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Vending Business Information, Issue #057 -- Handling The Unhappy Vending Customer
August 05, 2012

Handling The Unhappy Vending Customer

I have a customer that does not want to talk with me. His philosophy is the machines should work and if they don’t I should know and get them fixed.

For the most part I am in agreement with him. There are many problems that arise in the vending business on a daily basis that can be addressed in a timely manner.

Here is where the problems come in. I want my customers to know when we have a problem and are unable to get the machine in question up and running in a timely manner.

There are times when an employee on the floor can get impatient with the vending company and not always justifiably so.

Normal Procedure

The normal procedure is to stop on a monthly basis and talk with your contact to try and defuse any problems that come up. When you get a contact that will not allow this type of a meeting to happen that is when things can get out of control.

Normal Procedure Has Broken Down

What can you do when the only people that your contact is listening to is the employee? When I faced this dilemma a few months ago I went to the account and got to know the guys in the break room.

After all, who is doing the complaining? It is normally the employees on the floor. Over the last few months I have gotten to know the guys that come into the three break rooms this account has.

When the employees can put a face to the company you represent they seem to become less agitated when things do go wrong. You have set with them, visited with them, and in some cases had some very good conversations.

Many times I will buy them a cup of coffee, which does not cost much, but the good will it can create is priceless.

Summary

The account I’m talking about is a foundry and the guys get dirty for a living. I think they enjoy seeing someone like myself who is dressed in a pair of slacks and a button down shirt come in and talk with them.

I have never considered myself any better than anyone else and when they see me working on machines and listening to them and the complaints they have it can eliminate the complaints going up the line to the people that have a say on whether your company stays or goes.

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