Customer care or bust
Taking care of those you do business with is more than sending a holiday card, slicing a discount, or even being close friends. It’s about having a genuine desire to make your customers truly successful. And at Walsh Grain Terminal, they’re doing just that.
As grain merchandiser, Kilen Flanagan serves about 100 growers that haul to Walsh Grain in Park River, North Dakota. That’s 100 phone numbers he keeps track of with 100 hundred names attached to them. With each phone call that comes in, Walsh team members answer questions such as, “What are cash bids at? How much left is in my contract? What is the market?” for 100 growers. It’s not only a lot of information to keep track of, but conveying it all with individual phone calls takes a significant amount of time. This was before Flanagan implemented a solution.
This solution for Walsh entails business insight for growers to commodity balances, what’s left on contracts, how the market is looking, and so much more. The means in which this information comes to the growers? A mobile app— the Walsh Grain Terminal app, powered by Bushel. “I would say it’s been much easier when farmers know what they got in; they’re calling and not asking. They just know a bit more about their business,” says Flanagan.
Word of the Bushel platform caught Flanagan’s attention from one of his board members. “We thought it was a good idea, and a good concept,” says Flanagan. Since joining the Bushel platform in August of 2018, the Walsh Grain app hails a 53% adoption rate amongst its growers.
Getting the Walsh Grain app up and running for the growers of Walsh Grain required planning. With the marketing kit provided by Bushel, Flanagan was able to effectively communicate the roll out of the app. Posters, signs, a website ad, and push notifications through the app were all set in motion to inform the producers of Walsh Grain. These producers have great things to say about the app and are enjoying the functionalities, says Flanagan.
“If our farmers don’t like it, we aren’t going to carry it”
Flanagan speaks towards the popularity of the app, “Making the app user friendly with all the data clean and tidy for farmers has been one of the most useful parts,” says Flanagan. The inclusion of commodity balances in the app has been a favorite amongst Walsh Grain farmers, especially in the accessible format. “Instead of going to Google and plugging in the website, they can just go into the app to see what cash bids are at that day, or what else they want to know,” says Flanagan.
While the Walsh Grain app itself was made for the farmers of Walsh Grain, folks like Kilen working in the elevator have witnessed the impact the app has on their farmers’ success in their own offices. “They just know more. It’s made our jobs easier with guys looking at cash bids and prices more,” says Flanagan. This empowerment of the producers of Walsh Grain is exactly what Flanagan envisioned when enrolling for the app.
“We’re your [Bushel’s] customer, but at the same time the farmer is the customer. They’re the ones that make it sell. If our farmers don’t like it, we aren’t going to carry it,” says Flanagan. Because for grain facilities like Walsh Grain, their farmers truly do come first. “Anything that helps the grower is a benefit to us,” says Flanagan. The help the Walsh Grain app is providing Flanagan’s farmers is arming them to make better business decisions. In today’s markets, little room for error exists in order to come out with a positive margin. By giving farmers a tool to digitally and accurately know where their business information stands, grain facilities like Walsh Grain are taking care of their patrons while gaining a competitive edge for their facility that gives them a leg up on neighboring elevators.
At the end of the day, Flanagan’s decision to bring Bushel to his growers comes back to how Walsh takes care of their customers. To this he says, “Why not serve our customers better and give them the app so they can see what they have?”
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