Volume 46, Issue 8 - October 2007

From the Editor
THE ISSUE AT HAND

Face to Face
Like Your Customers, I Want to Talk with a Real Person

Are you like me? When I call a company that provides me service, whether it’s my phone company, Internet service provider, cable company or water company, I want to talk to a real person. I appreciate personalized service so much, that, when we moved to Conway, Ark., 18 months ago, being able to talk to someone face-to-face was a big part of why we changed car and home insurance companies. 

When we lived in Memphis, we had our car and home insurance with a national provider for the military and, while they had cheaper rates (most of the time), there wasn’t an office in Memphis that I could visit if I had a problem to be solved. While living in Memphis, I had two incidents where I needed my insurance provider’s help. I was in a car accident in 2001 and, in 2003, we had a storm come through Memphis that had straight-line winds that toppled one of our backyard trees onto our house. In both incidences, I wished there was a company office that I could have walked into to expedite the process, or at least a representative to look me in the face while I voiced my concerns.

Are your customers like me? Do they want a real person with whom they can talk? In this issue, on page 24, contributing writer Alan Goldberg explains why manufacturers are selling their products direct and how this market shift impacts distributors. Goldberg also discusses how distributors, who have been cut off by these direct-selling manufacturers, have survived. He also identifies reasons why distributors are still essential to the supply chain and this, as they say, is the rub.

Manufacturers need distributors to provide good customer service—and to give customers the “to-your-face” service they deserve. Nobody wants to talk to an automated voice-prompt service. They want to talk to a real person, to be able to visit a real office and to have a real person come out to their company or jobsite when needed.

Goldberg explains that distributors that truly add value will continue to thrive. We all need to remember that there is tremendous value in live contact, a knowledgeable staff and quick problem solving. “Face-to-face” time has value.

Conventions are another venue where suppliers and customers can talk face to face. The AMD Convention is November 1-6, 2007, at the Adam’s Mark Hotel and the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. On page 38, learn more about what’s on this year’s convention agenda, and why this is the perfect networking opportunity for your company. 

                                                     -Samantha


Shelter
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