Customer Experience

Why your smartphone is a customer service weapon

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Shaun McInerney of Fresh Fellas says his best tool for customer service is right there in his pocket – his Telstra smartphone.

It doesn’t get more competitive than the bustle of Sydney’s Flemington Markets. But Shaun McInerney of Fresh Fellas, a fresh produce wholesaler that supplies grocers and restaurants nationally, says his best tool for good customer service is right there in his pocket – his Telstra smartphone.

Shaun uses his smartphone to keep in close contact with both his growers and the customers. Thanks to Telstra’s extensive coverage, he’s able to respond to customer requests on the go – whether he’s on the road visiting suppliers or at the market.

“I’ve gotten to know my customers pretty well over the 20 years we’ve been in business,” says Shaun. “One thing I’ve learnt is they really value a supplier who is almost like part of the family, whose care for their business is obvious.”

Shaun McInerney at work

Improve customer service with an immediate response

“Even when I’m busy running the show at Paddy’s Market, I can take a call from a supplier or customer hundreds of kilometres away, look up pricing or whatever they need, and fire off an email on the spot to finalise their request.

“Before, I would have had to wait until the end of the day to sort anything like that out, and I’ve definitely seen supplier satisfaction levels increase off the back of it. We look more professional as a result, and that means our customers are also happy to keep working with us.”

Better teamwork with business smartphones

Shaun and his team all carry smartphones, and as a result it’s much easier for everyone to collaborate and work together, from warehouse managers to sales staff and truck drivers.

“We all use our phones a lot more now. They’re vital to the way we do business – it’s hard to imagine how we worked without them!”

Shaun has found that as well as making his day-to-day work easier, using the smartphone helps him build trust with those customers further afield.

“They don’t have to take my word on the produce quality anymore,” he explains. “I can take a picture of the stock I have and send it right then, while I’m on the phone with them. Then they can say, ‘Yeah, that looks good, I’ll take 20 of each,’ and we’re away. That means they can get on with other stuff, and so can I.”

Integrating business technology

The flexibility of working mobile has been a real winner for Shaun, but with the company continuing to grow he’s not content to stop there.

“I’m currently working with the industry software provider we use to create something that’s going to make my life even easier,” he explains.

“We’re looking at integrating some different components together to make the way we work much more efficient. There’ll be an online ordering system that links to our stock inventory and will allow me to allocate stock to orders on my phone as they come in, and prepare the invoices at the same time. It’s really exciting – this is going to change the game completely.”

In a business where supplier and customer service is everything, it’s clear Shaun and his team have found the winning edge.  

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