After the latest MDM-Baird quarterly distributor survey showed a slowdown in revenue growth, many companies may have scrambled to identify areas where they could cut back to protect margin if the market continued to soften.
But rather than think defensively, distributors need to focus on improving customer service while slashing cost to serve – thanks to technology. Here are some areas where distributors can benefit:
Reduced Software Workarounds: Applications like ENAVATE’s Sales Order Management App and ENAVATE’s Warehouse Extensions App, both for Microsoft Dynamics 365, reduce workarounds in a distributor’s system, saving teams time and increasing productivity while, again, improving customer service through a more efficient and consistent ordering process.
Customer Self-Service: Chatbots give customers the ability to access order updates they need 24/7 without picking up the phone to call a sales or customer service rep. That elevates the customer experience and saves the distributor the time spent looking it up or chasing a delivery down.
Ordering Efficiencies. E-commerce can take repeat tasks like reorders away from expensive sales reps, as well as customer service and inside sales team, freeing them up to focus on other more value-added customer interactions.
Remote Customer Service: Mixed reality-based Dynamics 365 Remote Assist for HoloLens 2 can help a service team provide remote customer service, especially when maintenance or a repair is minor. Rather than wait for a distributor’s team to be dispatched, a customer can be guided by a technician or service rep through a quick repair in minutes. It eliminates the cost of a visit for the distributor and minimizes customer downtime.
Watch this video to see Dynamics 365 Remote Assist for HoloLens 2 and mobile devices in action.
Reduce Pricing Exceptions. How distributors manage pricing can reduce inefficiencies and improve consistency in margins. (See: ENAVATE Pricing and Costing App for Distribution in Dynamics 365)
All of these examples add up to the classic definition of win-win: The technology is here to not only make a distributor’s operations more efficient – but to also make a customer’s life better as a result. Which means that distributors that want to bolster themselves against a potential downturn only need to invest smartly in technology that can help them grow their bottom lines no matter what the market throws at them.
About the Author
Ole has spent nearly four decades in technology, with a history of success leading growth for resellers for Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Oracle. In 1995, he joined Damgaard Data to build a channel for Concorde XAL and Axapta (now Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations). Ole served as Partner and Vice President for Columbus IT, a major Microsoft AX reseller, followed by Evergreen Data Systems, Inc. and EFS Technology, supporting both Microsoft AX and Oracle technologies. Ole lives in California and he loves crossfit and indoor cycling.