Multiple factors can drive away customers, including a lack of transparency about products. The best way to combat this and maintain your customer base is to improve the communication across all components of the supply chain, says Joel Pekay, director of sales and marketing for Intertek, in Conflict Minerals Rule Has Unexpected Consequences for Distributors.
Pekay says that including people at every level of the company is the best way to ensure that any questions about products can be answered quickly and honestly.
In the case of the recent conflict minerals rule, customers asked distributors if their products contained any of the minerals in question. But some distributors have tens of thousands of items from hundreds of suppliers – answering one question about one product can be time-consuming, and the answer can be the difference between keeping and losing a customer.
Similar situations can arise as markets adapt to trending consumer demands, such as high-efficiency electronics, fair-trade nondurables, sustainably-sourced lumber and wood products and others.
A consistent process for incoming products is important to have, and once that is in place, Pekay suggests a specific procedure for assessing at-risk products individually. If the process is ingrained in a company’s overall strategy, more people should be aware and be able to provide an accurate and data-backed response to requests.