Many industries rely on fabricators and value added resellers to do the ‘dirty work’ of adapting the manufacturer’s standard product to meet the customer’s application and exact requirements. But your customer’s choice is all about customer service and this is a must to to be able to succeed in this market.
Being a fabricator or value added reseller is highly competitive, with little scope for differentiation, making a strong focus on customer service key.
The main goal for fabricators and other value added resellers is to build up a network of motivated customers and sales channels, and as a result, grow their business. They are in the middle of the supply chain and therefore need to balance their priorities between downstream sales channels and their suppliers. But how can this be achieved?
How do Fabricators Compete?
In the GlassTalk Survey of fabricators in the windows and glazing industry, 80% of fabricators compete on the quality of service. Fabricators’ main goal is to build up a network of motivated customers who pay on time and who consequently help to grow their business. They need to run their business in a way that closes the gap between retailers limited capabilities and the inflexibilities in the manufacturers’ products. Agility, flexibility and service quality is key.
Product Specification as the Point of Difference?
There are areas where the majority of fabricators compete with one another because of the success it brings. For instance, our survey showed that 90% of participating fabricators compete on product specification. However the core product is sourced from manufacturers who are providing an open supply to the market. Therefore, for the fabricator to promote product features means using valuable resources on the promotion of the manufacturer’s products. Product features are not unique to the fabricator and this, on its own is not sustainable. Instead, keep the marketing ammunition dry and use it to develop and promote a superior service.
Service, Service, Service
Retailers and installers seek out a personable, responsive and quality service from fabricators. This is clear to fabricators, with 80% competing on the quality of their service. Fabricators see the link between quality of service and choice of supplier. They are in the middle of the supply chain, and thus have the opportunity to focus both on their own supplier choice and that of their clients and prospects. Fabricators are in control of both their own process and of their choice of suppliers. Fabricators who pay attention can create a superior service experience by looking at and optimising every part of their process. It is essential to deliver in a timely and effective way that gets it right first time.
Is Innovation the Road to Improvement?
Although retailers would like more product information from fabricators, because it helps them to sell, less than 50% of fabricators communicate their innovations to their customers. This is an area that can be exploited by fabricators as a way of increasing their sales and delivering a better service. Most critical is service innovation that makes it quicker, easier and less error prone for the retailer and installer to use the service. Service innovation is key for fabricators, it encourages prompt payment and motivation to buy more.
How can Fabricators Improve Their Service?
– Gather customer feedback in a consistent manner and use it to take action.
– Be prepared to accept adverse feedback and to fix the areas that are not working.
– Use positive feedback to build up customer testimonials and case studies.
– Look to create refined and slick service offers with service guarantees to encourage the sales channels to focus their limited resources on your offer.
– Develop a process to monitor and manage customer satisfaction.
This case study covers findings and insights highlighted by the GlassTalk 2011 Survey conducted by BBPN in support of the GlassTalk 2011 Industry Networking event. Copyright BBPN Ltd ©. Findings and insights can be reported with clear reference to BBPN Ltd and the GlassTalk Survey