Customer Service in the Forest Products Industry

About this Workshop:

Many individuals that are hired into customer service positions in the forest products industry have very little background in the industry or have never been trained in good customer service attributes. Research has shown that customer service can be a very strong differentiation factor when selling commodity products such as lumber, building products, or paper. Those attending this short course will learn about the hardwood lumber industry and markets, the softwood building products industry and markets, and factors affecting both of these markets. Participants will learn how to work with customers, other sales personnel, and their own communication style. Personal selling and the importance of customer service will be discussed. They will be evaluated on their own customer service style and identify where their strengths and areas of improvement are.

Topics Covered:

  • The Hardwood Lumber Industry: An overview of hardwood lumber manufacturing, lumber grades, products, important markets, and where to find information on those markets.
  • The Softwood and Building Products Industry: An overview of softwood lumber manufacturing and products, the structural panels market, and the new engineered wood products entering the market. Where to find information on these markets will also be identified.
  • Product Overview: A description of major forest products and their uses will be discussed.
  • Market Trends: Major factors such as certification, international trade, and substitute products that affect solid wood markets will be described.
  • What Makes a Good Customer Service Representative: The traits of a good customer service representative will be presented and discussed. Individuals will take a self-evaluation of their strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Effective Phone Use: In the forest products industry, most sales and sales support occurs on the telephone. This session will describe use and time management of the phone.
  • Working with Salespeople: This session will discuss how to support the sales force with good record keeping, open communication, and servicing their customers.
  • Working with Customers: This session describes how to feel positive when working with customers, encouraging feedback, listening skills, how to properly respond to customers, and develop long-term relationships.
  • Communication Skills to Assist in Customer Support: This session will evaluate the communication process and how good communication is the foundation to strong customer service.
  • Staying Positive in Customer Service: Customers like to deal with positive people. The customer will return if the sales experience was positive. The customer service person can help sales and retain customers with a positive attitude. This session will share some proven ways to stay positive during the selling process.
  • Time Management for the Customer Service Representative: By evaluating how we manage our time, we can spend more time servicing those customers that bring the most revenue to our company.