How does anyone do business?

Good post today from Susanne about problems with distributors.

This is something I have had to learn lots about over the last couple of years as I’ve become more involved on the business side. It’s very frustrating when your account manager isn’t tuned into your needs.

An example of bad management happened recently. I’m not going to be naming names so we’ll call them “Dist X”.

We have had a couple of calls and emails recently from Dist X asking why were hadn’t been using them much.

First thing is we had the same thing about six months ago and we told them some of the issues were

1) Everyone else gives us better credit facilities than you

2) We don’t even know who our account manager is!

So we got our credit facility updated and an account manager was assigned to us. This account manager then hounded us for an order. Letting us know the “offer of the day” and generally being a bit of a pain.

We had a small order to make so thought we would give them a go.

This is where it got even worse. Once we had placed the order the account manager did a disappearing act. Then we got our goods, but we also managed to get an Exchange 2003 media kit we hadn’t asked for. The invoice for this arrived so we asked the account manager to sort it out. They wanted us to fill out lots of paper work to return the item. The guy in charge of our purchasing wasn’t impressed with his staff having work created for them when it wasn’t their error. The account manager eventually told us to dispose of the media kit as it wasn’t worth arranging a collection. We then couldn’t fill out their returns paperwork as they wanted a serial number from the product.

I’m not entirely sure where we are with this now but as a first order they didn’t really do themselves any favours.

As Susanne said we are the small customers but surely we deserve better?

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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3 thoughts on “How does anyone do business?

  • Doesn’t this drive you bananas? One of the reasons distributors are in business is supposedly their excellence in the areas of Operations and Logistics. Without that, they’re primarily just a warehouse.
    They seem to forget that customer service is a HUGE value add, and getting someone to actually support their clients is a core competency for them.
    Having had similar issues in the past in my lives as a reseller, and working at a vendor, I’ve seen this from both ends. The only clients that get the service that everybody needs are the ones that spend enormous amounts of money.
    One distributor once told me that 60% of his business every Month was ‘new’ business. From new resellers or people that hadn’t purchased for 4 Months or more. When I pointed out that it costs about 6 times more to recruit these ‘new’ businesses than to maintain them properly, I found out that he was targeted (and paid) on new business so had no desire to change it.

    Sorry you’ve been caught in the middle, and my apologies for the rant. My suggestion would be to either stick with the people you know you get good service from, or meet with a SENIOR person at the new place and negotiate new SLA’s specifically for you, based on your volumes and expectations.

    Good luck.

  • Sure does drive me bananas. The post i had was just a single example. I have lots of stories about how we get let down and waste lots of time.

    Sad to hear they are more concerned with “new” business. Something i have learnt really quickly is how valuable our existing customers are.

    (BTW Rant away!)

    Thanks for your comment

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