Obviously, it’s easier to reducing customer churn than it is to sell more products, so where should distributors be more keenly focused?

In a world where experts consistently say it is seven (or more) times more difficult to create a new customer than it is to sell more to existing customers, it’s obviously easier to reduce customer churn and increase customer retention than it is to find new customers.

As such, distributors should be keenly focused on customer retention and do all they possibly can to keep their best customers satisfied.

In the distribution industry, customer loyalty is waning and competition for sales is steeply on the rise. Technology has made it easier than ever for a company with a website and a decent marketing campaign or two to compete with you, lowball you on price, and take business right off your plate.

The good news is, technology can also work to your advantage. Technology makes it equally as easy (if not easier) to reduce customer churn, boost your customer retention, and build strong loyalty. And like most technology, having the right tools in place will allow you to accomplish your goals (in this case, your customer retention goals), on autopilot.

Today more than ever, leveraging online tools to your own advantage has become the kind of customer-centric innovation necessary for your company to thrive and survive.

Survey tools, like the Feedback Generator™ and Opportunity Generator™, provide data to ensure that you know what your customers want and that you’re giving customers what they want. Once you have established a system for providing outstanding service to your customers, the next step is creating a platform for your satisfied customers to talk about it! Referrals and online reviews are two forms of this “social proof” that boost customer conversion and profit, and are valuable resources in the current market climate.


Referrals and Online Reviews Boost Conversion and RetentionReferrals come most easily when you invite satisfied customers to refer their connections to you. Because your customers’ connections are highly likely to be similar to your current customers — your ideal target market — and because your customers’ connections are much more likely to trust you if they receive a referral directly from someone they know and trust, conversions on referrals prove to be extraordinarily high.

Online Reviews

Online reviews often lie “off the radar” for wholesale distributors, manufacturers, and rep agents. But these reviews have become a key driver in consumer decision-making.

A study conducted by Deloitte in 2014 revealed that 1 in 4 (25%) of all Americans did “comparison shopping” on the web and fully 75% — 3 in 4 — of surveyed respondents indicated that the information presented on online rating sites is “generally fair.” The numbers have substantially grown since 2014 which means that the mindset of the decision-makers in the companies you serve will increasingly be influenced and swayed similarly.

In fact, we’ve found online reviews that some wholesale distributors’ customers have placed online — and the distributors didn’t even know they were there. Because so many distributors, manufacturers, and rep agents underestimate the importance of these reviews, those who do implement a system to ethically encourage positive reviews can quickly move ahead of competitors who don’t take action.

If you’re providing Concierge Customer Service™ to your customers, then these satisfied customers can automatically be invited to leave online reviews with the Online Review Generator.

Customer-Centric Innovation

In today’s disruptive environment, innovation becomes necessary to survive and thrive. If you leverage tools — like the Opportunity Generator™ and Feedback Generator™ — you ensure that you know constantly what your customers want and how well you’re giving customers what they want.

You can then enjoy a tremendous opportunity to serve your customers because you know them well. They in turn, will provide the referrals and online reviews that will drive the market towards you. Since your competitors won’t have access to the same data and quality of social proof, that kind of customer-centric innovation will set your business apart from the competition, increase customer conversion and retention, and ultimately drive profits.


Dr. Jeanne Hurlbert, President of Hurlbert Consulting, brings to her role as STAFDA’s endorsed customer service consultancy expertise in sociology and survey research. After spending more than 25 years in academia, she now uses her extensive behavioral science expertise to help companies like yours distinguish yourselves through customer service. What sets her approach to customer service apart is that she begins by helping companies meld research and marketing to find out exactly (a) what their customers want and (b) how well they’re succeeding in giving customers what they want. Jeanne provides STAFDA members with 30 minutes of complimentary consulting per year; please identify yourself as a STAFDA member when you contact her. You can schedule a consult with her by going to www.ConciergeCustomerService.com or you can call her at 888-590-9677. And, if you’d like to complete her complimentary assessment, just go to www.FixYourService.com.