Who is your Inventory Service - Really?
Do you really know your inventory service? You have given the inventory crew total access to your stores - interacting with customers on the sales floor, moving through every corner of your back rooms, and setting up their base of operations at either your front lines or store office.
Like it or not, they are an extension of you and your stores. Beyond the polished sales guy and the glossy brochure he gave you, how well do you know your inventory service? Are you working with Bruce Banner or The Hulk, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? Get beneath the service and find out who you're really working with in your stores.
Research shows that consumers are loyal to brands and companies. They are willing to pay a little extra to get the brand they want. They will even drive a few miles further to shop at their preferred stores. Recently, a regional grocery chain launched a marketing campaign centered around the slogan, "Local Since Forever". Bullseye! They live it, breathe it, and when you walk into their stores, you feel it. People love to shop at stores that are part of the community. They love to buy from their friends and neighbors. There is a certain level of comfort the customer gets knowing they are shopping with the locals.
Does your inventory service give you the same comfort level? Let's face it, when they are in your store, they ARE YOU. Chances are your current inventory service got your business with an attractive rate and the promise of great service - the Bruce Banner persona you met in the conference room. No sooner does the contract get signed and things get ugly - The Hulk shows up to count your store.
How did you not see this coming? You didn't dig deep enough to learn what's underneath the surface. The brochure said, "Quality You Can Count On". Now you have alienated customers, unhappy store managers, and lousy inventory counts. Attractive rate, ugly results.
How do you get better insight to the inventory service in your stores? Let's start by asking some more probing questions. Who owns the company? Are they involved in the daily operations? Are the employees full-time, do they have benefits? How long has the average employee worked for the company? I have always admired organizations that have employees that have 10+ years of service.
Can the inventory service offer references from current clients? If they have testimonials from clients, you know they're doing something right. How long have their clients been with them? Are they churning their client base or can they boast of long term clients? Check out their appearance when they show up in your store. If it isn't good enough for your employees then it isn't good enough for them.
Ask the questions, dig a little deeper, and make sure you're partnered with someone whose principles and values align with yours.