What does customer service entail for wholesale brands? The simplest and perhaps most important answer to that question is “something quite different from normal ecommerce brands”. When you are selling something wholesale, the ordering process is different, the shipping process is different, marketing is certainly very different and, unsurprisingly, customer service is different too. Customers buying an item in bulk, whether they are themselves a business or even a private consumer, are looking for something different than the usual services offered by a B2C ecommerce company. Accordingly, the way to support them is different too.
Olympic Eyewear, a company specializing in wholesale sunglasses, say that while customers for wholesale companies are usually other businesses, they still make market decisions and, in a sense, also reflect consumer attitudes. This is because while they may be buying your product to sell, they will have a good idea – from their own customers – of what is currently popular and what sells well. The eventual marketing of your products is down to them, but you can think of their behavior as at least a reflection of consumer demand. Accordingly, you should treat your B2B clients just like customers – they need to be retained, targeted by marketing and, once they are using your company, kept happy and willing to return with excellent customer service.
The great advantage of running a wholesale company as opposed to an ordinary B2C ecommerce company is that customer loyalty is much easier to acquire. For one thing, you have fewer customers to consider and are instead dealing with a few clients who are all highly likely to place repeat orders, sometimes even indefinitely. You can only rely on this if the customer service is up to scratch.
Nevertheless, this perception of customer loyalty being easier to maintain once it is secure rather ignores the need for good customer service – most especially when something does not go to plan. Moreover, if you are serving the same client for months on end, this is sure to happen eventually. Thinking that loyalty is assured means many wholesalers miss the mark when this happens.
Tips for Improving Wholesaler Customer Service
So, having established that top rate customer service is indeed vital, how can you go about making sure that you have a robust customer service system in place? Here follows some tips:
Have Account Information Instantly Available
The market fluctuates. And while this is less of an issue for wholesalers, changes and renegotiations of orders are common (and certainly not always a bad thing). Good customer service in this department means that when your sales representatives walk into a meeting, they are completely abreast of the clients’ past order history and details. This information should be distributed to everybody that needs it.
Make Fewer Sales Appointments
With ecommerce, it has become easier and easier for wholesalers to expand their appointments, even into the realm of B2C consumers. Accordingly, a common pitfall is to simply garner as many as possible without considering how this will affect customer service. A hectic schedule and ill-informed sales reps are the sure result if you simply take on too many clients.
Add an FAQ Page to Your Site
That said, you can lighten your customer service load by including an FAQ page, answering the most common questions clients have about your business on your homepage. Good customer service means information, and you will have a greater capacity to supply that if you are not wasting time answering queries that could be easily handled with an FAQ.
Ultimately, the most important customer service tip for wholesalers is, quite simply, do not neglect it.