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Special Issue: 2017 Wholesale Distribution Trends

Recommended Reading: Customer Satisfaction Drives Dakota Supply Group

When Dakota Supply Group launched its "After Hours Experts" initiative to provide technical, service and sales support beyond the routine weekday schedule, the goal wasn't to grow revenue but to grow customer stickiness, according to CEO Todd Kumm in MDM Interview: DSG’s Late Night Loyalty Advantage.

"It’s a way of differentiating ourselves," says Kumm, whose company is No. 21 on our 2017 MDM Market Leaders list of the top 25 electrical distributors. "We want to be accessible to our customers. We don’t get tons of calls at night, but every call we answer at night bumps our company up on the loyalty scale. This is about being there for the customers when they need us. The distribution industry is pretty much 8 to 5."

Kumm says the Fargo, ND-based electrical, HVAC and plumbing distributor might have lost 15 percent of its market share to the "do-it-yourself home market – Lowe’s, Home Depot and others – because we didn’t want to open up outside 8 to 5 or on Saturdays and Sundays. So they started servicing people."

As the company builds customer loyalty through its after-hours initiative, it is also beefing up its e-commerce capabilities, as more customers seek an omnichannel experience when shopping for or buying products.

Making online purchasing simpler for customers is another way DSG can insulate itself from big-box retailers and places like Amazon, whose presence is being felt more intensely throughout the distribution channel.

"I want to help the customer, especially since we’re in the contractor market, from beginning of a bid all the way through invoicing, job reports and eventually material," Kumm says. "I think that’s how we have to differentiate ourselves."

Read more about how Dakota Supply Group is working to address customer demands in MDM Interview: DSG’s Late Night Loyalty Advantage.

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