Ovum's eighth and largest survey of wholesale customers has found significant gaps between wholesalers' performance and their customers' demands, particularly in terms of price and quality. Wholesalers must focus their efforts on identifying and closing the gaps between the needs and expectations of their customers and their perceptions of the quality and value for money of the services they receive.
In July, we published the findings of our largest ever survey of wholesale customers from across the globe. It compared wholesale customers' priorities when selecting new suppliers with their opinions of how well their existing suppliers are performing. Across all types of wholesale customer, the conclusion is that performance has failed to improve for the price criteria since the previous survey in 2015, and has actually declined for several important quality criteria. Furthermore, the gaps between expectation and performance have increased for all price and quality criteria, particularly for price flexibility and service delivery times. Wholesalers must act now to remedy this worrying trend.
Another major finding of the survey was that wholesale customer loyalty is increasingly difficult to earn and maintain. More and more wholesale customers are shopping around to find the combinations of service, reach, price, and quality that they need. Wholesalers need to offer convincing reasons if they are going to persuade customers to use them for a significant proportion of their business. This can be done many different ways, such as by developing innovative pricing offers, reducing time to delivery, improving service resilience and recovery, or providing more consistent and powerful portals and B2B interfaces.
However, it is essential that wholesalers develop effective and efficient communications channels with their customers and prospects before they decide which actions are necessary to reduce the gaps between expectation and perception and reverse the decline in customer loyalty. It is only by speaking with and listening to their customers that wholesalers will learn what they need to do to retain and grow their businesses.
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