To make matters trickier, customer expectations for seamless, easy experiences are only growing. 71% expect a personalised experience when interacting with a business online, according to McKinsey, which has prompted a rise in the use on tech such as chatbots and app experiences.
Upgrading your service means upgrading the tools you have available to serve your customers. But in an age of such complexity, and with an uncertain economic landscape ahead, that’s often easier said than done.
So how can you make sure your supplier relationships are working as hard as they can? That’s a question we asked in our recent Leeds roundtable, ‘The Future of Leasing in the UK’. We spoke to decision makers from across the country to get a sense of the challenges they face implementing Leasing into their business, and how suppliers can play a more powerful role in achieving business growth.
Let’s take a look at what we learnt, and how Leasing can help you upgrade your supplier relationships.
No business is an island
The key to a successful business is the relationships you have, both with your customers and your suppliers. After all, the tools at your disposal have a direct impact on the quality of the service you provide.
And these relationships can also help you as your business grows. That’s what Michelle White of ACS Managed Print had to say in our roundtable. ‘When I first met David and GRENKE,’ she explained, ‘we had absolutely zero experience of Leasing. Since then, our business has evolved.’
From 40 years of experience in Leasing, we’ve seen businesses just like Michelle’s evolve as they become able to offer more flexible financing solutions. By avoiding contracts with hefty upfront capital expenditure and spreading financing over easy-to-manage monthly payments, Leasing makes things easier both for resellers and their customers.
That’s the benefit of a supplier relationship that’s designed to work for you – it can help you offer more value for your own customers.
It makes sense to put energy into these kinds of relationships that serve you in the best way. Are you getting the best quality equipment? Is your contract designed to offer you the best flexibility? Is your supplier looking to build a relationship with you, or just sell their services?
Asking these kinds of questions can help you find the right suppliers that share your growth ambitions and build relationships with mutual benefit.
Upgrading your equipment is a simple as a one step process, right? Well, not exactly – not if you want to get maximum value out of your investments.
That’s because your equipment can work in harmony together to boost your productivity in unexpected ways. Let’s look at an example.
A manufacturer wants to upgrade their forklift trucks to improve their output across their warehouses. New forklifts are a great solution – but so too are upgraded vehicle washing equipment and contaminant disposal facilities. They keep the warehouse and equipment clean and in good condition, increasing the efficiency of your machines and reducing the likelihood of faults and breakdowns.
It's surprising that the link between cleaning products and heavy machinery can have such an impact on your business. But improved safety means your investments can work harder and boost the output of your business.
Let’s take another example. The latest productivity software can put all the information your office-based employees need in the palm of their hands. But to help them make the most of it, have you considered the impact of ergonomic office chairs? Or how the right LED lighting can keep your employees feeling empowered and productive?
Finding these unexpected combinations often means relying on your suppliers for their expertise and knowledge. Leasing can make the crucial difference here, by giving you flexible contracts that can work in harmony with multiple suppliers, ensuring you can find the best solutions for you.
Overcoming the knowledge barrier
Just 4% of SMEs in the UK use Leasing, according to our research, which represents huge untapped potential for businesses to boost their growth.
How do we realise that potential? It’s all about education. After all, businesses can’t take the best next step if they aren’t aware of the tools out there to help them.
This was a key takeaway that came out of our roundtable. One challenge that was raised was that customers seem pre-conditioned to think that some assets can be Leased, and some can’t – for example, preferring to Lease office furniture, but not things such as air conditioning or office software.
But there are education gaps for resellers too. It can be a struggle to understand and communicate the benefits of Leasing when stuck in traditional ways of financing. ‘I initially didn’t appreciate there were tax benefits’, said Justin English, XBM Limited.
Overcoming these barriers through conversations such as these is incredibly important because it helps establish Leasing as a more viable option for resellers and customers alike.
‘In my eyes it’s all about training and education,’ said Bernard Henry, Clarity Office Solutions (Pennine) Limited. This sentiment was shared around the table, especially from Michelle White, ACS Managed Print. ‘Leasing is a great way to help businesses access the latest technology without all the upfront costs,’ she said. ‘So let’s educate people.’