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If you want to understand your customers’ experience better, who better to ask than your customers?

That’s exactly what Xerox’s U.S. Metered Supplies team did when they launched a customized survey in June 2012, asking customers with cost-per-copy contracts to rate their day-to-day interactions with us.

Survey feedback revealed two frequent complaints: Orders for the supplies were not easy to place, nor was it always possible for our customers to order enough toner to meet their needs.

Feedback today, however, suggests our ordering process is simple and accommodating.

What changed?

The U.S. Metered Supplies team overhauled the process by implementing an ambitious list of solutions; vaulting customer satisfaction levels to new heights.

One-Stop Shopping

One-stop shopping was introduced by merging separate system capabilities. Supplies covered under cost-per-copy contracts are now ordered with a single transaction – either online (preferred by many customers) or by telephone. Redundancies that plagued the previous process, including approximately 1,200 phone transfers per month between our supplies and service departments, were eliminated.

Customers are delighted with the changes. Survey responses have evolved from, “It would be nice to be able to order other consumables, such as drums or fusers, via the Internet versus having to call.” (Paul D., August 2013), to “I like the new online ordering system. I am glad that drums and waste toner containers were added to the online ordering system. That will save me a lot of time.” (Carol C., March 2014)

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No More Guesswork

Toner remains in our inventory until customers install it. In order to control costs, quantity limits are set for each U.S. Metered Supplies account. We base these limits on order history and forecasted need. If customers want extra toner, we ask them to explain why. Occasionally, we decrease the quantity requested in accordance with their limit. Some high-volume customers object to these questions and controls.

In May 2014, the aptly named Anti-Hassle Pilot was rolled out to 15 Graphic Communications customers. Since their toner needs are more difficult to forecast, their 30,000 devices are now exempt from our quantity quizzing. While all order exceptions are subject to review, the team is specifically monitoring the impact of the pilot on business costs.

Early survey results show customers love these changes. When asked to rate their overall satisfaction with their order transaction, the average score (based on a scale of 1-10, with 10 indicating the greatest satisfaction) jumped from 7.3 to 9.4, just three months into the pilot.

Customer verbatim speaks volumes, evolving from, “I feel like they think I’m stealing something or selling the toner on the streets. My time is valuable too!!!” (Carol K., January 2013) to “It was nice to have someone who understood what we needed and didn’t argue about the quantity since we are a production printing company.” (Shawn G., June 2014)

Lessons Learned

Mary Fenlon, manager, U.S. Metered Supplies Programs, is candid about the lessons she and her team have learned.

“Prior to implementing our survey, we had no way to pinpoint what, exactly, we needed to do to improve our customer’s ordering experience. We were taking actions in the dark, “best-guessing” what customers wanted based on our gut feel,” she admits. “It’s very exciting for us to see that satisfaction needle move in the right direction, and to feel confident that our actions are directly related to our improved performance.”