How Hammer Nutrition Scaled Their Ethos of Great Customer Service Across Their Dealers
Hammer Nutrition is an endurance sports nutrition company founded in 1987 by Brian Frank. They provide products, knowledge, and service to health-conscious athletes all over the world. Their product line has grown from fuels & supplements to now include clothing and body care products.
They have been using Myagi since the start of 2018 to help drive product knowledge and brand insight directly to the frontline associates representing their brand on the shop. Hammer are delivering the toolkit their partners need to troubleshoot fueling difficulties and build loyal customers, helping them to add a new avenue for customer development across the store, through a true understanding of nutrition and the opportunity it represents.
Proud History of Customer Service
Education has always been one of the core values of Hammer Nutrition. In fact, owner Brian Frank used to give free consultation to customers when he launched his original 2 products over 30 years ago. From dealing mainly in direct-to-consumer market in the early years, Hammer developed a strong customer service culture that they rightly pride themselves on today. As Loren Mason-Gere, Dealer Services & Education Specialist at Hammer Nutrition puts it, ‘’Until someone had bought the products, correctly used them, been happy with it, and returned a happy customer to repurchase, the job wasn't really done. That was truly the core tenet, and that has always existed very strongly and fluidly on the customer-direct side of the business’’.
When Hammer started to grow in popularity, the need to offer a business to business model became apparent. With their products now being sold and represented by sales associates of other businesses, the concern for Hammer was that their stellar customer service reputation could be diluted by sales associates who were not familiar with their brand and it’s commitment to great service. There was also a continuous need to educate accounts around what value nutrition as a whole could add to their store as this could often be confused. As the best-selling nutrition brand for decades, Hammer took it upon themselves to set the bar for dealer education.
‘’We didn’t want all the hard work we had put into creating great customer experiences with Hammer either in our store or over the phone to be lost in our retailers’’ continues Loren, ‘’we wanted to find ways we could evolve and better serve our retailers so that they were willing to engage in education around our products and could offer great customer experiences, whilst truly understanding the sector of nutrition and how it could work for them’’.
It has always been important to Hammer that retailers do not get overwhelmed or distracted by the plethora of new products that enter the market creating a sense of novelty that very swiftly dies out:
''The more that paradigm grows, the more important it is that we teach retailers how to sell high quality, reliable products as an actual system so as to generate regular, repeat customers year round. The constant influx of “new stuff,” which often fails to generate repeat sales has left many shops with the impression that there is something wrong with the sports nutrition category as a whole. That’s just not the case- it’s about doing it right with a brand that can support you the best. For us, that support includes keeping our retailers up to date on our own product launches and innovations. Myagi allows us to communicate that sort of news directly to retail employees.”
To address this, Hammer understood the value of moving their training to easy to access online platforms. Originally existing within a closed Facebook group, Hammer first started distributing training materials through a closed group through something they named the ‘Fueling Expert’ programme. The programme worked well for Hammer whilst they were operating in smaller numbers but the need to scale up the process became apparent as Hammer’s successes continued.
‘’It was very time and labor intensive. We’re making all those pieces of training in various different outside capacities. We’re loading them up. It was clunky. We have to monitor that Facebook group, and it was expensive because we were paying folks with product and there was no analytics to see how everything was performing overall...so that was the shortcoming. We'd been on the lookout for a solution to scale this up for some time’’
Hammer’s commitment to the category of Nutrition was and continues to be truly admirable. With the amount of new and novel products entering the marketplace, Hammer is continually looking for ways of supporting and teaching retailers how to sell nutrition as an actual system that generates regular, repeat customers year round. The need for a solution that could help foster and spread this message was important for Hammer when considering any change in their education initiatives.
Hammer came across Myagi in a trade magazine in 2017 and were pleased to find that many of their core national accounts were already engaging with the platform;
That was a big thing for us. We managed to leverage Myagi to get some of these accounts more involved with our products. We needed a solution that was easy for retailers to get involved in and free for them, and startup needed to be pretty easy for our accounts. We could also now separate out our training based on who stocked what, give it to some folks and not to others. And we also found with Myagi we didn’t have to go from 0-60 and get promised a load of activity for a huge upfront cost. It matters to me that you can build as you go and expand the number of doors we reach as we grow and pay accordingly’’.
Loren’s hard work in preparation coupled with the content and contacts readily available to Hammer Nutrition through the ‘Feuling Expert’ programme, meant the launch was a huge success. Almost straight after launch, using Myagi’s sharelinks feature and engaging directly with those enrolled on the Feuling Expert programme, Loren managed to deliver training materials to over 250 of their retail partners almost instantly. Loren: ‘’So as soon as we were ready, they were ready. We just linked them up and they took off. So that was a whole bunch of doors all at once, that share-ability was a helpful feature’’
Hammer’s approach to content is very authentic and genuine. Composing of a mix of videos, presentations and PDF’s, the variety of content allows them to ensure sales associates have a range of ways to learn and gives the chance for some really personal ‘behind the brand’ type videos that connect the sales associates more deeply to Hammer’s vision. Learning from feedback received on their content, Loren set about creating more personal videos, shot on iPhone, introducing their retail partners to himself, the company owner and even the office dog!
It's very genuine, and it is genuine at the expense of being polished, for sure. We've always used our sponsored athletes that we highlight in there as well...it tells more of an organic story and is designed to be very invitational and welcoming in nature. You too can be this person. You are this person. So the idea of doing kind of rough cut videos or whatever that’s just welcoming people and it’s kind of a little bit more open. I want to shoot individuals. I want there to be a video of every person on my team on there so that no matter who you're—if you’re in a shop in any region, the possibility is high that you can seem like, “Oh, I’ve talked to that person on the phone”
With a truly personal and co-operative approach to training, Hammer have managed to create an engaging, stimulating and supportive training programme for their dealers and their staff.
‘’When retailers do nutrition right, they make serious money. We can help any shop make that happen. Given the exceedingly competitive retail climate we face, maximizing those sales and education opportunities is increasingly important for all of our partners. It can be a hugely lucrative component to any store, and we also have business policies that make it literally risk-free to have Hammer product in your store. If you want to make nutrition work for your shop, get involved with Hammer’’.
The results speak for themselves and we look forward to supporting Hammer in their continued quest to create brilliant customer experience for every consumer using engaging with their product. At the time of writing, over 500 hours of training have been completed on Hammer Nutrition content, and they rank as the brand with the most engagement amongst their competitors.
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