Mobility manufacturers looking to build lasting relationships with retailers need to be willing to work together to solve problems, a trio of leading industry retailers have said.
Retailers increasingly want a strong relationship with manufacturers willing to go the extra mile as opposed to simply just supplying equipment.
“A good supplier is someone I can talk to as a partner,” TPG Disable Aids managing director, Alastair Gibbs, said as part of an exclusive panel discussion at Monday’s AMP Awards 2019. “It has to be a two-way relationship.”
Daniel Griffiths, owner of Easy Living Mobility, added: “What is a good supplier? It’s people, it’s being able to pick the phone up and speak to somebody that’s going to be able to do something.
“There are probably a few companies where you’d find it very difficult to get over that large high wall.”
The continuing need for partnerships between retailers and suppliers comes off the back of previous problems with flawed equipment not being solved.
“We had one supplier who had quite a difficult problem with a machine lift and the solution was to give us spares,” Alastair Gibbs added. “We’re not actually going to fix the problem, we’re just going to keep giving you spares.
“What I’d much rather do is speak to a manufacturer that’s going to come in and work together to find a proper, permanent solution that’s not just sticking plaster on the problem.”
In an increasingly online world, the value of face to face customer service provided by access and mobility retailers is hugely important and the role that suppliers play in customer aftercare is a core component of a strong relationship.
Graham Johnson, owner of Ability Plus, said: “I only deal with suppliers that I feel have got my back as well.
“It’s that relationship. We’re selling their products on the basis that we believe in them.”
Retailers are seeking suppliers who are keen to work together to solve problematic equipment instead of simply ignoring the problem.
Alastair Gibbs went on to say: “I think back to 1985 when we sold the first Minivatorstairlift. That’s taken a number of incarnations and evolved and yet we still continue to work with that supplier.
“Likewise, there are two or three others that work with us to resolve problems and not just cover them up and run away.”
The panel discussion preceded the announcement of the winners of the 2019 AMP Awards.