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PR/Customer Relations tips?


j65737
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Hello, I've been reading this forum alot lately and have found very little information about Customer relations suggestions or idea's.

Does anyone do anything special for clients, owners, management, or even employee's of your locations to gain loyalty and help cut down on other vendors moving in on your locations?

Also, should a contract always be used when having a full line location. I am confident in my service, however I have always been worried about the idea of a contract with a certain length of time. Basically because of the fact that if a location did not want me to continue doing business with them, I wouldn't feel comfortable walking in on a weekly basis to service the machine knowing that i'm not "welcome" there.

Enough rambling,

I appreciate the inputs!

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Hello, I've been reading this forum alot lately and have found very little information about Customer relations suggestions or idea's.

Does anyone do anything special for clients, owners, management, or even employee's of your locations to gain loyalty and help cut down on other vendors moving in on your locations?

Also, should a contract always be used when having a full line location. I am confident in my service, however I have always been worried about the idea of a contract with a certain length of time. Basically because of the fact that if a location did not want me to continue doing business with them, I wouldn't feel comfortable walking in on a weekly basis to service the machine knowing that i'm not "welcome" there.

Enough rambling,

I appreciate the inputs!

There are many different opinions around here about about the use of contracts. Years ago I never gave it serious thought, like you I was confident enough in my abilities to keep an account without having a contract to beat them with if it came to that. Today I, at a minimum, use a "service agreement" mainly to establish in writing what was agreed to going in with pricing, commissions, etc. and to establish MY ownership of the equipment in the event that a location goes out of business and I have to go through a property manager to get my equipment back. If I am making a significant investment in equipment to go in I will insist on some form of a contract.

A couple of ideas for PR stuff..... I will be at Thanksgiving buying turkeys and hams for about 6-8 of my locations for their employee Thanksgiving lunch. I also have a couple more that I do this for at Christmas. I've got several locations where I also do an employee appreciation day with the employer sharing the credit and sell everything in the machines at 50% off regular price. I also "donate" soda on occasion for employee parties and picnics.

Finally, this one probably will be hard to duplicate, I am a member of a business networking group and we have an annual game dinner, a couple of fishing tournaments, golf tournaments, sport shooting contests and hunts and I usually take one or two people along as my guests on these events.

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Perfect! thanks for the tips, I also thought about sending birthday cards out & for my bulk vending, removing the candy machines and thoroughly breaking down and cleaning the entire machine ever ~6 months or so and making sure all mechs are in proper working order. 

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Mission has said it best but I will add the following.

Besides being on top of your service, the main thing is to go out of your way to make sure the contact person at the account is satisfied. I usually drop off a little goody (candy bar, new product I am trying, etc) by their office every so offten. Also depending on the size of account, I give something at Christmas like Mission said. You are not going to satisfy everyone at the account but make sure the contact person sees your efforts of good service.

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These are all good suggestions! thanks guys!

I don't have any inside locations, Mine are outside businesses.  But If I have a good week in sales, I will give the owner and employees that happen to be working that day a free soda.  And check with them to see if they need $1s or change. 

So far a week hasn't went by that they didn't buy 1s or change from me.  More times than not, when I walk inside their business, they say "yes I do" before I even ask them.  I make sure that my changers are filled before I offer.  By doing this, it saves me from having to deal with change and 1s and makes it easier to deposit.

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Thanks for the replies, I've just been trying to come up with something different to stand out above the competition in this area! Finishing my website which should be up and running soon. I will be participating in Fit Pick, and stocking atleast 15% of products meeting the  35-10-35 rule for healthy snacks (more than 15% if locations requests). I plan to also ask to place recycle bins next to my machines at each location(snack&soda) and become more "green" by recycling cans, bottles, that vend from my machine. I plan to also recycle the cardboard boxes from the products.

I have considered setting up some type of referral system for business owners/managers along something like. "if you (or any of your employees) know any other business owners/managers that need or are unhappy with their current vendor & refer them to me, I'll throw a pizza party for you and your employees" 

What are your thoughts?

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every year the week before christmas up to new years I lower my prices on all my drinks by about 25% and put up a nice sign thanking everyone and wishing them a merry christmas and a happy new year

I get lots of comments about the nice gesture and I still make a little money and because its about two weeks it last longer and is remembered more IMO  than  pizzas or candy and it wasnt money out of pocket.

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Another wise person on this Board suggested to me that offering a $25 Am Ex gift card was a useful referral incentive.  I stocked break room freezers at some of my best accounts with froz fruit bars one day this past August, and the guys loved 'em.  I've just completed dropping trays of donuts/muffins at all of my accounts as an annual thank you.  Very inexpensive. All of my machines have a block of post-it's on them mounted on a magnetic strip so a/c's can "converse" with me.  I do "specials" every once in awhile if I have a product expiring the next week.  I have a notebook with me and jot down each person's name I meet @ an a/c so I can greet them if I see them again  I leave a petty cash bag with the a/c manager and check on it every so often.  These are all 75 person or less accounts, so I honestly can't say what kinds of PR/CS is required for larger ones.

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i dont do it for all mystops but i do a gift basket type of thing...ok. ok.. my wife helps me .....a lil

.... i put a few waters, chip bags...candy bars and others in...i've got great feed back...every1 gets an appreciation card at xmas...

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otherwise ....things to think about.....

....be personable...talk to every1

....have a repair timeline...  24hr  response to problems is respectable...dependable

....dont scoff at giving money back...do it...trust me the complaints will get les and less when they know you arn't gonna screw them........(when they say the machine stole their money-give it to them and explain, the machine just borrowed it).......ok it works for me

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I use to do the jars of candy/ gift basket thing untill one day it hit me that the people who get that stuff work in the office and the people who buy my stuff work in the plant. thats when I came up with the lower the price idea. Then the people who actually use your machines get the benefit.

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