some customer service departments use C.A.R.P to address customer complaints. It stands for:

  • Control the situation
  • Acknowledge the issue
  • Refocus the conversation
  • Problem-solve to find a solution

When a customer lodges a complaint, immediately take control and acknowledge their issue. Then, quickly refocus the discussion in a positive direction and find a solution that is agreeable to both parties.


Solve Systemic Issues

If the same complaint is coming from multiple customers, you may have a larger issue that needs to be resolved.  You also have to remember, that many customers who have a negative experience, never file a formal complaint.  A customer complaint rate of just five percent is most likely much higher. Ensure you make it easy for customers to give feedback and then make sure you respond to them. 

Even if only a few customers bring up the same issue, there may be a number of customers that are having that same negative experience. Look to see whether the complaints are arising from a system problem in your company, and find a way to address the root cause if there is one.

Customer service plays an important role in every business and is the key to a positive customer experience.  Keep your customers coming back with these suggestions. 

If you would like more information about how an online customer portal can increase customer satisfaction, click here.