Best customer service, every day
Wolseley is the world’s largest trade distributor of plumbing and heating products and a leading supplier of building materials. We build our businesses through the quality of our people – the excellent service that they provide and their strong relationships with vendors and customers.
Focusing on overall quality of service
I strive to ‘wow’ my customers from the moment that they enter the showroom.”
To measure the consistency of customer service, Ferguson implemented a secret shopper programme simulating customers shopping at selected showrooms across the country.
The programme was quickly expanded to include counters, which are secret shopped by experienced trade professionals. Each location is rated on all aspects of the visit, such as the entrance, interior, merchandising, sales process and overall experience. To date, in 2011/12, Ferguson has completed 1,700 showroom shops and 702 counter shops.
The secret shopper programme is a valuable tool in benchmarking and consistently measuring customer service. It also identifies areas for improvement as well as recognising employees who are providing world-class customer service.
Focusing on rate and speed of service
Will Call saves me time as I can call ahead my order.”
Michael and Son Services
Providing world-class customer service to customers when they visit a counter is a key part of Ferguson’s strategy.
In 2010/11, we introduced the one hour “Will Call” service to help counters provide better service to the customer, manage labour and therefore gain market share.
The “Will Call” service enables customers to phone in their orders and have them ready for pick up within one hour. The benefits of “Will Call” are that customers spend less time waiting. It also frees up our branches and reduces overall wait times particularly at peak periods.
Due to its success, “Will Call” has been rolled out across the Ferguson Blended Branches business and has grown to represent more than 20 per cent of total counter sales.
Focusing on product availability
Spending less time sourcing parts gives me more time to get on with the job.”
Chambers Plumbing and Heating
Getting what our customers want, when they want it is what sets us apart from our competition. Plumb Center in the UK recognises the importance of this and in October 2011 introduced a new and improved trade price guide.
The trade price guide is issued quarterly to all customers so that they always have up to date information about our product availability and pricing.
Our installers need to plan their working week and the new price guide indicates whether any of the 18,000 product lines are in branch that day, are available within 24 hours, 48 hours or for special orders advises them to check with their local branch. This is done through a simple colour coding system so that installers can easily find out the availability of a product. This saves the customer time as they do not need to travel from branch to branch or make a phone call to find out.
Plumb Center has improved branch product availability to over 99 per cent through making various supply chain improvements over the last two years.
Focusing on relationships with employees
They know me and my company and are always one step ahead.”
Stark is the market leader for building materials distribution in Denmark. Having the best people is key to sustaining the number 1 market position.
This is achieved through measuring staff engagement on a regular basis and making improvements to working environments and training so that our front line employees are engaged and deliver the best possible service to our customers. In 2011/12, we achieved a very high average employee engagement score of 76 per cent for all 2,844 Stark employees. This score was mainly due to more investment in online and on the job training and giving the branch managers more responsibility and autonomy to make decisions.
“The way our employees service our customers is what makes the difference. This cannot be copied,” says Managing Director, Lars Hansen.
- Group at a glance (ongoing businesses)1
- Our investment case
- The business model
This excludes businesses that have been sold or are held for sale.
- Like-for-like change in revenue
This is the increase or decrease in revenue excluding the effect of currency exchange, acquisitions and disposals, trading days and branch openings and closures.
- Trading profit
This is operating profit before exceptional items and the amortisation and impairment of intangible assets. See note 9 of the Consolidated Financial Statements for a reconciliation from operating profit to trading profit.