Danwood is committing £5m to becoming more customer-centric, after claiming that the print channel has never adequately considered its clients' needs and wants. Concurrently, the print services outfit has opened doors on new digs in London as it shifts the focus of the business towards the capital.
The UK's largest print reseller is investing heavily in researching its current, former and potential customer base. In the latter part of last year and the first quarter of 2014 it worked with customer experience research outfit The Leadership Factor to survey existing customers and those that have severed ties with the firm to find out what end users consider to be its strengths and weaknesses.
Now, the Lincoln-headquartered firm has retained consultancy Eden McCallum to explore in more depth the printing habits of businesses in 20 key verticals. Danwood chief executive Steve Francis claimed that the print industry has been too prescriptive with customers for too long.
"I have never found an industry that has been so forcefully driven by the supply chain. Larger customers can demand, but smaller customers are given," he said. "We are takers of services... [that are] so supplier-pushed, and I do not think anyone has ever sat back and said ‘what does the customer want?'. We are the ideal company to do that, because we have the largest customer base in the UK."
Invest for success
Investments already being made in the name of improving customer experience include about £1m to be spent on technology, including a new CRM system, telephony infrastructure, and arming its itinerant workforce with the latest tablet and smartphone kit. The VAR has also changed the way it measures the success of its engineering team.
"We used to target our engineers on number of fixes per day, but that had the effect that they tried to do more, rather than fewer, well," said Francis (pictured below). "Now, if they go into a situation and it takes five hours to fix it really well, but then they do not have to go back for a year, [we believe] that is a better result than four quick fixes."
"The people on the end of the phone are also being incented. We used to automatically just send out an engineer, and our first-time [remote] fix rate was eight per cent. It is now 15 per cent, and we are targeting 25 per cent by Christmas."
Danwood is also splashing the cash on training its sales staff to sell in a far more consultative way, and increasing the scope of its graduate recruitment scheme. Last year 18 year university leavers joined the company, and this year it has more than 600 applicants to pick from - compared with less than a 100 last year, claimed Francis. This all comes on the back of a year in which 220 staff departed the company in a top-to-bottom overhaul of the business.
"We have changed the sales force quite significantly. A lot of people look at Danwood and say ‘a leopard cannot change its spots'. Well, we are not the same leopard," added Francis. "If I look at the commercial sales team, we have just under 90 people, and 47 of them have been here less than a year."
A number of the firm's recruits will be housed at its new facility in the capital, down the road from its previous digs on the eastern edges of the City of London. The new digs represent a key move in the name of making the business much more London-centric, claimed the CEO.
"We have a Lincoln heritage, that is not going to change. But we looked at where the customers are, and most of them are here, as are our contract funders. This will be our boardroom, and where we make key decisions," he explained. "It is also about where the talent pool is for the IT solutions market."
MSP plans to use new acquisition to expand its security offerings
Reseller also saw its operating profit fall five per cent in its financial 2017
Wendy Bahr to bring 18-year spell at networking giant to an end
AdEPT says latest purchase will push revenue beyond £50m