As part of our business development offering at Ducketts, we like to go and talk to our clients’ customers, to see what they really think.
Most people are very helpful, as we explain that our client is looking to develop/improve their business and that their feedback will be very helpful. They are likely to be more candid with a 3rd party than someone they deal with direct.
The interviews tell us a number of things, including, what our client is doing well, what they could do better and how they compare with competitors. Just as importantly, they tell us, what their customers “get”, as well as the product/service that they are purchasing.
For example, recently we had the following comments:
“by using Client X, we are seen by our customers as the go to people and they don’t approach any of our competitors”
“using Client X means that we don’t need to employ additional designers”
“the speed of Client X’s response means that our manufacturing process isn’t slowed down”
“Client X takes away my pain, so that I can concentrate on production. They make us look good with our customers”
So Client X, as well as providing an excellent product/service, make sure that their customers don’t lose production time (and therefore, money), don’t need to employ additional staff, again saving money and significantly improve their customers relationships with their customers.
This is important as it differentiates XYZ – the above extras mean greater profitability for their customers; better relationships, should generate more sales, whilst more efficient manufacturing processes/fewer employees mean cost savings.
Not all customer surveys are as positive – before I joined Ducketts, I was told of a customer survey meeting on behalf of a new Ducketts client. Ducketts were meeting our client’s best customer, whom represented a significant amount of their turnover. We were further advised that they had an excellent relationship and the client could count on their business returning year after year. Product was always sent out on time and there were no issues with product quality.
At the interview we were told, by our client’s customer, that they were looking to reduce the number of suppliers that they used and that our client would be one of the first to go. The reasons were that they didn’t have any contact with them and they were always late.
It turned out that when deliveries were made, they weren’t recognised by the warehouse scanning system. Consequently, they were dealt with when someone in the warehouse had some spare time. Inevitably, by which time it was after the due date and, therefore, was registered as being late.
Our feedback meant that the situation was resolved and the relationship retained.
When I first heard that story, I thought “Wow, I don’t know any other accountants that do anything like that”.
If you have thought Wow and would like to see how we can help develop your business (or your clients’ businesses, please contact either John or Martyn in the Ducketts Business Development Team on 01432 370572.
A man who has to wade through treacle on a daily basis to find silver linings and missing commas.