How we adapted our customer service

How we adapted our customer service

Although we haven’t been able to meet people face-to-face during the pandemic, lockdown allowed us to evaluate the way that we support and meet customer needs. Having a vendor managed inventory (VMI) offering backed up by a strong product portfolio is important but it was the care and attention of our passionate, hardworking team that kept our customers’ production lines running and gave them peace of mind over the last twelve months.

Customer service has always been at the heart of TFC. But over the last year, we have worked harder than ever to support our customers’ needs. TFC never stopped — throughout the pandemic, we adapted so that we could deliver tailored VMI services that would ensure a constant supply of parts — despite a number of supply chain disruptions — reducing the admin on customers’ desks, saving them money and preventing headaches over C-class component shortages.

As well as being experts in their area, be it logistics, engineering or sales, our team have something else in common, they are great listeners. This means we have been able to build a strong foundation of knowledge about our customers, which helped us understand their unique needs and how we can adapt our offering to suit.

Keep talking

While we haven’t been able to meet people in-person, we were determined to engage with customers at every opportunity. At the start of the first lockdown last March, we quickly moved all our meetings online. Our customers all work with local account managers and we are lucky that they are all gifted with the passion and humour needed to support customers, even from a distance.

In a time of uncertainty, our customers appreciated that we were on hand to arrange a call at the drop of a hat and that we could be there. When manufacturers faced supply chain shortages and other issues, we could help them adapt and face up to the toughest of circumstances. Often, this involved understanding what was wrong with their supply chain so that we could recommend a tailored solution that would resume a steady flow of parts. Substituting physical meetings with virtual catch ups allowed us to close gaps in communication, meaning business as usual for our customers.

Adapting our offering

For the safety of all our customers, employees and their families, at the start of the pandemic, we adapted our VMI service. During essential visits to manufacturing sites, we introduced contactless deliveries and electronic paperwork for invoicing, delivery notes and summaries. We also started labelling VMI bins before delivery and offering overnight and weekend installations so that we could help minimise the number of people on site.

As the restrictions come to an end, we will draw on everything we have learnt in the last year, professionally and personally, as well as our new communication methods so that we can focus more than ever on the needs of our customers. Our adapted offering, the new technology and our commitment will all stick around long after the pandemic has passed. We are flexible, experienced and good listeners. We are TFC.