Customer Service in the Digital Age

What does Customer Service mean to customers in the age of the Internet, social media, and digital capabilities?

The Internet has enabled Customers to become more knowledgeable and educated quickly about their future purchases through researching specifications, sources of supply, white papers, and blogging to find out what others think of a product, service, and equipment in advance of purchasing.

How does this impact type of customer service we offer as manufacturers and distributors of these items to existing and future customers? What do we need to provide and do, to be of greater value to our customers?

I believe the first thing we need to do contact our customers to ask them what they value and are looking for in support. We have to forget about our own definition of customer service, ask them and carefully listen to what kind of support they want and need now.

The second thing we need to do is to make it as easy as possible for them to do business with us and to continue to do business with us. This runs the gamut of stream lining the process of setting up a new customer account, speeding up the credit approval process, identifying the key contacts in various departments, maintaining the “right” stocking levels of key items we sell, and creating programs tailored to individual customer needs.

The third thing is its “all about attitude”. Making them “want” to do business with us. Customers have a lot of choices and we need to continually improve our efficiency and friendliness to keep our customers and let them know we value their business.

Customers, what are the three (3) most important things you value and what specific things you expect a distributor to do and provide?

Fellow Distributors, what are you doing about this and what ideas do you have to help us all improve our customer service functions to increase the level of customer satisfaction?

Manufacturers: What are you doing to meet this challenge internally and through your distributors?