Engaging with Customers is only way to Provide the Service they need
3 June, 2015
Tim Bailey is Acoura's Managing Director of Agriculture and Food Manufacturing.
"I joined SFQC (now Acoura) over 12 years ago, originally for a two-year post, and have been managing the agricultural processing side of the business since 2008. My key responsibilities include leading the commercial development of the business within the agriculture and food processing sectors. This also involves engaging with key customers, leading the strategic development of the business and identifying key improvements to our customer offering.
With this in mind we decided to send out a Customer Survey, in line with the customer-centric approach to our services. At Acoura, we are very careful never to assume anything with regard to our existing and potential new customers' needs. Through market research, from basic surveys right up to more detailed qualitative investigations, we constantly canvass both customers and potential customers on what affects them on a day-to-day basis, starting from reconfirmation of what services they use, what their key decision points are, and what keeps them awake at night!
Traditionally, the relationship between Quality Assurance provider and customer has been a one-way conversation, but at Acoura, it becomes an ongoing relationship, and this innovative way of working benefits both parties.
We sent out a recent survey to all food processors on our mailing lists, which included customers, indirect customers, and potential customers. The recipients were of varying sizes, from SMEs to large-scale businesses. We were pleased with our response rate, especially as they came from a number of key companies, for example 2 Sisters, ABP, Dawnfresh and Whyte & Mackay.
The key findings of the responses were that while companies were, of course, focussed on the cost implications of any QA provider, importance was placed on companies, like Acoura, that offer a broad range of services with an emphasis on a high level of customer service. These responses reflected work previously undertaken, showing that a keen price teamed with a range of available services and long term support service was the winning combination
Going forward, we're keen to drill down further into the survey results, especially in relation to potential improvements to our customer service team. We'll also looking at more macro areas of support - what are the key priorities to our customers? We know already that some of our customers comply with many different retail audit schemes, and we want to be able to offer them a personalised suite of options, to ensure we can cover everything needed. Acoura aims to be the go-to service for accessing information on technical regulations, which meet retailer requirements, and the ability to speak to one of our team over the phone supports this aim.
Crucially, we make no assumptions about our customers needs and priorities, what Acoura offers needs to be relevant and a priority for our customers, guiding them through any necessary work as clearly and efficiently as possible."
For more information on the services Acoura can provide you contact us on +44(0)330 024 0255 or email email@example.com.