5 Proactive Ideas When Working with Clients During Delays
It's no surprise that promotional distributors are facing many challenges due to delays. From staffing shortages to shipping setbacks and supply chain disruptions, the need to adapt to change has become a daily norm. If managing a business wasn't hard enough, distributors must now think creatively and provide additional solutions to their customers' ongoing needs.
As a distributor, you might be asking yourself the following questions:
- What are my customers' expectations of me and my business?
- What's my responsibility to my customers and what's outside my control?
- What's the impact of these delays on my customer? How is it affecting them?
- What can I do to minimize the negative effects of these changes and create a positive customer experience?
While you can't control everything, you can prepare yourself and your customers. Be proactive instead of reactive! You can make all the difference for your customer and your business by setting the right expectations. As the promotional industry continues to embrace these issues, here are some ideas we've discovered during this unpredictable time.
1. Working with a Dedicated Supplier
One of the best things you can do is work with a team of people that cares about your customers and business as much as you do. Finding a supplier with a dedicated team is especially helpful in knowing who to contact and work with on your ordering issues. Building a relationship with a supplier provides you with more than product information—it builds trust and gives you security, resulting in a deeper relationship with your customers.
You will know if you are working with the right supplier if they:
- Relieve your worries and fears through timely communication
- Address concerns that you and your customer may have
- Provide transparency throughout the process
For example, Crystal D customers are given a dedicated team to work with and will call to get answers to their questions. Emails are sent throughout the entire process, so you know what to expect. If there are any issues along the way, they can quickly contact their dedicated team member and get a response. The team provides updates and product information, but also provides a remedy to customer frustrations with custom-tailored solutions and service.
2. Communicate with Transparency
Distributors should work together with suppliers to make it easy to communicate about any potential delays. This might include real-time data on shipments, up-to-date inventory and pricing on websites, or timely responses to delays. Suppliers and distributors need to communicate with as much transparency as possible if a problem arises. They should share information about why the issue happened and how it will impact the customer. Whether it's a delivery issue, out-of-stock items, or anything else that will affect your customer, it's best to be upfront and honest to avoid a negative customer experience.
When you contact Crystal D, the team of Memory Makers will respond quickly. The website offers up-to-date product information, including inventory and pricing. When you place an order, you'll know when products are shipped, and you can log into the order tracking system to see real-time data, so you're always "in the know."
3. Educate Your Customers
Communicating is a good first step, but you must also educate your clients about potential delays they might experience. They need to know about delivery interruptions, out-of-stock items, and which supplier can best provide them with what they need. If you are working hand-in-hand with your supplier, then you already know which one will best meet the needs of your customer and their specific projects.
When educating customers, make it easy for them to find what they need. Create a central point of reference for frequently asked questions and include responses. Whether it's social media, email, or any other digital content, customers will appreciate the value of having this resource and getting immediate answers and feedback.
Crystal D provides an FAQ page with answers to customers' most asked questions. You can expect constant communication, whether by phone or email. The most up-to-date information is conveyed across all websites, social accounts, and marketing materials.
4. Leverage Digital Capabilities
When looking for the best suppliers to partner with, notice which ones are embracing the use of technology. Suppliers with digital platforms, easy-to-use websites, and customer dashboards will respond with information more effectively and quickly than those who don't. For instance, if you can see all your orders and where they are in the process, you'll be able to communicate better with your customers. Your customers will appreciate the prompt responses and the timely updates.
Crystal D has a customer portal that is easy to use! You can create an account that allows access to the order tracking system. View and approve art proofs, find order information, access invoices and view shipping information. All information is in real-time and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are looking for a quote, sample or a virtual, you can send a request from the website any time of the day! The website also gives you access to current inventory and pricing, so you'll always know the status of our products.
5. Anticipate Changes
Sometimes you have to change course with unexpected disruptions. It's best to stay calm and try to plan for these changes so you are prepared and ready. Your customers are looking to you for confidence and reassurance, so you'll have to think through how to best serve their individual project needs without panicking (even if that is what you are doing internally).
Changes are to be expected, so one way to improve the customer experience is to anticipate their needs ahead of time.
If you are a distributor and work with Crystal D, you already know they offer award-winning service and are on your team. While their products are of the highest quality, it's their service to you that stands out. During the last year, they've continued to provide value to our customers. Items are in-stock and ready to ship! They can provide ideas for any project!
A Message From Crystal D
We talk to distributors daily and at trade shows, and know the struggle is real. Our team is strongly committed to creating an incredible customer experience for you and your customer. Whether it's our high-quality products or top-notch customer service, you'll always feel heard and walk away with solutions. While we can't control supply chain issues or delayed deliveries, we are dedicated to keeping items in stock and providing alternative solutions when needed.
Contact us today to see how we can help with your next project. You are in great hands with Crystal D!