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Customer service used to be considered a luxury for wholesale distributors – at best, an afterthought. Something nice to have but not a necessity nor a priority.
But the tide has changed. Retail showed the world that customer service done right is an asset. Businesses nowadays pamper customers, and for good reason. That’s because they don’t just sell products - they sell experiences.
This shift to focus on customer service is now happening in B2B, albeit at a slower pace. Wholesale distributors are starting to realize that investing in their customer experience guarantees enormous returns. Wholesalers are waking up and recognizing the untapped potential of a positive customer experience with massive growth in revenue.
You will not only provide your customers with an unforgettable experience, but you'll also gain brand advocates who can recommend and promote your company for free!
What is the Difference Between Wholesale & Retail Customer Service?
It’s no secret that helping retail-level customers is more manageable. But as a wholesaler, you can’t roll with this type of customer service and expect your customers to have a positive experience. You are dealing with a completely different caliber of customers.
When it comes to retail-level relations, it’s common for customer service to solve issues by going through a checklist. Products are relatively simple, with a known list of what could go wrong. And if one solution doesn’t work as intended, replacing it is a no-brainer.
But wholesale inquiries are far more complex and require specialized help. Your customer service reps can’t just wing it. They must work in close contact with the rest of your team to deliver exceptional service.
Your Customer Relationships Are Deeper
Let’s face it, relationships with customers on a retail level are fickle. Factors like pricing and marketing gimmicks more easily influence consumers. Impulse purchases are common, and a poor bargain isn’t the end of the world.
But commercial buyers are looking for 2 things:
- Rock-solid products
- Long-term business relationships
Essentially, they want a business they can rely on, and offering outstanding support is one way to show your reliability.
What Impact Can Great Customer Service Have on Your Brand?
Remarkable customer service improves how customers perceive your brand. Conversely, poor service leads to a loss of trust.
Let’s take two businesses: Business A and Business B.
Business A is known for their atrocious customer service. When customers contact them, they get bounced around until they give up. Escalating the issue to the managers doesn’t fix the problem. It’s just an endless spiral of frustration.
Business B is known for its phenomenal support. Their support agents go above and beyond to solve problems efficiently. They go the extra mile to make sure the solution fits their customer’s business in a protective manner.
Which one has clients flocking away and badmouthing them?
Which one has satisfied customers that speak highly of them?
With excellent service, customers will know they can trust you to deliver on their needs and that you’ll be there to solve any arising issue. They’ll keep buying from you and recommend you to their network. That’s what your business needs to aim for.
4 Ways Wholesalers Can Improve Customer Service
It’s no secret that nearly 80% of American consumers value customer service as the core of a positive buying experience. An outstanding customer experience sets you apart from your competition, and improving customer service is a never-ending process.
There is so much to do, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed – but it’s 100% worth it. That’s why we broke down the process into 4 steps you can implement today to improve your customer service. These will give your support the tools needed to please even the most demanding of customers.
1. Train Your Team to Focus on Customer Service First
An outstanding customer experience improves customer retention. Getting new customers is expensive and unpredictable. Yet reducing customer churn is cheaper and far more efficient.
Training your team means everyone communicates with each other to solve customers’ issues. If a customer needs help with IT, then your support reps should be able to communicate with your IT department quickly.
As Anna Ignatenko, head of customer support at Ahrefs, puts it, support and product teams must communicate smoothly. This way, when a customer contacts your customer service team, they can quickly get specialized help.
2. Know Your Customers & Establish Proactive Customer Support
You should already know your customers inside out. If you don’t, stop, bookmark this article, and find out why they buy from you. You’ll then be able to anticipate potential issues they may experience with your products.
Next, you’ll want to establish proactive customer support. Don’t wait for customers to come to you. By then, they’ll already be frustrated with your product. By anticipating issues, you show your customers you care about them. A pleased customer will stay with you longer, generating more business.
3. Onboard and Educate Your Customers with Technical Information/Documentation
Don’t assume your customers know everything about your product. As we mentioned earlier regarding wholesalers, your product’s buyers and users are very different people.
That’s where documentation can save your customers (and, by extension, your support) many headaches. Your customers should immediately understand what your product can do. If they get entangled trying to figure out how your product works, they will likely move away from you and purchase from the competition.
Create documentation for different people. A salesperson needs different information than a developer or a customer service rep.
4. Ensure You Have a Customer-Friendly Product Guarantee & Return Policy
Buyers are incredibly risk-averse. They deal with multiple layers of decision-making before making a purchase. With a solid return policy and product guarantee, potential customers will be more inclined to buy from you.
A generous product guarantee & return policy paints your brand as trustworthy. But buyers mustn’t need to jump through dozens of hoops to return products. Your return process should be straightforward.
Invest in the Right Tools to Serve Your Customers Best
The right tools will make your customer service’s life easier, meaning you’ll be able to help your customers better.
One such tool is our order management software. Your support reps will be able to see your customers' orders, streamlining the support process. Instead of wasting time looking for the order, they can check it and instantly act on it — saving everyone’s time.
Find out how simple it is to grow and scale your brand with the right tools and request a free trial today.