Imagine you just placed a big order with a supplier. Getting the order in on time is important because you are launching a new product. You call your customer service rep and no one gets back to you.
You leave messages.
You call on Monday morning, Wednesday afternoon, and Friday afternoon:
Still, no answer. You send an email and get an automated response.
How frustrated are you at this point?
In every industry, especially in food, customer service should come first. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we pulled together best practices on customer service. You can use this as a checklist to make sure you’re with the right supplier.
Do any of these five customer service nightmares sound familiar to you?
- Not thanking you
- Sending automated responses
If so, it might be time to look for someone new. Let’s dig deep into each one of these examples of customer service fails.
1. Your Supplier Ghosts You
For those of you who haven’t experienced the online dating phenomenon referred to as “ghosting” it is a term used when someone disappears.
No contact, no email, no phone call.
They just drop off:
It’s one thing to be ghosted by a date, but it’s another to be ghosted by a supplier. The old saying, “no news is good news” does not apply to the food industry.
Even when they have no news to share, your supplier should let you know that.
A healthy partnership should include regular check-ins, even if your supplier shares, “I have no updates, but here are the actions I am going to take.” If your supplier won’t be calling you back for a week, they should let you know that. Don’t settle for vague answers.
2. Your Supplier Lied to You
If your supplier tells you that your order is on the way and it’s not, that’s a red flag. Keeping open and honest communication is the gold standard for any partnership. For example, you’d rather know that your shipment is going to be three weeks late than not receiving it on time and wondering where it is.
According to Walker, a customer experience consulting firm, customer experience will become more important than price and product by 2020.
“We seriously work hard every single day to earn our customers’ love.” – Julie Swink, VP, Sales, Seawind Foods
3. Your Supplier Forgot About You
Working with a disorganized supplier can ruin more than your week. They could forget about your order, misplace your shipment, or fail to update your record with the correct information.
The bottom line is that their oversight may:
- Negatively impact your business processes
- Damage your image
- Make you lose revenue
An organized supplier will always have systems and processes in place to make sure things are:
- Shipped on time
- In stock as expected
- Communicated regularly
4. Your Supplier Didn’t Thank You
You’ve been a loyal customer and your supplier hasn’t told you how much your business means to them. This is the dating equivalent of your boyfriend/girlfriend forgetting to say you look good or that they love you.
Doesn’t feel great.
It’s important to feel valued. And according to Forbes, it costs 5x as much to get a new customer than to nurture the ones you already have.
Your business is important.
Your supplier should make you feel valued — saying thank you goes a long way in customer service. After all, we’re all human and small tokens of appreciation build loyalty and keeps you happy.
These statistics reveal how much customer service can make or break business:
- According to Accenture, $1.6 trillion is lost in the United States by companies when their customers switch as a result of poor customer service.
- Bain & Company finds that businesses that provide better customer experiences have 4% to 8% higher market revenues.
What’s the takeaway here?
If you don’t have a strong, dependable relationship with your supplier, you might want to seek out alternatives.
“Customer service is often overlooked because it’s an intangible. Working in a product-centric industry, some people can forget that customer service is still number one.” – Elisa Guzik, Customer Service Supervisor, Seawind Foods
5. Your Supplier Sent You an Automated Response
You’re not sure where your shipment is. No one is answering your calls. You send an email that needs a quick, human response and instead you get:
“Thank you for your email. We are currently experiencing a high volume of inquiries. Someone will get back to you within 48 hours.”
If your question remains unsolved, or you can’t get through to a real person, it could be bad news for your business.
Like… really bad news.
In this scenario, most unhappy customers will seek out a different supplier. According to NewVoiceMedia, 44% of consumers take their business elsewhere due to a poor customer service experience.
As a client, you know that it only takes one bad experience to change your perception of a business.
It doesn’t matter if your supplier really ghosted you or not, or, if they forgot a shipment.
The feeling of being forgotten, underappreciated, or overlooked is not a partnership. If these problems hit a little too close to home, reach out to Seawind Foods. We pride ourselves on our transparency, communication, and trust. We will always tell you the status of your order and work hard to keep your business.
Read what our customers say about working with the Seawind Foods family.
We don’t sugarcoat anything — unless it’s our ginger 🙂