Getting to Know Sakata Seed America
First impressions can make or break a relationship. That is why we want our customers’ first experience with Sakata Seed America to be a positive one. We believe that good impressions are the result of giving the very best we have to offer—every time.
The customer service team at Sakata is the frontline of our business because they take this belief to heart. They strive for excellence in providing quality customer service the first time they work with customers and every time thereafter. Our customer service representatives do a lot more than merely answer phones. The customers they work with on a day-to-day basis are more to them than just disembodied voices thousands of miles away. Representatives provide customers with the information they need to help them make the proper product selections for their particular geographic needs. They can also help them get in touch with product and area managers for in-depth information.
Customer service representatives handle accounts throughout North America and Canada. Each representative works with a set group of distributors on a regular basis. They strive to build long-lasting client relationships based on trust and good communication. Representatives are cross-trained in all of the different markets so customers get the same superior service every time, even if their regular representative is unavailable. Team members also have a global perspective on the company because they support Sakata’s subsidiaries in Europe, South America, Mexico, Central America, Africa and Asia.
Working with Distributors
Much of the work our customer service representatives do is with our distributors. They guide and assist the distributor purchasing agents with orders and are responsible for expediting the products to the distributors and/or their customers. Building strong relationships with distributors is of primary importance to the team. First-rate communication is a critical part of these relationships. Representatives keep in constant contact with distributors, informing them about the products they are interested in and regularly updating them on the status of their contracts. Team members also keep each other apprised of new developments concerning seed health, new products, and supply versus demand, this information is then passed on to clients.
Supply versus demand can be a big issue in the seed business where pests, diseases and the weather can affect production. Customer service representatives make sure they keep distributors up to date on the status of the products they have ordered. When problems do arise, representatives try to be solution oriented and come up with a win-win situation for everyone. They are dedicated to doing everything they can to meet customers’ needs.
The team knows that listening to customers is an important part of serving them and meeting their expectations. During their monthly meetings, the team evaluates customer feedback to determine how to build on the positives and improve in other areas. They see this feedback as a way to fine-tune the quality of their service.
Keeping customers happy is one of the most rewarding parts of the customer service team’s work. They want clients to have all of the tools they need to be successful with Sakata’s products. “We want our customers to know that we are responsive, that they can contact us and we will respond,” says Allen Satterlee, customer service manager for vegetable seed. “Our response is usually to come up with a win-win situation for everyone, and we have a great team for making that happen.”
Meet Allen Satterlee, Vegetable Seed Customer Service Manager
Allen knows Sakata Seed America well, having been with us for the last fourteen years. He gained much of his customer service experience early on while working for a small, family owned nursery. He then moved on to selling plants for larger nurseries prior to working for Sakata.
Allen always enjoys personally visiting with customers on the phone, or when possible, in the field. He is happy to answer questions and direct them towards the experts who can best meet their needs. He gets great satisfaction from keeping customers happy and hearing positive feedback from them. “Coming up with a win-win situation for a customer is very gratifying,” Allen says. “Our team will absolutely do everything within our power to make that happen for our customers. We have some wonderful thinkers on our team who are very solution-oriented. ”