Held in March earlier this year at the Hotel Bruce County, Mount Waverly, the first Timber Merchants Association (TMA) breakfast event for the year focused on understanding the complex customers of the modern age, as highlighted by the theme “Know your market; increase your productivity!”.

Eric Siegers, Executive Officer of the TMA, said the event’s aim was to provide members with the fundamentals of how to understand customer behaviour, and how to use this information to respond to a customer’s needs.

The TMA stated that there were two significant challenges to overcome in order to achieve these objectives:

  • Determine the difference between what a customer says and what they do; and
  • Determine which technology suits the individual business capabilities and needs.
  • Information provided at the event educated breakfast diners that customer service is not just about answering the phones or taking the cash at the register, it’s all about knowing what the customer wants, how to respond, and creating a flexible business.

The event’s speakers included;

  • Lex Stanley, Marketing Insights Executive at ReachLocal
  • Stephen Lakey, Business Development Manager and Customer Service Advocate at Gamma Solutions
  • Charles Nicolson, Chief Executive Officer at VESTA.

All speakers spoke in-depth about the connection between the data available to the business owner and the technology that helps maximise the relationship with the customer.

Timber-related case studies were applied during the presentations to demonstrate to merchants how they could achieve efficiencies.

Guest Richard Hill said the breakfast provided insights that all of the industry needs to hear.

“It is a great forum to catch up on very relevant information,” he added.

Another TMA member who attended the breakfast, Myriam Webster, said the sessions were very informative.

“Very, very interesting – being a bit “˜old school’ myself, it can be very hard to get a grasp on this stuff, but what they talked about today was very easy for me to understand.

“It’s really good for me to get information like that so I can take it back and discuss it with my staff, meaning our business can apply and progress forward,” Myriam said.

“We may know all about timber and hardware, but a lot of business owners that are here at the breakfast today need to be aware that it’s still really important to keep up-to-date with all of this, if you want to survive!” she concluded.