Flexseal uses its 'customer-first' culture to support stockists
Date: 24 July 2018
Since its inception in 1989, Flexseal has been at the heart of the civils and drainage sectors, aiming to play a ‘vital part in shaping the way contractors repair and refurbish drainage and sewer pipelines’. PBM takes a closer look at the brand name which is reportedly the ‘go-to for any connection required for a plain ended gravity pipeline’.
With a track record stretching back almost 30 years, Flexseal highlights its strong strategic relationships with UK builders’ merchants as a key reason for its success. As a longstanding member of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), the company states it has always been committed to supporting its reseller partners, working closely with them to shift with the changing demands of the end-users.
Managing Director Lee Pashley has been with the business for 16 years, and he explained some of the changes he’s seen and implemented during that time: “We’ve always distributed via the builders’ merchant and it’s always been a big focus for us. It’s a big task growing our customer base as large as we have without damaging our service levels – and one that we couldn’t have achieved without making some changes along the way.
“Our most significant strategy to achieving this has been in our people; we have quite a unique culture and one that empowers our people with the skills and experiences to make a difference – and one that’s always with a ‘customer-first’ view.”
The firm employs approximately 60 people in the UK, many of which are long-serving and have helped Flexseal reach a record number of distribution partners to-date. Managing the ever-changing demands of a large number of customers can be challenging, so the company has implemented new strategies to service these customers in a way they hope is ‘consistent, fair and adds value’.
“I’ve challenged my team to modernise our business and use technology to manage our growth and offerings to customers.” Explained Lee, who further stated that modernisation is a key focus for the next 15-year business plan.
Ricky Hasprey, National Sales Manager, shared how he’s taken on the challenge and is adding new service provisions with the aim of adding value to the customer base. He said: “We work closely with our marketing team to collate market insights and customer feedback to then make improvements wherever we can. When we analysed the feedback that was coming into the business, it clearly pointed out to us that additional training was at the top of a lot of our customers’ agendas – we recognise this is also a hot topic industry-wide.”
Flexseal offers in-branch practical training for its customers but recognises that this can present certain logistical issues for time-pressed merchants. Presenting a solution, Ricky said: “To further improve our training package we’ve now developed an online training tool called Flexseal Academy. (academy.flexseal.co.uk) This new tool can instantly give all our customers access to training materials; a service that we’ve never been able to offer before. The content is very much tailored to sales tips and tactics as well as industry standards and changes.”
The Flexseal Academy (academy.flexseal.co.uk) will be an extension of the supplier’s established training offering led by its team of experts. The online platform allows the company to react to and communicate changes that affect the pipe connections industry, aiming to keep builders’ merchants at the forefront of any changes.
This is not the only example of the company using technology to add customer focused tools to its service offerings. It has also recently introduced a Product Selector App and website (findmy.flexseal.co.uk) which allows the user to find compatible products for connection requirements. The user can enter the sizes of two pipes they need to connect,
and the system will automatically display the products that
are compatible with those pipe sizes.
“Our merchant customers have welcomed the Product Selector tool as it made specifying couplings quicker and easier than ever before and the usage statistics prove that it’s a real hit with them.” explained Ricky.
With a large distribution network in place, the supplier is committed to providing additional support to builders’ merchants and their staff to prove the Flexseal brand is one worth investing in. And it believes that by implementing the right tools and technology, its builders’ merchant customers will have the opportunity to maximise sales and growth.
MD Lee Pashley concluded: “For almost 30 years Flexseal has done an excellent job in increasing our distribution and we believe it’s now time to put more focus on supporting the sales of our builders’ merchant customers. I firmly believe that technology can play a big part in that and with further investment into the business, our service offerings will continue to strengthen and grow.”