Service is Job One

Often we get caught up in the grind of our daily businesses and then we wake up and wonder why some of our customers no longer purchase from us.

Although it is great to retain 100% of our customers, it is not realistic.

Customers will leave you for a variety of reasons. Maybe it is in search of a better price. It could be new purchasing personnel want to try something new. Or, heaven forbid, it’s because of poor quality products.

Perhaps your competitors have items you do not offer so this becomes another reason to lose a client. Or they may simply provide a better customer experience.

This is why I always say relationships and excellent service are incredibly important. It’s not always about making money. Think about the customer and what he or she expects and how he or she has to sell your products in turn to his customer.

Ask yourself if you would buy products from your company? I recall one time when I was still a young blood in the industry. I drove 200 km to an airstrip in order to meet a customer.

I was offering him the free loan of a printer for one of his farms that had been damaged by a storm. I met him at 5 a.m. and he flew two hours into Africa to deliver that printer to the farm just to keep his office printing. To me, this was just a normal way I offered service. To him, it saved his business.

He has been a loyal customer and friend ever since. All because of a simple act of service. I did not think of it at the time, but I was providing him with a better customer experience.

Excellence in business is not just expected, it’s demanded.  After having that experience, I say the best business model involves, in this order, service, quality then price.

 

Service is Job One

Often we get caught up in the grind of our daily businesses and then we wake up and wonder why some of our customers no longer purchase from us.

Although it is great to retain 100% of our customers, it is not realistic.

Customers will leave you for a variety of reasons. Maybe it is in search of a better price. It could be new purchasing personnel want to try something new. Or, heaven forbid, it’s because of poor quality products.

Perhaps your competitors have items you do not offer so this becomes another reason to lose a client. Or they may simply provide a better customer experience.

This is why I always say relationships and excellent service are incredibly important. It’s not always about making money. Think about the customer and what he or she expects and how he or she has to sell your products in turn to his customer.

Ask yourself if you would buy products from your company? I recall one time when I was still a young blood in the industry. I drove 200 km to an airstrip in order to meet a customer.

I was offering him the free loan of a printer for one of his farms that had been damaged by a storm. I met him at 5 a.m. and he flew two hours into Africa to deliver that printer to the farm just to keep his office printing. To me, this was just a normal way I offered service. To him, it saved his business.

He has been a loyal customer and friend ever since. All because of a simple act of service. I did not think of it at the time, but I was providing him with a better customer experience.

Excellence in business is not just expected, it’s demanded.  After having that experience, I say the best business model involves, in this order, service, quality then price.

We found growth in changing focus

As we start to wind down after a busy year I take some time to reflect upon the most opportunities I found during the year. In business we hear  many sayings like “find a niche market” Or “be first to market.” For me it is a mix of both and sticking with the trends.

Often you need to trust your instinct and be prepared to take a chance. So far this year:

1.    Chip technology has become really difficult and tricky. The OEMs are being very clever in their designs. Make sure you partner your business with the correct company which respects the OEM patents and dominates the market;

2.    Understand different market trends. Think of a fish out of water: it will not survive. So do not try sell products you know nothing about in a market you don’t understand. Spend time researching areas and building relationships;

3.    Wide format inks have proved extremely profitable. Align yourselves with companies with a trusted brand that you can use as referrals;

4.    High end copier products have been very successful, due to there being almost zero Aftermarket competition and yet still give good margins when it comes to selling against the OEM;

5.    Exhibiting at trade shows has proved to be great for company exposure and brand building. These events also allow you to meet prospective suppliers. I encourage more companies to think about exporting goods as well as selling to their local markets. When the one market is bad, the other will most likely be good. Speak to government, as I have found they sometimes offer subsidies and support for trade shows.

This is what I have learnt in 2016. Sometimes it comes at a price, but if you continue to focus and stick to your plan it will pay dividends in the long run. I wish my readers a good end to 2016 and a brilliant 2017 ahead.