Friday, January 23, 2009

Telcare Targets Firearms Industry

Last week in Orlando, Florida, I attended the 2009 Shot Show, the firearm's industry once a year opportunity for manufacturers to show their wares to distributors and dealers.

I met with representatives from some of the industry's leaders including Remington, Glock, Taurus, Magnum Research, GAMO/BSA Optics, Benelli, Savage Arms, Springfield Armory, Heckler & Koch, Kahr Arms, Trijicon, Tapco, and Stag Arms. We discussed the importance of product research in the form of shooter satisfaction surveys to determine what their existing customers like and don't like about their products. This key feedback will give them the data they need to market through customer retention efforts, a significantly less expensive marketing method than traditional advertising. We also talked about the need for customer service ratings surveys to determine their customers' level of satisfaction with the service they receive when they call these companies with questions and problems. "This research data is exactly what the industry needs to improve consumer satisfaction and increase profitability," said Vince Abrams, Director of Marketing for GAMO OUTDOORS USA, Inc.

I was also delighted to spend time with Shari LeGate, a highly respected, award-winning, industry consultant and Senior Contributing Editor to FMG Publications, which publishes Shooting Industry Magazine. Ms. LeGate is widely known for her insight into the firearms marketplace, but has an important specialty in marketing to the ever-growing women's market. Ms. LeGate shared with me her views on the importance of customer retention, especially in the women's market, as eloquently discussed in her article, Selling to Women, in Shooting Industry's January 2009 issue.

Due to many political and social factors, the industry had a massive growth spurt in 2008. It is my opinion that in order to maintain that growth, individual manufacturers need to take their customer's pulse. Our firearms product and customer service satisfaction surveys would provide these manufacturers with the critical shooter feedback they need to take advantage of this large increase in demand. What is my main message to the manufacturer's? Buying from you once is NOT an indication that they will buy from you again. Find out what those indications are and you will have a customer for life.

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