Buying a product online is easy, just the click of a button. A vast, fast moving, automated market place where standard products fly off the shelf with low prices and small margins. Reduced profit is justified by volume, efficiency and minimum human input on every order. But with research showing 80% of consumers still value human interactions over digital, businesses must be careful not to lose the human touch that can help make a purchasing experience more fulfilling, enjoyable and one that is more likely to be repeated.
With automated communications, personalised customer service can be simulated with generic emails, online troubleshooting guides and clever marketing, and with AI set to take over numerous jobs in the coming years this push to automation is only going to continue. This business structure is of course ideal for many markets and has enabled the low prices and mass consumerism we experience daily. However, for businesses such as ours where projects are mostly complex and bespoke there is still nothing better than human to human interaction to find solutions, expedite delivery and, most importantly of all, form long standing, trusting business relationships. Consumers rightfully expect the best prices and the fastest delivery times (these should be the aim of any business) but we look to meet these goals without compromising the human touch and it's added value that makes a company more than just an automated email and a black and white spreadsheet.
As trade suppliers, our focus is our distributors and the valued relationships we have with our customers are the key to our success. We offer high quality, competitively priced products backed by the best before and after sales service possible and I am proud of the regular compliments I receive about our friendly team and their dedication to providing a professional and personalised customer service. Loyalty in business goes both ways and we make sure our customers and suppliers know how much we value the close business relationships we have, many of which have been formed over years of working together. I certainly consider these relationships to be one of the most important and enjoyable parts of doing business.
The demand for ever decreasing prices feeds our throw away society and for some companies breeds a "good enough/get what you pay for" culture where anything more than putting a courier label on a box is deemed excessive and risks profit. In the world of e-commerce, a SME that dedicates the required time and investment in personal human to human relationships will not always be the lowest cost option on the market but we (and many of our distributors) believe that paying that little bit more is well justified. We take pride in our product and know that customer service is the face of a business and it's impact on a company's reputation cannot be overstated. Our aim is to offer the complete service, a well priced, quality product backed by a team that genuinely cares, a friendly voice on the end of the phone with the time to help and offer a solution. We still test and QA check every platform and indicator before despatch, we setup printer formats and calibrate complete scales free of charge, we spend many uncharged hours a month going "above and beyond" on customer support and we still go out to back up our distributors on sales or service calls at the drop of a hat. Yes, some might see potential cost savings but we see investment, investment in our customers, in our reputation and in building trust, and it's an investment that we are very happy to make.