Customer Service is at the core of everything Excel does; routinely, operating and commercial decisions depend on the value it will deliver for our customers. This has been the case throughout our 28-year history. Indeed, we have been recognised for our extraordinary service levels with several ‘Best Customer Service’ awards in various national and local business awards in recent years.
As an organisation that focuses on customer service, it has become part of the company’s culture and putting the customer first is integrated into our daily processes and procedures. As part of this we have a dedicated Customer Relationship Manager and Customer Care Ambassador. However, events over the past year have seen massive disruption to everyday practices. Like all other businesses, we have had to make massive changes in our operation. Staff have had to adjust to working remotely quickly; something we are proud to say they have done to significant effect.
While they are used to working close to one another to support our clients, our customer service team adapted quickly to remote working. It continued to communicate with customers and liaise with management, engineers and machine operators to provide a firstclass service. Something that’s been acknowledged by many customers in recent months.
Customer’s needs changed overnight. Some were closed almost immediately, some were partially closed, while others who provide key services experienced increased demand. Overnight, every client’s needs changed; and, they continue to change each time the latest Government directives are issued.
Most businesses would have viewed the pandemic as a point to consolidate service provision to core items only however it is testament to Excel’s customer led approach that the opposite was true. We introduced fresh food provision as a core part of our service, as customers looked to remove traditional catering provision they looked to us as a trusted partner to deliver an alternative solution with the usual high standard they receive from us.
Excel Vending has continued to operate throughout the pandemic 24/7, and we have accommodated 100% of the ‘special’ requests received from our customers including those service issues at 3am where telephone support as restored service to our customer. It is a testament to the customer service ethos that we have not only managed to meet all demands, but we have also exceeded expectations in many cases. So, even with the disruption to daily working life, we have continued to deliver what the customer needed at any given time.
Within a few hours of a Government announcement, the team have frequently had to attend customers who were closing for an unknown period. Thus ensuring their perishable stock was removed immediately, and their machines were shutdown safely. Unwilling to see products going to waste our team worked to recover several thousand pounds of stock back to our warehouse. This was then distributed to Glasgow Community Food Network rather than being discarded as waste. This partner was identified by one of our customers who put us in contact with the Glasgow Community Food Network.
Likewise, we have responded immediately to install additional machines where staff canteens have had to close. And we have ensured these new machines were adequately stocked with the correct products to replace their regular food provision services.
We have also listened to the specific challenges faced by each of our customers and provided support where we could. For example, this week, we agreed to credit our maintenance charge for a charity that is struggling to survive. Similarly, as a token of our recognition for the tireless work being done, Excel Vending provided NHS client with free vend on their coffee machines at the start of the pandemic.
We have kept our customers fully informed around additional measures to keep vending safe; for example, installing card readers, so cash is not required and adopting touchless technology to minimise contact with machines. We have achieved this with a combination of customer service calls and demonstration videos to highlight how vending can provide the best and most hygienic solution for food and drinks provision.
We have maintained an adequate level of engineers throughout the last year. We have never used the pandemic as an excuse for extending our response time or reducing our customers’ daily service. In fact, in many instances, we provide a much more reactive service simply because we appreciate the state of flux and that customers can’t give the lead times they would typically offer. Most notably, we have accommodated every customer’s request regarding restricted access and staff numbers.
The current situation has impacted every business, and Excel is no different. However, our genuine commitment to customer service has encouraged and inspired us to help every customer in any way we can.
We have proven that our core values are not simply ‘box-ticking’ corporate statements; we have adapted to every situation, and we have met the challenges with a positive attitude. Invariably, we have ignored commercial sense in favour of moral obligation. As a
business in its 28th trading year, we appreciate our customers, and we will continue to support them in the same way they have supported us for the last 27 years.
We believe in the concept of ‘profit with a purpose’; we are proud of what we routinely give back to the community, something we have done since 1993. However, there has never been a more appropriate time to act responsibly and collaborate with our customers to ensure survival, recovery, and future growth. We will continue to be committed to customer service because that principle has served us very well in the past. We believe our recent actions have massively increased our Trust Capital, and that’s something that we think will pay dividends in the future.