Case Studies

Hunt Electric Supply Company: Putting Customer Service First

  • Written by: Hunt Electric Supply Company: Putting Customer Service First
  • Produced by: Hunt Electric Supply Company: Putting Customer Service First
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Hunt Electric Supply Company (Hunt) provides central North Carolina contractors with the highest quality name-brand electrical supplies at the best possible value. For three generations and over 60 years, Hunt has set a high standard for customer service by maintaining a network of physical locations where clients receive more than just their orders.

Hunt’s team of experienced, knowledgeable professionals can direct customers toward the most cost-effective, energy-efficient products on the market, helping to keep customers and electrical systems ahead of the curve for both regulatory concerns and sustainability benchmarks. Above all, Hunt employees challenge one another to provide the level of customer service that creates loyal clients for a lifetime.

“We’re proud to be family-owned, because it gives our business a personalized feel and the ability to simply provide a better service than the competition,” asserts Sam Hunt IV, president and third generation owner of Hunt. Sam’s current operation maintains a 70,000-square foot distribution center and headquarters in Burlington, N.C., as well as a network of eight full-service branch locations within an hour’s drive of the distribution center.

All eight locations maintain a diverse inventory of staple items purchased every day by commercial, industrial and residential contractor customers. Hunt’s selection has recently been expanded with a wide array of energy-efficient products and retrofit kits designed to make the upgrade process worry-free. Hunt even set up the Green Zone at its Burlington headquarters to display the latest energy-saving products, including compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs, occupancy sensors and energy-saving fixtures and ballasts.

On Hand at Any Hour

“We stock a variety of hard-to-find items at our distribution center so we can guarantee next-day supply,” explains Sam. The alternative would be to place an order directly with the manufacturer, which might take several weeks to arrive. As far as Hunt is concerned, that’s time the client, the project and Hunt employees could put to better use.

The inventories of all eight Hunt locations are replenished daily and large orders are usually furnished directly through the company’s distribution center so as not to deplete local supply. Hunt also maintains a fleet of over 30 vehicles for speedy deliveries.

“We like to say, let’s get our customers to buy from us, be glad they did and [have them] want to come back and buy again, and if they have great experiences working with us, we will become their preferred supplier; that’s our goal,” asserts Sam. As a result, Hunt locations offer a number of services that many competing distributors simply can’t provide. In addition to out-of-stock services, Hunt has an experienced sales force and a project sales center to handle the large contractor projects from bid day to successful completion.

“Over time the company has streamlined operations to keep the team focused on the customer, which is what matters most,” says Sam. “Our Burlington office takes care of all the receivables, payables, inventory management and most administrative functions so that our sales employees can simply focus on the customer.”

As a result, the employees of each location serve as the eyes and ears of the company. When customers started inquiring about energy-efficient products, Hunt responded swiftly, reinforcing its product line and educating employees on the latest energy-saving products. The company also invested internally to offer clients lighting design services to take the guesswork out of a major system upgrade or retrofit. “However, we found that our most successful marketing tool continues to be our sales counters, especially when it comes to energy-saving products,” says Sam.

Clients can consult Hunt employees to determine which products will be most effective given a project’s design and budgetary parameters. “The energy-saving segment of our business continues to grow,” explains Hunt. “Certain items like the T-12 light bulbs are being phased out in favor of more energy-efficient products, but realistically there are fixtures everywhere you look that could be replaced with energy-saving alternatives.”

“We are consistently ranked in the largest 200 electrical distributors in the country, so we can serve any customer’s need and yet we are small enough to appreciate our relationship,” says Sam proudly. To note, Hunt has been a member of Affiliated Distributors since 1983 and today shares a collective buying relationship with over 500 member distributors with annual sales of over $23 billion.

“After all these years in business, we know that our success continues to depend on our two main assets: quality employees and loyal customers,” says Sam. This mindset will allow Hunt Electric Supply Company to continually inch closer to becoming the industry’s leader.

Published on: March 16, 2013

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