Happy Customers = Happy Vending Machine Sales
There are many things that make the vending industry unique from other industries, and when it comes to customers, vending is the most unique that I have ever encountered. When I worked for the retail industry, for example, there was a high focus on the “customer experience” and the “customer journey.” We had to offer a customer an amazing purchasing experience and keep the relationship going long after the sale had already been completed. It was too idealistic for retail, of course, but it makes me think about how the customer experience relates to the vending industry; a good customer experience is necessary to optimize vending machine sales.
The customer experience happens, for the most part, away from vendors and route drivers. Therein lies a part of the problem: when a customer has an issue with the machine, who can they turn to for complaint? For their money back? For the product that got stuck in the machine? They sometimes turn their frustration towards the machine and cause damage not only to the machine but to the area around the machine, like scratching the floor or damaging walls. This frustration can mount to a decrease in vending machine sales.
3 Simple Steps to Improve Customer Service & Increase Vending Machine Sales
In what ways, then, can a vending operation improve the customer experience, and ultimately improve vending machine sales, for their customers when they are not nearby to speak with them? Here are three ideas to consider when one is thinking about improving the customer experience for vendors:
1. Keep Machines Working
As obvious as the advice is, it is still worth mentioning on some key points. If customers are experiencing repeat problems, such as the bill validator will not take their dollar bills, then fixing the problem is essential to keep those customers coming back to your vending machine and achieving great vending machine sales. The more problems people have with vending machines, the less likely they are going to be buying product from vending machines. Although keeping machines operating properly and clean takes time, it is time well spent in order to attract people to come to the machine and make purchases. Even if it takes replacing a vending machine altogether (as long as it is cost effective to do so), giving customers that convenience experience goes a long way in increasing happiness and increasing vending machine sales.
Using Parlevel’s remote vending management system (VMS), we can inform you right when a vending machine breaks down, long before your customers have a bad experience. Avoiding bad customer experiences avoids slumping vending machine sales. Feel free to check out our website if you have not already.
2. Respond to Complaints Quickly
There are a number of ways to do this, but the best way is to have at least some contact information on the machines at all times. Phone number, email address, even a Twitter handle could offer customers a chance to contact vendors and report any issues. During off hours, vendors can also use call centers to handle complaints. The faster vendors deal with complaints, the better customers feel, and better numbers of vending machine sales. They feel validated in that their input is important and that their business is appreciated. Happy customers means repeat customers; therefore, responding quickly to their complaints is essential to give them a great customer experience.
3. Keep Good Relations with the Point of Contact (POC)
For office buildings, apartments, hospitals, etc, there will always be a POC for vendors and route drivers. This person will receive complaints from customers, take down names for people needing refunds, and take notes of problems people have had with the machines. They are essentially working for the vendor for free. Keeping a good relation with this person will make their experience with a vendor’s company much better. If one day, a vendor sees that the person is upset because they have spent too much time receiving complaints about a machine, vendors should try giving them a soda or snack as a means of saying thank you. A little gratitude can go a long way, and vendors will want their POCs on their side because they can be great references for larger accounts in the future and increase revenue from vending machine sales.
These are three ways vendors can address the customer experience, give customers the motivation to return to the vending machines, and increase overall vending machine sales. Do you have any more ideas? Please feel free to share them in the comment section below.
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