Old-Fashioned Customer Service

Old-Fashioned Customer Service Keeps 85-Year-Old Electronic Supplier Thriving

By Donna Hedge Burns

While the electronic technology Peerless Electronic Equipment Co., Inc. sells may be modern, its business approach is decidedly old-fashioned.

The independent industrial electronic distributor serves manufacturers in Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. It supplies test and measurement tools, electronic connectors, terminal blocks, wire and cable, wiring devices, power supplies, relays, and other electronic supplies.

While the company could just focus on simply selling the most widgets each month, President Lawrence Baines finds excellent customer service to be a better approach. For Baines, customer support is an integral part of the product experience.

"Our customers aren't simply using our products for their own use. They use them in the solutions that they are creating for their customers. If the wrong connector is used or a terminal block is bad, it's not just slowing sales for our customer but for their customer who then can't deliver to their customer and so on. Our failure to simply not ask a question can have huge implications down the line. That's why we work with our customers to help them select the right electronics for their application and fix it when things go wrong."

It's something they have done since their founding in 1932. And it's not something they'll be giving up soon as consumers expect companies to respond faster and faster.

In a May 2015 polling by Harris Poll for Lithium, 82% of CEOs reported that customer expectations of their companies were “somewhat” or “much” higher than they were three years ago. Price and brand are also no longer the main reason people choose companies to send money with. Now, it's the experience. Research firm Gartner, Inc. reports that 89% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36% four years ago.

How Peerless Serves Manufacturing Customers

Peerless' customer service is based on three principles:

1.       It's about people.

2.       It's about expertise.

3.       It's about the customer.

No robot-phone voices here.

At Peerless, all phone calls are answered by a live person. There's no yelling "Yes" into the phone four times or dialing zero.

Product knowledge is essential.

Peerless represents more than 100 manufacturers and more than 40 premier franchised lines in stock. With that much selection, it can be intimidating for customers to select the ideal product for their application. That's why Peerless requires its staff to be knowledgeable about the products it sells. They offer you recommendations based on what works best for you, not their commission. Peerless' staff has a combined experience of more than 200 years in the electronic industry.

The customers' production is important.

The manufacturing industry created lean. Their production lines work like fine-oiled machines. Peerless has created service programs that respect their customers' tight production schedules.

Some of them include:

·       Same Day Shipment—Orders can be arranged to arrive on the same day production needs them.

·       Bonded inventory—Peerless can hold inventory for their manufacturing customers on its shelves and release them at any time. Inventory can be reserved for future requirements. Peerless works with customers to determine quantities and buffer inventory quantities to meet their Just-In-Time needs.

·       Packaging Services—Peerless will also go the extra mile to specially mark packages or provide custom bar coding. They can also package assortments of parts per client specifications and assign unique part numbers to the kit.

You Could Pay a Lot More for Service, But You Don't Have to with Peerless

Customers are often willing to pay more for a better experience. Yet, Peerless continues to strive for competitive prices despite the extras.

"We have made it our goal to provide our customers with a vast selection of supplies from all the major brands and specialty manufacturers," said Baines, "while maintaining an extensive inventory at competitive rates. We want to make it easy to do business with us."
With its customer service focus, Peerless shouldn't have a problem.