How do restaurant equipment distributors delight their customers while experiencing exponential growth? According to Dirk Beveridge, founder of UnleashWD, and author of the book, Anything is Possible: Using the Power of Vision to Drive Innovation in Distribution, it’s by “thrilling” your customers, and it all starts with improving your distribution management. He cites Berlin Packaging as an example of a company that consistently thrills its customers. Berlin, now a $2.3 Billion company, has grown over 200 times its value since 1988. While there have been some strategic acquisitions, most of Berlin’s growth has been generated organically. It has consistently had double-digit growth every year for 20 years—while its competitors have grown by an average of two or three percent per year. Over the last 12 years, Berlin hasn’t missed a single quarter of 99 percent on-time delivery.
Beveridge describes Berlin’s ability to thrill in an excerpt from his book:
Berlin Packaging is obsessed with having more-than-satisfied customers and has taken the idea to another level by branding this obsession, both internally and externally, into a term called “Thrill.” All its processes are held up against this standard and only the ones that meet it are implemented.
This obsession also has led to Berlin mapping out the entire customer journey and identifying 30 or so different touch points, from when a customer first learns about Berlin (before they even enter the sales funnel) all the way to when the customer pays the invoice. Because Berlin knows it can’t attack all 30 touch points at once, it looks for the parts of the customer journey that aren’t at its Thrill standard and then makes them a priority.
How can you develop your own version of the “thrill”?
1. Do the expected extraordinarily well.
In distribution, Beveridge says, that means delivering the right product, at the right place, at the right time, and doing it much better than the norm. For restaurant equipment distributors, order fulfillment is one of the top four challenges, including:
- Inefficient order processes that lead to inaccuracies
- Manual processes that don’t scale
- Expensive back-order fulfillment
- Poor fulfillment rates on back orders
- Insufficient delivery capability
Through surveys, Berlin learned that its customers want proactivity from suppliers and product on time. They want to interact with knowledgeable individuals. They want to work with someone who is easy to do business with, and they want the organization to be very responsive.
What do your customers want? Berlin discovered what its customers want in customer surveys, and by using a Net Promotor Score, which simply asks, “How likely are you to recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0 to 10?” In addition to this question, follow up questions are often asked to understand the reason for the responder’s decision to recommend or how the company can improve its performance.
The scores are separated into the following three categories:
Promoters (score 9 or 10): Customers are advocates; will passionately refer colleagues and help you build your business.
Passives (score 7 or 8): Customers are satisfied but are not vocal advocates; they are vulnerable to be pulled away by competitors.
Detractors (score 0-6): Customers are unhappy or not completely satisfied; will spread negative word-of-mouth about your company.
We want to hear from as many customers as possible, so we are always optimizing for response rates, even if that means a lower score. We do lots of A/B testing to see what works best. For example, we tested which email subject lines worked best for getting high quality responses. NPS insights help us understand the best times when we should proactively reach out to customers, and this initiative has helped us get happier customers, increase retention, and achieve a better NPS score.
– Microsoft Office 365, NPS team
2. Find a Way to Create a WOW Factor
Growing and retaining your current customers is smart business. Companies that focus on and strive to delight their customers outperform in the marketplace. It starts with setting priorities and seeing the forest (a thrilling relationship with a customer) for the trees (internal processes, company politics, ﬂavor-of-the-day tactics and other distractions from the core mission).
One way Berlin accomplishes a wow factor is simple – with a thank you note. Berlin decided it would reward customers for providing a credit report. So, any time a customer completes a credit application, it sends a nice thank-you note—which acknowledges this is being done for Berlin’s benefit—along with a digital Starbucks’ gift card.
In restaurant equipment management, poor customer service is a top issue, including:
- Inadequate visibility to customer data: history, demographics, accounting info.
- Backlogs of back orders
- Delivery inefficiency
- Non-streamlined ordering, fulfillment and returns
- Poor customer satisfaction
- Poor rebate tracking
How Velosio RED ONE can Help with the Thrill
RED ONE powered by NetSuite is an end-to-end, cloud-based, full service distribution management software solution designed specifically for Restaurant Equipment Distributors. It integrates two best in class applications: NetSuite – the leading cloud-based ERP solution and AutoQuotes – the leading solution for configuring, pricing, quoting (CPQ) and cataloging for food service equipment and supply (FES) companies.
Companies using RED ONE have made improvements in:
- Customer Management Delivery Efficiency Increased 75% – 90%
- Shipping Time to Customers Reduced 75% – 90%
- Customers Back Orders Reduced 60% – 80%
The cloud solution allows you greater visibility into your business, optimizes the supply chain, improves purchase management and helps restaurant equipment suppliers fulfill orders with quicker and more accurate deliveries. Easy access to order history improves customer service while reducing back-order costs. For more information on our distribution management software designed specifically for restaurant equipment suppliers, download our brochure or check out our video.
Hersch Patel, CPA.CITP
Managing Director, Consulting Services,Velosio
Hersch Patel, CPA.CITP, is the Managing Director of Consulting Services for Velosio. With more than 19 years of experience in the areas of management consulting, managing and leading business applications implementations, Hersch has an indepth understanding of business strategy, business process, business development, and system control design. He specializes in leading teams which plan and execute business technology projects for the purpose of reducing costs, increasing revenue and improving efficiency. Many projects Hersch and his team lead enable individual clients to realize millions of dollars in cost savings annually. Hersch has also traveled across the U.S. and internationally, leading implementations of business applications and management consulting projects for numerous clients from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.
Hersch has a Bachelor’s Science degree in Business Administration with a specialization in accountancy from Miami University, and is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.