NCOF Speaker: Fulfillment Is Critical to Your Brand

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NASHVILLE, TN -- Service and fulfillment is a crucial part of a company's brand, even more so than marketing and advertising, customer service expert Joe Calloway told attendees of the National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment yesterday.

"Your brand tells the story of what you do," Calloway said. "The heart of that is operations and fulfillment."

Calloway, a partner with The Calloway Group, Nashville, gave the opening keynote speech at the conference, held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center here. He stressed that in the modern business environment, just keeping customers satisfied isn't enough.

Customers have come to take adequate customer service for granted, Calloway said. Product quality and service are no longer a differentiator between competing products but rather are necessary as an entry-level requirement to compete in the market.

"The products have become so level, we are all perceived as a commodity," Calloway said. "It's like a pound of nails."

Calloway quoted a recent Gallup poll of more than one million consumers, which found that, when it comes to operations and fulfillment, accuracy and availability are key factors. But these factors serve only to prevent customers from switching brands, Calloway said.

The key to using operations and fulfillment to create new customers is to create a unique experience, Calloway said. Businesses should build their brands on the unique services and benefits they offer consumers.

Fulfilling customer expectations is getting more challenging thanks to the Internet, which offers instant access to customer service and has raised the bar for service in all mediums, Calloway said. Businesses should always seek to increase their level of service and must beware of becoming victims of their own success by becoming complacent.

"If you're successful, you know what used to work," Calloway said. "If I'm successful, I can compete in marketplaces that no longer exist."


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