Handicare’s 1100 stairlift
Handicare’s 1100 Straight Stairlift
David Harrison
David Harrison

Handicare Accessibility, a supplier of stairlifts, which earlier this year became part of the North American-headquartered Savaria Corporation, has always been committed to improving service standards for its trade partners. The firm made a clear statement of intent to make improving customer satisfaction a strategic focus following the appointment of David Harrison to the role of Global Customer Experience Director at the beginning of 2021. THIIS speaks to David about how the firm has been prioritising the customer experience…

THIIS: Why prioritize the customer experience now?

David: “There is a greater focus on how companies can find new ways to deliver excellent service for consumers whose behaviours have changed as a result of the pandemic. Expectations have risen, and businesses across the board have accelerated investment in new technologies to improve customer experience.

“Handicare has global growth ambitions, especially since our acquisition by North American headquartered Savaria Corporation earlier this year, and we know customer experience excellence has to be at the heart of that growth. If we increase efficiency by getting it right first time, build customer loyalty, and manage our service proactively, we will achieve our goals.”

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THIIS: What is your vision for Handicare’s customer experience?

David: “I want to make our customer journey as effortless as possible, aligned across all our sales channels and markets. In practice this means digitalisation will play an integral role in the transformation of our internal processes, which will have a huge impact on our ability to efficiently process orders and deliver on our promises to partners and ultimately end-users. Our goal is to make it easier for everyone to do business with us.”

THIIS: How are you making changes?

David: “Change to our service performance starts with our employee experience. We’ve recently completed an engagement survey to listen to feedback from our teams, and we’re implementing changes to make processes smoother for them, which will in turn make life easier for our customers and partners when they contact us. We’ve also increased training and progression opportunities for our associates so they remain motivated and equipped to deliver a world-class service.

“We know how life-changing our products are for end-users, and how important it is to get things right for them – keeping their needs and pain points front of mind for everyone in our business is our main priority. How we treat our partners directly affects our end-users, so this is of course equally important. Getting it right for our trade partners ultimately helps them to get it right for Handicare stairlift users too.

“In November we’re hosting our first global marketing and service conference, Engage. The aim is to inspire our people to recognise how each of them contributes to the customer journey. It’s only through strategic collaboration between marketing and service teams that we can fully optimise the customer experience at every step, helping us to grow our business, and our partners’ businesses too.”

THIIS: Handicare introduced a new five-tier partner programme earlier this year. How has this been going?

David: “We listened to what our partners wanted, and designed our new programme around what they value most. Rolling out the Programme worldwide this year marked the start of a whole new approach to the way we grow collectively as a network. The response has been fantastic. We are uniting behind our shared mission of making everyday life easier for our end-users.

“We’ve been blown away by the feedback. Partners appreciate the clearer structure and growth incentives as well as the opportunity to build a consultative relationship with their supplier. We’re helping them to grow their businesses with product and technical training as well as commercial insights, and they’re seeing real results from these added benefits already.”

THIIS: What can dealers expect in 2022?

David: “During the pandemic, listening to the voice of customers became even more important to every business, especially in our sector, where end-users continue to be one of the groups most affected. We have worked hard to make sure we understand how the crisis affects them, and have always done everything we can to support them and our partners.

“Customer expectations have reached a new level and going forward we need to continue to meet and exceed those expectations. Partners and their customers’ attitudes and behaviour have changed, and it’s essential that we change with them to continue to succeed.”

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