SHELTER

April  2004

AMD Headlines
In the news

Customer Service
Is it a Dying Breed?
by Rosalie Leone

The recent National Association of Wholesalers’ (NAW) 2004 Association Executives Coun-cil meeting (AEC) in Washington, D.C., provided me with an exceptional opportunity to meet with a number of my peers and discuss issues that are of concern to all associations. The meeting was packed with relevant business sessions, and the highlight was the time spent participating in the round-table discussions. 

This experience gave me additional insight into the value of building relationships with others that share common interests. As I reflected on the benefits that I gained, it occurred to me that when our members participate in Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) events, they have much to gain from the strength of our entire membership.

The Information Age
Many associations are seeing numerous changes, especially in where members turn for information. Historically, an association typically was the source for most industry-related data. But now, with the advent of the Internet and powerful search engines, members can access most of the information they require online. 

At the click of a button, members can initiate their own research, check out the latest statistics and educate themselves about the changes within the industry. This technology makes information on the morning news too late. 
Will associations have a place in the future as technology continues to rapidly progress? What needs to change so AMD is the source to which our members turn first? 

The Internet is a useful tool, but it may contain misinformation, possibly causing damage to companies, which could affect the prices of stock (either up or down) due to inaccurate reports.

Educational Offerings
Associations can offer educational opportunities not found anywhere else. AMD is currently in the process of expanding our educational materials. A Millwork Home Study Course has been revised and is near completion. It’s the only comprehensive millwork home study course available in the industry. I invite you to check out the AMD website at www.amdweb.com to get all of the details about this great course.

Now at the risk of sounding old-fashioned: what has happened to putting a name with a face? How about face-to-face conversations and shaking the customer’s hand versus clicking “send” on an e-mail? How about extending an invitation to lunch or dinner to a customer, in an effort to nurture that business relationship, rather than just talking on your cell phone? Indulge your customers—and yourself—in a round of golf. 

As we all know, some of the largest business deals ever made took place on a golf course. Another thought—what about creating a lasting impression with a personal invitation extended to a business associate to show the company’s line by touring your plant? By taking one of these actions, you are building relationships that can surpass business and become long-lasting friendships.

As the market continues to become more competitive, and it will, it’s my opinion that many customers still welcome the personal treatment. And guess what—they deserve it.

Associations provide the tools for businesses to foster the networking process with multiple customers at one location. These opportunities can only be found by joining an association and becoming an active participating member. 

The AMD offers the opportunity to network and build relationships between distributors, manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives and other industry-related people. AMD events give you the opportunity to meet new customers and visit with old friends. (You can’t get that on the Internet.)

AMD members: don’t forget to register for the 2004 Top Management Leadership Conference being held at beautiful Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, S.C., April 29-May 2. Visit our website at www.amdweb.com for more information.

This fall you can network to your heart’s content and see all of the great products our manufacturer members have to offer at the AMD 41st Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 9–13, at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Mark your calendars.

For a sneak peek, check out the AMD special section in this edition of SHELTER. This issue is focused on AMD manufacturer members and their products.


SHELTER

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