The Ripple Effect of Customer Service

Last week I wrote Three Tips to Transforming the Vendor Relationship, a short blog about engaging vendors and the importance of  changing your perspective when viewing business relationships.  Shortly after it was published I shared the post with my brother, Howard, who in turn, shared the following email correspondence with me.  Howard works for Netzsch Pumps – North America, a “manufacturer of specialized industrial equipment that provides proven solutions for a broad range of demanding industries.” The correspondence below represents a terrific example of how the  “thank you” process from customer to vendor can transform a business relationship and enhance the relationship.

Email to Howard –

From: Michael Taylor [mailto:mtaylor@ewprocess.com]
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2010 11:08 PM
To: Riggs, Howard Jr.
Subject: RE: Request for Proposal – Positive Displacement Pumps 

Howard,

Thanks for jumping on this so fast!  The customer service of some of the manufacturers that we represent is getting worse, while Netzsch appears to be getting better and better.  We don’t always take time to thank those who are doing a good job, so I just wanted to let you know.  Several years ago, I would not have rated Netzsch very highly in the customer service area, but they continue to get better and better.  It may not pay off immediately (or maybe it has – I don’t know), but as many of the competitors tend to get worse, you will see increases in business because of your proactive attitude.

Thanks Again,

Michael Taylor
EW Process

Once the note was forwarded to the president it became both a testimonial and rallying cry for the entire company. The president forwarded the following email to the entire company.

From: “Streubel, Thomas” <thomas.streubel@netzsch.com>
To: “NPA-Internal_Sales” <NPA-Internal_Sales@netzsch.com>
Cc: “NPA-All_Email_Users” <NPA-All_Email_Users@netzsch.com>
Subject: Distributor feedback 

Fellow employees,

Please read the e-mail from Emory Wilson. They are our Industrial Distributor in the Carolina’s and one of our larger distributors in terms of sales. Please read what they have to say. It’s a nice start into the weekend or into the new week depending when you read this. We are doing the right things and customer service will pay off. Let’s continue to do a good and even better job and let’s make the life of our distributors easy. If we help them to make more business they will start running and chase every single opportunity and turn them in NETZSCH orders and secure jobs for all of us.

Thanks to all; this is the feedback we are looking for .

Have a good weekend
Thomas Streubel
President
NETZSCH Pumps North America, LLC

The timing of the correspondence could not have been better as it really drives home the message of developing unique relationships within your business community; and how those relationships often unfold and blossom into productive, company-wide communications.  It illustrates how the actions of one sales representative (Howard) drove a customer (Michael) to write a thank you note and how that message was used by the president of the company (Thomas) to rally his team.

Today’s business environment is ever changing but in the midst of  this change fundamental business practices, such as going the “extra mile,” can often lead to a ripple effect of positive energy. The above exchange provides an opportunity to view the result of last week’s “Tip #1” from the vendor perspective, which is rare and unique. It also provides a terrific example of how one person’s commitment to customer service resulted in an unanticipated response from a customer which then created a chain of reaction within the company.

The fascinating part about this exchange is that in all likelihood the customer (distributor) has now gained company-wide recognition that will vault his company to being more than “one of the largest distributors” to Netzsch. In turn,  Netzsch is now rewarded with those qualitative returns that often  appear outside the bottom line.

The end result: Relationships are important and while “getting it done” is good, doing it great is better and there are many leaders out their that commit themselves to going the extra mile. In return they solidify business relationships and even, as in this case, elevate the relationship to a new level.

We are always looking for more stories to share so please feel free to share your story about how your actions may have played a role in transforming traditional business relationships.

A special thanks to Netzsch and EW Process for sharing this correspondence.

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4 thoughts on “The Ripple Effect of Customer Service

  1. Thank you for the posts. Your comments (Big Rig, Mike & John collectively) have created a firestorm. I’ve received several examples of “Thank You” success stories and plan a follow up post soon.
    Thanks for weighing in.
    Brian

  2. Brian,

    Great article. I have used the simple “THANK YOU” note thousands of times in my 17+ year career. I have used it not only with vendors and clients but it is amazing as a Manager how far that gesture of appreciation goes with your own employees. It is something so simple but gets over looked everyday.

    Awesome post.

  3. Brian,

    Great article. You inspired me to take a moment to write out a “Thank You” to my main vendor relationship, who has been superb. The expression of thanks is deserved, overdue, and unfortunely, rarely delivered. As a nice byproduct, I can be reasonably sure that the gesture will be rewarded by even more exceptional service, as is human nature. We aim to please those who are thankful for our efforts.

    Well done.

  4. Distributor and Vendor relationships are very unique, because the distributor doesn’t always want the vendor to know who they are dealing with. This shares with us how important is to have a great relationship and how the ripple effect works. Great article.

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