AIB’s customer partnerships have always gone above and beyond the typical company-customer relationship. The organization’s services do not stop when the audit is finished or when the seminar ends, said Judi Lazaro, director of customer relations at AIB.

“As always, our goal is to remain a solid foundation that our customers can continue to rely on for information and support,” Ms. Lazaro said.

She noted that AIB’s customer relations department has seen “a great deal of activity in the past year” as the AIB has taken on new perspectives and ideas to continuously strengthen its relationships in the food industry.

The ISO program has become “a staple” of AIB’s customer relations department, Ms. Lazaro said. Feedback received from customer surveys and calls have allowed AIB to make modifications and improvements to its systems.

“Our audits are valuable enough as a stand-alone service, but the post-audit follow-up is priceless in allowing us to improve efficiency and promote our customer partnerships across the globe,” she said. Ms. Lazaro said a recent ISO survey showed a 95% approval rating of AIB’s service quality.

Ms. Lazaro said AIB also has been able to deliver valuable, timely technical advice to customers through its Director on Call and Ask an Expert programs.

“Our experienced staff proudly offers ongoing education and assistance to help our customers and the industry as a whole answer questions about food safety, baking, labeling, and other related topics,” she explained. “We also offer a free monthly on-line newsletter and Tip of the Week e-mails to keep our customers updated on the latest food industry information.”

As the food industry has expanded, so too has the importance in providing global support for customers. Ms. Lazaro said webinars have become one of the best and most popular tools for AIB to do this.

“Our web site hosts several recorded webinars, including one about our updated 2013 Consolidated Standards for Inspection and related scoring system,” she said. “We also offer customized webinars based around customer requests and designed to further promote education in the industry.”

Ms. Lazaro said AIB’s link between its headquarters in Manhattan and its customers worldwide continues to be strengthened through reaching out to potential and existing customers to offer assistance, following up on current needs, and keeping them up-to-date on seminars and other learning opportunities in their area.

AIB also continues to improve its systems in other ways, including by partnering with an independent research group to look “outside the box” and gain a fresh perspective, Ms. Lazaro said.

“Seeing things from a different perspective allows us to take a new approach as well,” she said. “In some cases, this means the difference between a satisfied and dissatisfied customer. The independent findings allow us to continue to strive for 100% satisfaction.”

Ms. Lazaro said several AIB customers faced challenges at their facilities when Hurricane Sandy hit. In response, AIB activated its Crisis Intervention Services, and in the weeks following the storm, AIB support staff called facilities in the affected areas to offer complimentary technical support.

“While we hope we don’t have to use Crisis Intervention Services often, we’re ready to offer industry assistance when needed,” Ms. Lazaro said.

As AIB moves forward in 2013, Ms. Lazaro invited customers to share their thoughts and ideas to promote growth.

“We continue to focus on forming customer partnerships and advocating for their needs to promote growth,” she said. “AIB remains a solid foundation our customers rely on for the latest news and industry advice while continuing to grow our own programs to maintain and improve a high level of service and efficiency. Our staff of experts in customer relations strives to ensure that every AIB customer receives consistent, high quality, personal service.”