You’ve probably heard it said many a time that keeping a customer is much more efficient than gaining a new one. For food and drink start-ups, those customers, retailers or stockists, are vital. However, many food businesses invest a lot of time and energy in gaining new customers, but forget to pay attention to their existing ones. So what does good food business customer service look like?
When you’re just starting out it is much easier to look after your customers. If you have a few local stockists, you can easily pop in and say hello, check they’re happy with their order and if they need more stock. However, when your business grows and you don’t put the right kind of food business customer service processes in place, those existing stockists can be overlooked. It’s especially true when pitching for new customers and getting listed with bigger retailers is so exciting.
Creating a food business customer service process
It’s critical however, to treat every single customer, big or small with the same respect and attention. Here are some tips for how to implement a customer service plan that will help ensure that you’re keeping everyone happy.
- Have a plan! How often you will be contacting your regular customers. It could be weekly or monthly and it will likely vary by customer. Are you going to email or phone them?
- Have an objective for contacting them: have they got enough stock? Do they need any more point of sale (POS) materials? Are you telling them about new products? Be sure to let them know about any awards or PR coverage and good news stories. How about offering them sampling opportunities?
- Make sure you ask them questions and be sure to listen too – have they got any events coming up that you can support? Are they opening any new stores or doing refurbs of your category?
- Automate as much as you can but make sure you make it as personal as possible.
- Surprise and delight them occasionally – how about a letter in the post when they’ve been your customer for a year? You could offer a discount off their next order (if they order your new lines, for example).
- Last but not least – make sure you set some time aside in your diary to ensure you make the calls, and send the emails and letters.
If you’ve got any questions about how customer service can help your food business grow, contact us to arrange a call.