Retaining our existing customer base has become more important than ever as more sourcing options become available in the growing market. Innovative freight solutions have turned distant growers into competitors within our local market. At Welby, we pride ourselves on quality, and our pricing reflects that. As other growers enter the market and try to gain customers, they often undercut on pricing. Our expectation of continuing growth has pushed us to focus on increasing sales within our existing customer base rather than taking on new and smaller customers. Bringing in new customers is tough and expectations of both parties can take more than one season to reach full understanding.
Here are a few crucial considerations that must be understood to serve customers in a way that ensures they will continue doing business with us into the distant future.
1. Listen and understand.
Struggles and stress are inevitable and if a customer feels heard, they will feel taken care of. Whether making a color substitute or making a substitute for an unavailable item, it is important to make sure that the customer knows you are aware of the inconvenience this causes them, no matter how small.
2. Provide insightful and thoughtful problem solving.
It is important to understand a customer’s wants and needs to offer useful solutions. Providing solutions that will work in the customer’s current plan demonstrate your expertise.
3. Hold yourself accountable.
The easiest way to gain trust with your customers is to own up to your mistakes and the challenges that come with growing perishable products. This also means taking steps to ensure that the issue will not happen again in the future.
4. Do it all in a reasonable and respectful time frame.
Communication is crucial. Responding to customer concerns must be done within 24 hours. It is as simple as that. Even if the sale is not made or the problem is not solved in that time frame, it is imperative to respond to the customer with an update, a time frame, or the actions that will be taken.