Patience is a virtue, or so the saying goes. But if there’s anything we know for certain about modern society it’s that this commodity isn’t found in abundance these days.
We don’t like waiting, we want immediate updates on everything, and when we need assistance we expect it to arrive quickly. These are times, after all, when the average person gets anxious about an email taking too long to load or a phone losing temporary signal.
Consumers have high expectations of the products and services they choose to purchase, and when something isn’t right, or they require help, they want to know that it is being addressed immediately.
This ‘instant’ culture ultimately spills over into the commercial environment, too, and the foodservice equipment market is certainly no exception.
I was at the annual CESA Conference last week, which was attended by the leading manufacturers in the business, and the subject of service — and its place in the industry today — featured highly on the agenda when it came to identifying the key differentiators that operators look for in suppliers.
Huge investments are currently being made in areas such as connected equipment and innovative designs, and these are intrinsic to the industry’s ongoing development. But some experts predict it’s good, old-fashioned service that suppliers most need to keep an eye on if they want to keep hold of their customers.
Operators have always leaned heavily on manufacturers for support. They know that if a delivery gets held up, or an appliance goes down and can’t be replaced, it can bring a kitchen to a standstill and that has direct implications for the bottom line.
As the margins between success and failure become ever finer, the quality and execution of after-sales care will ultimately have an even greater bearing on customer retention for catering equipment manufacturers than ever before.