Service Levels in the Promotional Products Industry

These words will probably ring true to many customers in probably every industry thinkable:

“What has become of supplier service levels?”

SLA-ImageHaving worked in the promotional products industry for a number of years and understanding how important service in this very competitive industry is, I am amazed when I speak to potential- or even existing customers and they tell me of their horror stories about an industry which I have an absolute passion for.

Just yesterday another unhappy customer!

Being told by a customer that he had phoned four promotional companies, some of them well know, for end of year gifts, with none of them returning any of his calls.

And then we still wonder why a big portion of customers perceive the promotional products industry as they do. Heck, hearing these stories on a regular basis makes me think….

How? Why? Are we too busy? Is there too much business around? Do we have the necessary passion for this industry?

Given we all make mistakes at some point in the value chain. Whether it is due to industry technicalities, our own incapability’s or personal limitations?

The question remains, how do we manage these bumps in the road in order for our service levels not to be adversely affected and to make our customers’ procurement process as easy and stress free as possible?

The word service has become a BIG cliché, as almost every company in virtually every industry proclaims to be a service champion in their respective fields.

Service is not something a customer needs to hear, it is something they must experience!

Due to huge investment from many role players in the promotional products industry, we as resellers have all the tools available that will allow us to increase our service levels. Why don’t we use and implement them?

Given once again, not all resellers in the promotional products market delivers poor service. But there is unfortunately a large number of companies out there who gives our industry most of us work so hard on to promote, grow and improve, a very bad name.

And it is not only about returning a call, this is merely the start of the relationship. It is about managing your customers’ expectations throughout the sales and marketing process and even more so during the production and delivery process.

By improving our individual service levels, all those involved in the industry can collectively contribute to improving and growing the promotional products market in South Africa.

But more importantly, we can change our customer’ perceptions of an industry which can be very beneficial to any companies’ marketing mix, something which is desperately needed.

#poorservices #sla #letsimproveservice

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