“It gives me a real buzz to know that I’ve made a difference to our customers!” Meet our Customer Relations Manager, Jane Murray.
At Beacon, we’re not just here to get the best value out of contracts and suppliers - we offer so much more than that. At the top of our list is creating brilliant customer experiences, and that’s down to Jane Murray, our Customer Relations Manager.
Jane's been with Beacon for 24 years and is responsible for our Central Billing team and our team of Customer Support Executives - they’re the people our customers speak to first whenever they call us with an enquiry.
As part of our ‘Meet our team’ series, we caught up with Jane to find out more about why customer service is so important at Beacon…
Hi Jane! We’ll start with an easy question - what do you love about your job?
“That’s definitely an easy one to answer! I’m passionate about helping our customers and suppliers, and there’s nothing better than leaving work knowing you’ve made someone’s day a little less stressful because you’ve been able to solve a problem for them. It might sound a bit cheesy but it gives me a real buzz to know that I’ve made a difference to our customers!”
“I love the variety of my job, too. And there are also lots of great moments when we’re able to surprise customers by finding them a better deal, even if they have long standing relationships with the current suppliers. It can sometimes be a real shock to them – although obviously a nice one!”
What does customer support mean to you?
“In any customer support role, it’s about delivering a great experience - but here at Beacon it’s our key focus. In fact, working here is about making people feel valued and appreciated and that’s exactly what every member of my team does. We really listen to and understand our customers so we’re able to offer solutions that will be a tangible benefit to them. I think that sums up customer service for me.”
And what do you want customers to think of your team?
“I think it’s important for customers to always take away a positive impression of our business. It doesn’t matter whether they’re contacting us about a missed delivery or a niche product they need sourcing - the key thing is that they can be confident that we’ll get it sorted.”
“My team will always find a way to support our customers, whatever they need. If we don’t have a supplier that can help them, we’ll find one. It’s really as simple as that. We’re not in the business of saying no - our aim is to always deliver the best solution for them.”
Why should customers use Beacon?
“The internet has meant that customers have become a little more self-sufficient. For example, if they want to source a particular bar stool, it’s fairly easy to order online from a Chinese manufacturer. However, what they’re really missing out on is the brilliant after sales service that we offer.”
“Ordering through a Beacon supplier probably won’t be more expensive than ordering online, and if there are any problems, there’s a real person - that’s us! - on the end of the phone to find a solution. In the long run, sourcing and ordering online might seem more cost-effective but it can often cause more problems than it solves.”
What is Beacon’s best kept secret?
“It’s really no secret, but not a lot of customers know about our dispute resolution service offered by our Central Billing team. For example, at the end of the month, a customer could have disputes with five different suppliers over five different invoices. But if they used our Central Billing function, they could resolve all five of those disputes with just one phone call. This kind of thing can be so time consuming, so it makes sense to let us take care of it.”
What’s the most challenging part of your role?
“I think most people would give the same answer right now: dealing with the pandemic.”
“However, it has been particularly challenging for us due to the huge impact it had, and is continuing to have, on our hospitality customers. Listening to stories about customers who had been with us for years and whose businesses didn’t survive was heartbreaking. I heard first-hand from customers how devastating the situation was for them. And I’ve almost been brought to tears on more than one occasion hearing about how people’s livelihoods and the businesses they’d invested years of hard work in were being taken from them."
What’s the most common question our customers ask?
“Great question! We’re getting lots of queries right now around the current supply chain issues. Our customers might have had a missed delivery or they’ve noticed standards in service slipping and these are things that millions of people around the world are seeing every single day due to it being a global issue.”
“We can obviously provide advice on how best to work with their suppliers during this challenging time and even source alternative ones if the customer is not their current supplier’s priority due to low spend or the cost to serve them. This is also a great opportunity to remind our customers that if they use our Central Billing function, we can dispute invoices on their behalf. If a supplier hasn’t delivered at all or they haven’t fulfilled a whole order, you won’t need to pay them until Central Billing has resolved the complaint."
What makes you proud to work at Beacon?
“There’s a lot I could include here, but what made me especially proud was that we stayed open during the pandemic, even though most of our income disappeared overnight when the first lockdown was introduced. We did this to support our customers, whether it was helping them negotiate payment plans with suppliers or temporary pauses in equipment rental charges. Whatever it was our customers needed, we were straight on it.”
“We were also able to source competitively priced certified PPE, hand sanitiser and fogging machines when global supply was scarce and costly. We managed to find a dependable supply route, even though it wasn’t an existing core product line of ours. Not many businesses would have been able to achieve that.”
“And throughout, we never stopped looking for potential new opportunities that our customers could take advantage of while they were closed. For example, there was KBOX Global which connected under utilised kitchens with delivery first food brands. And Direction Training who offered our customers free online training to help keep furloughed staff engaged with the business while they weren’t working.”
What’s the one big benefit that Beacon can offer our customers?
“That’s another easy one to answer! It’s our collective knowledge and expertise - simple!”
“Our Managing Director is from a hotel background, so he has a real understanding of the day-to-day challenges of our customers. Our Procurement Director has an amazing network of contacts too. She’s a real problem solver and can always find a supplier that meets a customer’s brief. We also have menu experts, procurement professionals, central billing advisors, and lots of other specialists that work collaboratively to find real-world solutions for our customers.”
“We’re not just here to get the best value out of contracts and suppliers – we offer so much more than that!”
Thanks Jane - it’s great to know that customer service is a number one priority at Beacon!
So now you know more about our incredible commitment to customer service, why not give us a call next time you have a business problem to solve? Our time is completely free, unless we need to commission specialist consultancy work - so it makes sense to put our knowledge and expertise to the test.
If you’ve got a question for us right now or you think we may be able to help in any way, all you need to do us call Jane and her team on 01904 695588.