Vending Client Retention
Client retention is the side of the business many companies over look. We are going to explore why it is important and how to set up this end of the business as your company grows and matures.
Small startup vending companies do a better job of this than many of the larger companies. Lets take a look at why startup companies do a better job.
Why Startup Companies Do A Better Job With Client Retention
Many times a startup company has the owner on the front line filling machines and having daily interaction with his/her clients. This interaction puts a human side to the business and it is hard to tell Jill the owner they are replacing her.
Jill is doing a good job and the customer knows John and Sue, Jill’s 9 and 10 year old, depend on the income the machines provide.
When a major account asks Jill for a product to be placed in their machine Jill is much more likely to get the item for them or be able to explain why it is not possible. Jill is likely to mention to the person that asked for an item that it is now in the machine.
This interaction is the key to holding onto accounts. It is many times forgotten when a company starts growing. Jill will many times assume her employees care as much and interact with the clients as she did.
The truth of the matter is in most cases the best route person is the type of person that enjoys the filling of a machine. The person with this type of a personality many times does not enjoy the interaction with the client.
How Should Large Companies Handle Client Retention?
The large company needs people in the field calling on their accounts key personnel, which normally falls under Human Resources. By being in front of these people say on a biweekly to monthly basis helps to find out what is going on at a particular account.
It also gives the company a chance to introduce new items and to introduce new programs their company is developing or thinking about developing.
This interaction helps to replace the interaction that was once there before a company gets too big for the owner to be filling the machines.
Many of the larger companies combine sales, client retention and inspection of machines. This person wears all three hats and provides a valuable service to both the company and the customer.
Inspection of Machines
The sales/client retention person fills out the inspection form. They will normally have keys to all the equipment that falls in their territory.
The form will normally have a heading to fill out that lets the company know what account was inspected, what break room inside the account and the date and time of the inspection.
The form will have a section for the cleanliness of the machines. This section will be broken into the different types of equipment such as snack, soda, coffee and food machines.
Under each one of these headings it is broken down into three sub headings: outside of machine clean - yes or no, inside the machine clean - yes or no and the delivery tray clean - yes or no.
This section will list the same machines but will be broken down into different sections below each machine. Normally the machine sections will be broken into filled - yes or no, variety - yes or no, stales - yes or no and finally is the coin mech filled.
This section will normally list: are the lights working, are the price labels in place, and many times will include a section where the sales person can write down the prices being charged for the different products sold.
Normally it is broken into categories such as cans of soda, bottles of soda, coffee small and large cup, gum and mints, candy high and low priced, chips small and large bags, milk, juice and finally cold food prices.
Below each section there is normally about 4 or 5 blank lines so that the inspector can write about problems they found. This helps the operations side dial in on any problems that are found.
As I stated earlier the Client retention person normally will wear three different hats so to speak. He/she will be the sales person for the company, they will also be responsible for client retention and last, but not least, they are the company inspector helping the operations side of the business.
This will keep a person busy with the three categories they are responsible for. Each category helps the other. Client retention will help when the sales side needs a good referral for a possible new account.
The clean filled and working form helps operations have an extra set of eyes in the field and keeps the client happy. All three of these things work nicely together to help a large company continue to retain clients and to grow their business.
How to handle the unhappy vending
customer that does not communicate.
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