In this interview, we sit down with Foodbuy Australia’s National Manager of Client Services to delve into his extensive experience and customer-centric approach. Discover how his commitment to open communication and attentive listening has driven success and exceptional customer experiences across various hospitality and catering industry sectors.
You’ve had an impressive 35-year journey with Compass Group and Foodbuy Australia, witnessing changes in customer expectations. Can you share insights into how your team has adapted to understand better and meet your customers’ evolving needs, resulting in an enhanced customer experience?
Our industry is indeed dynamic with client and consumer trends constantly evolving. However, throughout my career, communicating and visiting with our clients and their site teams on a regular basis remains key to understanding their evolving needs and requirements and in how our service needs to evolve with them. Hearing their experience first-hand provides us with the information required to ensure we can actively share and develop the support with our suppliers to consistently drive delivery performance and success.
Empathy and active listening are essential components of understanding customer needs. How do you foster a culture within your team that encourages genuine empathy and effective communication with clients, ultimately strengthening Foodbuy Australia’s customer relationship?
The role of culinary and site service teams is demanding and the service they require from us needs to match the pace of their operations, their specific requirements, their industry, and their location. In our Client Services team, we deliberately recruit people who have come from this operational and on-site service experience to ensure we truly understand the ‘voice of the customer’, can empathise with their requirements and understand that the way we engage and communicate with this peer group of professionals is key in ensuring we deliver the highest and most effective customer service to our clients.
The hospitality and catering industry can be fast-paced and demanding. How do you balance delivering on high customer expectations while keeping the lines of communication open to address any concerns that may arise?
We provide our clients and their site teams with a suite of solutions in how they can engage with us and in ensuring we respond in a timely manner, solving the immediate service request whilst tracking service trends and providing consistent and quality updates to our clients and in keeping them apprised of our work. Long-term solutions and addressing the root cause for continued improvement are reviewed as a collective by the team coupled with targeted “voice of the customer” feedback events coupled with a ‘You Said, We Did’ playback of the actions we have taken in response. All of this mirrors our core Foodbuy cultural values across trust and transparency.
Foodbuy Australia serves various sectors, each with its unique requirements. Can you share a memorable experience where your team’s dedication to understanding a particular sector’s needs resulted in a tailored solution that exceeded expectations?
The team takes great pride in ensuring a seamless transition when mobilising contracts. We have dedicated team members allocated to support these and a great example of the level of our whole team’s commitment to our clients was during the mobilisation of one of our largest contracts. This significant and complex mobilisation program occurred during the COVID lockdown and members across our team worked at night and over the weekends ensuring all the site’s mobilisation requirements were delivered on time and the on-site teams were constantly updated. Noting, like much of our growth, that this mobilisation occurred in parallel across two states during the period where border closures added extra and unprecedented complexity for our supply partners to overcome. The mobilisation was a success and a very satisfying and pleasing result for our team, our suppliers, and our client.
You’ve witnessed the evolution of customer service over your vast time with Foodbuy. Please share with us what customer service means to you personally and how you instil that definition within your team to maintain a high standard of service excellence.
Delivering a high standard of customer service means that you are listening, sharing, discussing, and understanding your clients’ needs and requirements. Building a strong and effective relationship with your client means you can work together collaboratively in always providing their customers with high-quality products and services, especially during challenging times. Being open and transparent is key to ensuring your partnership with the client can thrive. Our Foodbuy values reflect these qualities and how we engage with trust and dependability in providing the very best service to our clients and their operational teams.
Behind every successful National Manager of Client Services is a dedicated harmonious team. Please tell us about the culture and dynamics within your client services team at Foodbuy Australia. How do you ensure that everyone shares the same commitment to open communication, active listening, and understanding the needs of the clients?
The Client Services team are highly skilled and motivated to deliver the highest possible customer experience they can. Every team member contributes to our future development, the service we provide, how we work with our supply partners and in providing a strong platform that ensures we are aligned in how we work today and how we want to continue our development for the future. Another key component is to always try and have some fun along the way. Having open, honest discussions and being willing to challenge each other, ensures the team are always reviewing how we can always deliver the highest standards possible.