Customer Service Award 2017 – Supplier

Jill Green, Becktech Limited

Jill is our front line member of staff, dealing with vending operator and vending manufacturer enquiries and orders on a daily basis. Jill does so with great personality, humour, and efficiency and is well known to all who ring or email the office regularly. Jill’s knowledge of the products is fantastic, her memory of transactions and orders is a wonder, and he ability to strike up rapport on the phone is heart-warming. All of this makes Jill a delight to work with, a delight to do business with, and someone deserving of recognition under the new Customer Service award category.

Mark Lamble, National Account Manager, Burts Potato Chips

Burts Potato Chips are pleased to nominate Mark Lamble for the Vendies Customer Service Award 2017 for his unrivalled passion, knowledge and drive, to grow Burts within the vending category. Job performance: Mark has worked as part of the Burts team for over 6 years, joining in January 2011. He is directly responsible for vending which is a big task in itself but he also manages Foodservice which keeps Mark very busy at Burts. Vending is his passion and he seems to be a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge when it comes to the market, trends, opportunities and he loves to share his knowledge and insights with his customers. Mark’s can-do attitude has driven phenomenal sales growth across his customers and we are very proud he successfully developed sales to over £1 million for the first time last year (2016).

In the past 3 years Mark has grown vending sales alone by 62% in turn helping Burts become a very successful and relevant brand in vending. He shares his passion for Burts delicious premium crisps with the industry whenever he can and his enthusiasm is well received at networking events, trade shows and customer meetings. Mark has a, warm, cheerful, can-do attitude which sets him apart. He is very well known and liked in the industry by his customers, other manufacturers and even direct competitors! Mark’s dedication and drive has resulted in Burts having won 5 prestigious Vendies awards for their product taste, quality and innovation, and we now feel it’s time for Mark, himself, to be recognised. David Nairn, Managing Director at Burts Potato Chips comments “I have had the privilege of working with Mark at Burts for many years and he has single handedly developed our sector focus in vending. Mark, with his services training, sets his plan for the week ahead and off he goes with some core thoughts such as ‘good service is good business’ and that the more he engages with his customers the clearer things become. Burt’s quality is second to none but being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. For Mark service wins the game and gaining loyal customers who insist that their friends also do business with Mark and Burts.”

Customer Service: Mark prioritises face to face contact and spends a lot of his time on the road with his customers. He travels an extraordinary amount to ensure he provides the best customer service possible. He puts Burts customers at the forefront of everything he does and is very good at managing customer requirements quickly and efficiently. Customer service with Marks starts with the first meeting, even before any sales have been made. He has influenced the Burts culture to encourage the importance of nurturing customer relationships before, during and continue to after the purchase. Mark is also very patient particularly with customers who often reach out for additional support. Mark knows his customers well, he always gets people coming to the Burts stand at trade shows for a chat. He always remembers who they are and where there from and they continuously leave with a smile on their face, his energy is contagious. Recent comments about Mark: “Mark first came to me when he joined Burt’s for advice on how he could penetrate the vending market. I gave him the name of people to contact and because of his hard work and determination since, Burt’s have become a major supplier in the Vending crisps market. Mark always conducts himself with the upmost professionalism, always keeping his promises and keeping us up to date on new products backed with the necessary samples.

Mark is a credit to his company and the Industry he supplies” David Graddon, Managing Director at Graddons Vending. “Working with Mark has been a pleasure, he is conscientious, hardworking; nothing is a problem to him, he always sorts out problems straight away keep you informed of what is going on. His drive and passion for the company is evident by the way he talks to you; I have visited the premises twice now, when he took my wife and I round he was like a “kid in a candy shop” he was so proud to show us how the crisps are made, how the company has grown and the new machinery (I look forward to my 3rd visit). Mark is a credit to Burts Chips.” Lawrie Hall, Purchasing Manager at Automatic Retailing Teamwork: Mark’s military background impels him to be a team player and unsurprisingly someone who all of the Burts sales & marketing team go to regularly for advice, support and guidance. He is meticulous with his organisation from his daily schedule to organising trade shows and his military motto, the 7 P’s (Prior Planning & Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance) strengthens the belief he has that if something is worth doing it’s worth doing properly! For his outstanding service to our customers, dedication to the Burts team and outstanding work ethic, we would like to nominate Mark Lamble for the Vendies Customer Service Award 2017.

SB Software Ltd

Always ready and eager to sort out any issues, no matter how large or small. More importantly, it matters not if you are one of their smaller customers or a larger customer – everyone is treated with the same importance and respect. They are a really friendly bunch who we have come to know well over the years as our supplier. A truly deserving recipient, I would be very happy to see recognised for their hard work and friendly approachability.

Siemens Financial Services

Part of the international Siemens Group, Siemens Financial Services Limited (SFS) has been a leading provider of innovative finance solutions to UK private and public sector organisations for 50 years. SFS provides vending operators with competitive financial solutions to help them improve cash flow while enabling their end-customers to acquire quality machines through affordable financing. The competitiveness of its financial solutions has helped SFS maintain its position as the premier financing provider to vendors. As the only leasing company with a dedicated vending channel, SFS is a specialist finance provider for the vending industry. Recognising the critical role financing plays in driving vending businesses, SFS is committed to providing vending operators with innovative and competitive financial solutions to facilitate their business growth by adding value to their customer value proposition. By incorporating finance into their sales process, vending operators remove the need for their customers to commit to upfront capital investment, thereby making equipment acquisition or upgrade affordable for their customers. This enables more profitable sales for vending operators as customers can consider vending solutions that best fit their circumstances without concern about capital budget constraints.

As a service-oriented financier, SFS is committed to developing close relationships with customers. As such, SFS has a dedicated vending channel manager with 30 years’ experience of supporting the vending industry. Its sales representatives pay regular visits to vending operators to understand their business progress, products and challenges. SFS is also a regular attendee of vending industry events and conventions in order to remain connected to market developments and accordingly align and develop its own offerings . SFS’s direct, personal approach to vendors has helped it build many successful long-term customer relationships – over 80% of vending operators that work with SFS have been doing so for more than ten years.

By combining its field sales support specialists with internal sales support teams, the financier is optimally placed to provide all-round services and immediate assistance to operators, from training them about the benefits of finance to helping them win and close larger transactions. To support its service commitment, SFS arranges for , an independent customer satisfaction survey to be regularly conducted amongst operators to monitor service quality, with feedback being consistently complimentary underpinned by consistently improving scores. SFS has strengthened its support for the sector, as well as implemented a number of measures to further enhance its service quality to help vending operators seize growth opportunities: Commitment to provide finance SFS has shown a sustained commitment to providing finance to vending operators, even during difficult economic times.

Since 2010, SFS has been providing more financing to the vending sector year-on-year – in 2016 SFS increased its year-on-year total financing volumes by 6%. For the current financial year, the financier is expecting to write 10% more business than the previous year. Whereas banks and other funders have reigned in leasing volumes in the sector, SFS has increased its financing for the industry. Improve finance application process Simple paperwork and quick financing decisions are crucial to closing a sale or confirming a renewal. To help streamline this part of the sales process, SFS introduced SieSmart, an online multi-language, multi-currency finance application tool for equipment vendors offering integrated finance. Through use of SieSmart acceptance rates for credit applications have increased as well as turnaround speed, enabling vending operators to close deals faster. Through substantial investment in IT infrastructure including software updates and data quality, the system also provides SFS with more in-depth information to evaluate a broad range of applications if these have not been accepted automatically by the system. As one metric of service excellence, SFS is now able to deliver 90% of payouts to the vending operator on the same day that correctly completed documentation is received, improving operators’ cash flow. Innovative and tailored products With its specialist credit understanding of the vending industry, SFS has been able to refine and innovate its financial solutions to enable institutions from the educational sector to acquire vending equipment in an affordable way. Schools and colleges are required to enter into operating leases that represent the best value. Since such leases do not allow other debts or commitments to be rolled in, they ensure that educational institutions only enter a financing agreement that covers the commitment they need to acquire use of the vending machine. To enable this kind of operating agreement, SFS takes on the residual risk. As the only leasing company in the market that offers a residual backed operating lease product, SFS has enabled vending operators to close business deals which they otherwise would not be able to do so.

Ability to accommodate changing industry dynamics as the vending industry is constantly evolving, SFS always strives to develop product offerings that help accommodate the changing requirements in terms of equipment and customer experience. More sophisticated coffee barista machines are increasingly replacing traditional vending machines; wave and pay technology is on the rise as customers’ demand for convenience increases; and vending telemetry is also gaining popularity as it allows vending operators to expand revenue and reduce costs through remote stock monitoring, increased customer interaction and multiple payment methods. At the same time, environmental consciousness is becoming an increasingly important topic for the vending sector. New generation vending machines and equipment are now often equipped with environmental-friendly features such as LED lighting or energy savings plugs. Embracing new technologies requires investment, thus flexible and affordable financing will be crucial in bringing new capabilities to market. SFS understands these changing market dynamics and is able to finance such modern equipment to help vendors exploit growth potential in expanding markets.

Customer Service Testimonials

SFS Vending Awards Timeline

Vendmanager – Customer Service Team, SB Software

1) We would like to nominate Tom Howarth and his team for the Customer Service Award. We passionately believe that delivering excellent customer service is the responsibility of every employee at SBS. It’s a frame of mind, and not “just a department.” But we do have a dedicated customer service department. We know that they work extremely hard, doing what they do every day. And we firmly believe that they do a good job. Further information, including customer feedback and insights from Tom are included below. Thank you.

2) Customer Service at SBS, the Makers of Vendmanager At SBS we do everything we can to make Vendmanager easy to use, and to ensure that new implementations and everyday operation in the field go smoothly. We advocate and provide staff training and the sharing of best practice, to pre-empt problems and deliver the best solutions and value for money. And at the same time, we always remember that we deliver software. There will be times when customers need additional support, whether by phone, or by remote operation of their system, or on site. When those times come, clients both expect and deserve the best there is. Fast. Every time. Our commitment in customer services is to deliver just that. That’s why feedback like the quotes below is so welcome.

3) Feedback from Clients Diane Smith at Northbridge Vending: “The team at Vendmanager are always ready and eager to sort out any issues, no matter how large or small. More importantly, it matters not if you are one of their smaller customers or a larger customer – everyone is treated with the same importance and respect. They are a really friendly bunch who we have come to know well over the years as our supplier. I would be very happy to see them recognised for their hard work and friendly approachability.” Oliver Kears at Spa Vending: “SB Software have offered fantastic support throughout the entire process. From initially setting up the software to working within our business, to the ongoing support we get on a day to day basis. We couldn’t be happier with the all-round package that SB have supplied us with.” Linda Baker at Westways Vending: “From the most complex to the simplest request for help, the personal service provided by the Vendmanager support team is efficient and timely. We appreciate their determination to ensure that we have access to the reports we need to run our business; their tenacity in resolving queries; and their polite patience when asked the most basic questions! But most importantly, they are really nice, friendly guys who deliver a positive outcome every time.“ Thank you to the clients quoted above, and everyone who has provided such positive feedback over the last decade.

4) Delivering Excellent Customer Service Tom Howarth, Head of Customer Services at Vendmanager, explains what it’s like behind the scenes: “For us in customer service/support, a good day is knowing that we have helped our customers with their needs, and that they are able to continue with their work as soon as possible, with minimum disruption.” “The last thing we want is a user unable to work, whether it be in the office or out in the field. Vendmanager is there to help them with their business, so the quicker we can help them out, the better all round. “I look for qualities like these in our team:

  • Patience and understanding – every customer is different and has different needs. Whilst we like to get a job resolved as quick as possible, if it takes a tad longer then we will take that time. We want to resolve issues first time, not just put a plaster on until next time.
  • Caring – we care about our customers. As members of our support team have been out on site before, we have met most of our customers face to face which also adds that personal touch.
  • That extra mile – the customer is always right and we want to make sure they are happy. We do our utmost to make sure they are happy, which may include extra work that they won’t notice or appreciate – as long as they are happy.
  • Knowledge of the product and industry – we have many years of experience working with our product and within the vending industry. We understand how it works.”

At SBS, every implementation is handled by your own dedicated account management team. Our people are the best there is in their specialist fields, and they welcome the chance to engage directly with clients to deliver results. We put technology to work throughout – with live-viewing of operators’ terminals and online wizards to speed things up. And when you want to talk to an expert, we’re keen to listen. That’s why our customer services desk is open from 6am to 6pm, with our experts ready to help. Call 0114 266 6030.

Westomatic Front Line Staff, Westomatic Vending Services Ltd

We are proud of the exceptional quality of the machines we sell and also the support services we provide. Delivering excellent customer service is what keeps customers returning to Westomatic and ensures they are impressed with the support and advice provided. We are constantly listening to our customers and looking to find even better ways to support them. We have reorganised our ‘front of house’ team by introducing new people and procedures to ensure our customer service standards are always the very best. At Westomatic, we work alongside customers and we are seen as part of their business.

Customers aren’t seen as just business partners – they are also friends. There is nothing worse than hearing an answerphone message when you need urgent assistance. When a customer needs advice or help, it is important that they can speak to someone to provide an answer. For this reason, we ensure that whenever a customer calls us, they will be able to speak to someone there and then. One way we do this is by having phone lines for each department available from 8:30am until 5pm every weekday with happy-to-help experts at the end. There are also procedures in place so that if for some reason the relevant person isn’t able to answer the phone, the call will bounce through to another member of staff who can offer assistance. This way, no call is left unanswered. With a team of technical experts with many years of industry experience, customers can be assured that they can get the very best from their machines with queries resolved straight away. The technical help lines are available 5 days a week for immediate technical support. To ensure all problems are dealt with we log incoming calls and 24 hours later we call the engineer back to confirm the issue has been closed.

We want every customer’s machine to be always working to maximise drink, snack and food sales. As a result of improved training and thorough and helpful service, there has been a significant reduction in technical calls. Our statistics have shown that technical calls have been reduced by 30% which is undoubtedly due to improved engineer competence. We have 2 new members of the support team (Meg and Hannah) who are both highly trained in customer service. They manage parts order processing and carry out the 24 hour follow up procedure. They have already built a great working relationship with our customers.

The Westomatic Academy is also a huge part of our customer service offering. Free training courses for starters, intermediate and experienced engineers covering the full range of machines. Engineers are provided with lunch, discounted accommodation and also taken out for an evening meal by members of our sales and technical team. The course is run in intimate groups so that there is a lot of one on one and hands on training and attendees can ask individual questions as well as group discussions. Engineers sit an exam at the end to ensure they are now competent to deliver great service. The courses are run by Technical Managers David Scott and Steve Naylor who have at least 70 years vending experience between them. ‘The course was enjoyable with a lot of information shown in a hands-on manor which helps learning when I physically do it.’ Mitchell Oakes, Engineer, Café Spa Limited ‘I found the course to be informative, constructive, hands on and very useful.’ Mark Clayton, Engineer, Chevington Finance & Leasing LTD Steve Naylor and David Scott are our field engineers who support customers at important installations.

They also provide extra training for engineers and operators and support engineers with any problems they cannot resolve. Westomatic have their own 18 tonne trucks with tail lifts to deliver and collect machines for our customers to their depot or their sites. Deliveries can therefore be planned with timed accuracy and flexibility. When making an important purchase such as a vending machine, customers need to know it will be delivered and handled safely by drivers who have special training to manoeuvre machines.

Our Sales and Marketing team also aim to deliver exceptional service. Hayley Rose has recently joined Westomatic as the Customer Relationship Manager. Aileen Armour has also recently joined as the National Business Development Manager. Candy Hill is our Sales Administrator. They have strong backgrounds in vending and together they help guide customers through the sales process and support them with the information and documentation needed to obtain orders.

Ben Farrer, our Marketing and Communication Coordinator manages our website and provides regular newsletters and bulletins and keeps customers informed of new product developments, launches and company updates. A range of stylish brochures have recently been introduced which can all be obtained from These are all vital aspects of our customer service offering which comes as part of the package when buying a machine from Westomatic. High quality machines and an outstanding service is what makes us stand out and offers customers more than just a product.