With so much to talk about today, are you connecting?

Thinking of offering a line of healthier products but you’re not sure it will work? Have a hunch there’s a need for a “value” OCS line but you aren’t sure? Considering a container recycling program but don’t know if it’s worth the trouble?

With the communication tools available today, it’s easier than ever to get feedback on questions like these. Simply ask people via a newsletter, Website and social media posting.

And while you’re at it, tell them about the top sellers in your machines, now that you have item level reporting capability. And all the other exciting things you’re doing.

Communication tools are more available than ever, and there has never been a time with as many things to talk about with existing and prospective customers.The general public is taking note of vending. Newspapers and TV stations are reporting more about vending than ever, with a focus on how we do things better.

But while our public image is improving, too few operators are talking about the positive things they are doing. While products and services are better than ever, few operators bother to make these improvements known to customers and to the communities they serve.

Too many operators believe in the old way of thinking; the best vending service is the service the account manager doesn’t hear about. This is flat-out wrong.

The location manager wants to know the service in his facility is the best available. An operator who is up on everything new is the type of service provider most account managers want.

And don’t forget your other customers – the end users. They want to know what’s new and exciting at the vending bank.

In an article on page 8, consultant Allen Weintraub urges operators to communicate with customers more aggressively. He notes that operators have a lot to talk about today, and he gives specific examples.

The Internet has provided new tools to communicate with customers and the public. Social media is adding even more opportunities.

But we can’t forget the customers who prefer more traditional communication. This is where newsletters come in. One of the big advantages of the traditional newsletter is that it is very convenient – the reader can look at it at his or her leisure.

Any successful business has an ongoing communication program. The investment is not high, and the returns are significant.

Proactive communication efforts serve a dual purpose; to reinforce your message with existing customers and keep your name in front of potential ones.

Besides informing people about the exciting things you are doing, newsletters, Websites and social media postings give service providers an opportunity to get valuable feedback from customers and potential customers.