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More service in coffee wholesale

In the digital age, customers' needs are changing in ever shorter periods. More service, more personalization and all that at a faster pace please.

Their attention span decreases and so does their patience for complex topics. They only scan superficially and quickly discard them if they are not interested.

Society has definitely become more lazy in thinking and therefore likes to rely on its Smartphones. And if something isn't clear, there's the support button. These thought patterns are carried over into their professional lives.

Business customers are changing, albeit more slowly, their needs towards their B2B partners, suppliers and agencies. The tone is becoming more casual, communication is broadening, and service is expanding.

As a result, business processes can be made more attractive and modern for all parties involved. And all of this can be done in real time.

More service = more trust

But what exactly can be understood by service in this business context? We explain that in this blog post.

What agencies have been doing for a long time for a fee is slowly moving over to wholesale and all other B2B business models. They all offer their customers an additional (free) service.

Their expertise is sought after by many smaller companies and start-ups. They help with support issues and share their experience. They build their relationship and trust along the way, gaining more clientele. Good service is known to spread the word.

We would like to reiterate that people still buy from people. And a perfect and personal service can, according to the current status, only come from the staff. Exceptions prove the rule 🤖

Coming back to wholesale, we ask ourselves:

What can the service in coffee wholesale look like? And what advantages does it have for both the customer and the company?

The service for wholesale

To make service and support visible to the B2B customer, we first divide it into several categories along the customer's purchase decision journey.

So, when following the B2B customer's purchase intention, the following highly simplified scheme is ideally formed:

  1. The potential customer shows interest
  2. The potential customer needs advice and an offer
  3. The acquired customer needs further information or help
  4. The customer again shows interest in the other product

These steps can repeat like a cycle in practice. There is a suitable service for each of them:

  1. Pre-Sale Service
  2. "During-Sale Service" 
  3. After-Sale Service

Especially prospective customers from and for the wholesale trade, who are planning a larger investment volume in advance, usually need more information when making their decision.

Service Digital supports

How exactly support is packaged and presented is shaped above all by digitization. Information should be transmitted quickly and communication should take place in today's common channels.

This also includes all modern technical means. So why not also communicate with the smartphone?

Digital natives in particular feel totally alienated in the working world, as they don't understand why the modern apps and technologies they already know from their hectic daily lives aren't being used.

Sure, because it's easier, faster, more intuitive and looks good. So why work with boring Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and fax? Instead, you should switch to modern web apps, agile project management tools and cross-departmental communication solutions.

Makes everything easier and adds more value to the service for the customer.

The right formats in B2b communication

In addition to the actual communication, more and more creative approaches are found to transmit information to the partner and supplier. From simple PDF documents, image material to videos.

The simpler the media are prepared for the consumption of information, the better the communication and understanding on the same level. After all, how often have there been communication failures simply because a colleague could not formulate in words? - All too often.

Depending on the complexity, the appropriate content formats help to convey information. B2B business does not have to be boring at all. The more accessible and open, the more attractive and personal the offer.

Service forms and types

Once you have your customers in mind, you can align and execute your service plan based on them. Whatever is most expected can be stored in ready-made templates and quickly reused.

The implementation of chatbots and automation processes are also part of today's service standard.

Once the individual company departments have agreed, it can be structured as follows:

The Before Sale Service

Peter wants to open an online coffee shop and looks for a suitable supplier on the Internet. As a layman, he comes across new types of coffee and learns the difference between industrial coffee and specialty coffee.

He refines his search for specialty coffee and also emphasizes the locality in the search query. He quickly finds the first roasteries in his area and looks around.

He takes in more and more information and compares it among the suppliers. Furthermore, he prioritizes some coffee characteristics that he definitely also wants to position with his new coffee shop.

For even more information, he contacts various coffee wholesalers and roasters.

While he waits for an answer, some of the roasters offer a live chat or even a knowledge bank about coffee. He finds action-oriented blog posts and tries to implement them as well.

In doing so, he places his trust in those providers who can demonstrably demonstrate a high level of competence.

Molds for pre-sale

  • Provide comprehensive information about product and service
  • Share advisors, experiences and tips
  • Provide informational materials such as PDFs, whitepapers, and images
  • Offer contact options
  • Set up and maintain knowledge databases and blogs on the subject area

The During Sale Service

The first contact is established and Peter receives the first personalized offers and information by e-mail. Both parties exchange information and find a suitable product for Peter's needs and requirements.

Samples are sent and the next steps are initiated. The first points are also recorded in the contract system.

When the order is completed, Peter receives his final product and can use it to serve his own customers.

Molds for during-sale service

  • connect as an active contact
  • continue to provide more information material and brochures
  • Onboarding packages and sessions for the first steps
  • Feedback and recommendations
  • Updates

The after-sale service

After a while, Peter thinks of some questions about the product and contacts the supplier. The correct application, storage or preparation could be one of his questions.

Through good advice, Peter finds himself in good hands and knows where to order again next time. Also through the good service Peter recommends his colleague from the supplier and thus becomes a supporter of the brand.

Likewise, he feels assured in his purchase decision that he has bought the right thing.

Molds for after sale

  • Support
  • Changes to master data
  • Spare parts and maintenance
  • Transmission of news and trends in the industry
  • etc

The self-service

What is often underestimated is the appropriate use of self-service channels. Here, one is usually helped by online documentation, videos and FAQs. A customer can thus be helped at any time and at no additional personnel costs.

Well-organized and easy-to-find articles can help customers get to the right answer in minutes. He can customize the support at his speed, share it with others and access it again and again.

Not everyone likes to pick up the phone, some need support at 1am and others just don't have the time or inclination to make small talk with a support agent. Some companies also use the support channel as a sales channel and promote their up-sell methods there. And that costs time.

Nevertheless, a good mix of self-help documentations and personal assistant is a prerequisite for a positive customer experience.

Why good service is important for us

What is often underestimated is the appropriate use of self-service channels. Here, one is usually helped by online documentation, videos and FAQs. A customer can thus be helped at any time and at no additional personnel costs.

Well-organized and easy-to-find articles can help customers get to the right answer in minutes. He can customize the support at his speed, share it with others and access it again and again.

Not everyone likes to pick up the phone, some need support at 1am and others just don't have the time or inclination to make small talk with a support agent. Some companies also use the support channel as a sales channel and promote their up-sell methods there. And that costs time.

Nevertheless, a good mix of self-help documentations and personal assistant is a prerequisite for a positive customer experience.

Advantages for the B2B customer

  • fast help
  • Consulting function
  • Time saving
  • Continuous availability (knowledge base)
  • safe feeling

Advantages for us as a manufacturer

  • Competence charisma
  • Competitiveness
  • Reduced transaction costs, for example through B2B store
  • Time saving
  • Trend data collection
  • Product development
  • 24/7 help through documentation

For the brand, extended service is seeing a face for the customer. In the process, all company departments play with each other.

This means that the sercice is set up in such a way that information is sent out to the customer quickly among themselves in the same tone and packaging. Every interaction in the service contributes to the brand.

And this leads to more retention, word of mouth and faster service.

The hoped for prospects

We think that in the future this way of thinking will also be transferred to the classic business context and digitization will be able to satisfy precisely the needs of a fast and attractive service. All too often, we still see old business processes that ignore modern communication on an equal footing and can therefore miss out on important orders.

Once the service has been optimized in concrete terms and the processes have been set up, new opportunities and possibilities can emerge over time.

These could include new business areas, which in turn could appeal to new customer groups.

Those who optimize strongly in the service area thus form a cycle of new opportunities, which ultimately benefits the growth of the company.

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