Thursday, June 25, 2009

B2B Customer Satisfaction

Companies that are part of the supply chain such as manufacturers and wholesalers can often benefit enormously by conducting their own b2b customer satisfaction survey.

Improving the relationship between wholesalers and their suppliers and also between wholesalers and retailers brings potential benefits that will help improve the product in terms of:

  • Quality, range and design
  • Delivery method, speed
  • Communication, method and level of service
  • Payment, quality of documentation and settlement time
  • Prices, wholesale and retail price

A manufacturer can improve the relationship that they have with their wholesalers to the extent that the wholesalers would need to think long and hard before they switched to a rival supplier. For example by improving the communication and being proactive in automating much of the paperwork they can add value to their entire product range and that may be just enough to encourage a wholesaler to invest time in resolving any potential problem as opposed to making it easy for them to dictate terms by threatening to switch to a rival supplier. By adding value to the relationship the product moves away from just becoming a commodity item that any Tom, Dick and Harry can supply.

Where wholesalers only want to focus entirely on price they are often doing themselves a disservice by not properly valuing the benefits of working with a professional and reliable supplier, one that delivers on time, provides products that meet strict quality control and that are delivered and invoiced accompanied by documentation that is clear and accurate.

By conducting customer satisfaction surveys aimed not at the end user but at those involved in the supply train there are many rewards to be had. Streamlining the business processes between any two organizations will ensure that costs for all parties are kept to a minimum and that the requirements of both parties are acknowledged and taken into consideration.

For manufacturers it is in their interest to establish long term contracts that will allow them to plan and reinvest, confident that their customers are interested in the benefits that long term relationships can bring. For the wholesaler they may be able to minimize the stock that they hold by improving the ordering and delivering process allowing them to adopt an efficient just-in-time supply chain.

The starting point for such an exercise is an exchange of information that can be obtained easily by utilising online customer satisfaction survey software that is now widely available and that makes the whole intelligence gathering process quick, easy and cost effective.