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Customers of the Encon Group can now access their accounts online.

Distribution giant the Encon Group has launched what is believed to be the most sophisticated etrade tool in the industry to date.

etrade24-7 attracted over 100 registrations from specialist insulation and interiors sub-contractors in its first week of launch alone, with further enhancements due later this year and demand expected to continue to grow.

The free online customer service portal was two years in research and development after surveys and feedback revealed customers wanted 24-7 access to their accounts with Encon Insulation and specialist distributor of interior building products Nevill Long.

The concept was then trialled over several months with customers including CGB Humbertherm and phase 1 “My Account” and “My Orders” - now launched directly and via website video to the market, with phase 2 “My Products/Ordering Online” due for roll-out later this year.

Encon believe it can benefit all of their account-based customers who had expressed a collective wish in the surveys to work more flexibly with their distribution partner to reflect the fact that business is rarely 9-5 these days.

Consequently, the “My Account” section gives them detailed information on past transactions and payments. They can see live statements of their accounts and download copy invoices and credit notes for their files. The “My Orders” section enables them to review live orders and manage up and coming deliveries, while also reviewing and analysing past orders for content and to help forward planning.

The My Products/Ordering online section will allow them to order products from their personal price agreement portfolio, find out product details through the info button and place orders straight into the group's order processing system for a delivery to meet their needs to the address of their choice.

Reliant only on an Internet connection, the potentially paperless service can be securely accessed from office, site or home and by any customer with log-in details. In addition, the availability of information can be tailored to each user log-in so that, for example, purchasing managers could have complete access while accounts administrators could only have access to “My Account”.

Encon Group commercial development manager Nick Lankester said: “We listened to customer demand and created a programme we feel will hugely complement and extend the service we give to our customers. We have ambitions to become the distributor of choice for all our customers and believe that etrade24-7 moves us towards that goal.”

He emphasised etrade24-7 was just another way of working, albeit a revolutionary one, and that customers without Internet access would continue to work with Encon as they always had. Neither had the service been designed to be labour-saving for Encon. 

“We understand that face-to-face and telephone contact is vital to delivering outstanding customer service. We are simply giving those customers who would like this additional dimension more freedom to manage how they interact with us,” he said.

CGB Humbertherm's head of purchasing Richard Staves is one of three people within the company who has access to the service.

He said: “We worked closely with Encon to develop the software and it is very much designed for the end-user rather than the supplier. I can't pick any faults with it at the moment. We still have a daily relationship with our local branch but we needed accessibility after hours and that is what etrade24-7 has delivered, in a very user-friendly format. Everything we need is online and live.”

He added: “As far as we are aware it is the only concept of its kind in the insulation industry but I am sure others will follow suit. It is definitely the next step forward.”

For more information on etrade24-7 please view the 90-second video on www.encon.co.uk/etrade24-7 or www.nevilllong.co.uk/etrade24-7.


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