Our goal is to deliver exemplary customer service every single day. But with thousands of customers, hundreds of employees, and a portfolio of products a mile long, how can it be done to such a high standard? We wanted to hear from our customers, so we asked them what they needed from us. That's when we started to set ourselves apart from the competition, and this is how Badger does Customer Service.
By: Amy Schingen, Office Manager
Customer Service is the cornerstone of Badger Liquor. It’s what we do every day in every facet of this business. Customer Focus is built into our value system and so much so that every employee is evaluated on this at their annual evaluation. It is even built into Badger’s mission statement:
Family owned and operated in Wisconsin for four generations, Badger Liquor sells and delivers the world's best wine and spirits with exceptional customer service by a dedicated team of industry leaders.
Our business would not be successful without the exceptional customer service each one of us provides on a daily basis.
In my nearly 20 years with Badger, I found that delivering exceptional Customer Service really starts with building relationships. The Personal Emotional Connections (PEC) we build with our customers is what really makes the difference and sets us apart from others in the industry. Showing a customer that you have a genuine interest in them and that you truly care about them goes such a long way. We constantly strive to make our customers feel appreciated and respected. We want the customer to feel important, because they ARE the reason we are in business!
But it goes beyond personal connections, we wanted to know what our customers need from us as a distributor partner. So, we just decided to just ask! Hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth helped us shape our daily customer service practices to make sure the customer felt heard. We asked them six questions that we were curious to know and that we thought could help us truly understand their wants and needs. Here are those questions and the most common answers:
Q: What do you value most in a distributor partner?
Q: What are your expectations of a distributor partner?
Q: What attributes do your top sales representatives have?
Q: How do you decide who to give your business to?
Q: What upsets you most with a distributor?
Q: Any parting advice?
After this we got this feedback, the Customer Service Team made a list of rules that is woven into the fabric of what we do every day in an effort to set us apart from the competition.
Now that we know our customers wants and needs and can confidently take care of them on a daily basis, it was time to get personal. The feedback we received only amplified my belief that Personal Emotional Connections (PECs as I like to call them) are so very important and is a true differentiator in the business.
So, I was looking for ways my team could better connect with our customers and create those PECs, and created a Quality Customer Service Checklist. Our Customer Service Representatives use this list as a guideline for every single call that comes in and goes out.
By getting the customer's name right away it allows us to use it several times throughout the conversation and build that PEC. There is no better way to build a relationship than by using a person's name – who doesn’t like to be called by name?
Then we listen. This is probably the most important aspect of what we do. If someone is calling us with a request, they want to be heard, they want a solution, and they're looking to us to provide it. We can't do that properly without listening.
It is up to us to keep our customers informed of what's on special, and what gives them the most bang for their buck. We always make sure we suggest a new item and upsell items to give the customer a better value at least once during the conversation. Sometimes this can be uncomfortable but the more you do it the easier it becomes and can be fun, especially once you know their business well enough to give them what we think their customer wants! One thing I stress to my team when it comes to suggesting a new item is to imagine how the customer would feel if they heard about a new item from someone else? It should always come from someone at Badger. We need to be their go-to contact for what's new, trending, and popular. If they know these products, it makes them more in-the-know and competitive.
We establish that PEC by asking about their weekend, if we heard they weren't feeling well, wish them a fast recovery, or congratulate them on a personal milestone like an anniversary, marriage, or new baby. We want them to know that we value and acknowledge their life's celebrations.
Common courtesy and being polite is appreciated in every facet of life, and in the customer service industry, these traits are paramount.
From our customer's feedback, we know that they greatly value their time. We want them to know exactly when they'll be receiving their order so they can plan accordingly.
This gives the customer the final say in the conversation and us one last opportunity to assist them.
My Team puts a big emphasis on handwriting personalized notecards, this is something we started a number of years back. When is the last time you wrote or received a hand written notecard? How did it make you feel? There's no better way to create a PEC and show a customer you care than by taking the time to write a card. It only takes a couple of minutes and it goes such a long way. It’s the little things that make a difference. Cards can be sent for a number of reasons…sure they can be sent for a mix up on their order, or maybe an item they needed was out of stock. But we always try to remember that it’s not always about the business if someone is “under the weather”, if there's a loss in the family, or maybe they are going on a vacation for the first time in forever. These are all reasons to show a customer you are listening to them and that you care. I have received a number of phone calls from customers over the years after receiving these cards and they couldn’t believe we would take the time to do this…it made them feel so good that some of these calls have given me goose bumps. I love that my team has made our customers feel so good and appreciated and repeatedly put a smile on someone’s face.
We remember the Golden Rule “Treat others how you want to be treated” People do not always remember what you did for them, but they always remember how you made them feel.
Everyone at Badger Liquor is involved in Customer Service… however, I want to specifically recognize my Customer Service Team. I am fortunate and proud to lead such an amazing group. They are one of the best around and wear a wide variety of hats.
We are involved with many departments in the organization from sales operations, to drivers, to the credit department. We are typically the ones to first take a complaint or hear some good news. We also act as a middle person a lot of times. We pride ourselves in always having a smile in our voices. We understand that customers are our business, not in interruption of our work. We take our jobs very seriously, but have fun while doing so.
We are proud to be the voices of Badger Liquor and we want to personally thank each and every one of our customers for allowing us to serve them every single day.
Customer Service Week is an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. In 1992, the U.S. Congress proclaimed Customer Service Week as a nationally recognized event, celebrated annually during the first full week in October.Customer Service Week is an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. In 1992, the U.S. Congress proclaimed Customer Service Week as a nationally recognized event, celebrated annually during the first full week in October.