By Mark Porter
It has always been important to treat every customer as if they are your best customer. These days it is even more important that all customers are handled with the greatest of care.
There is no room for error because there is always another company down the street willing to pounce on your mistakes.
Great customer service does many good things
1. Avoid embarrassing Mistakes that lose Customers
2. Avoid re-doing work that costs you money
3. Avoid Production Delays that cost money and miss deadlines
4. Fends off competition that is willing to do a job for slightly less than your price.
The problem is that part of great customer service is knowing all the different details on how a customer likes to operate. What we call the Customer Profile.
This is often a knowledge base accumulated in a CSR or owner's head that cannot be easily dispersed to other members of your staff.
Samples of this type of information are:
Must have PO to Start Job
Must provide 2 samples to President
No Deliveries after 5pm, must use their truck
Dies for Bobst Press must use 3pt rule, Birch Board, Red Rhino Rubber
Never more than 35lbs per carton
Always Wrap skids
By making this knowledge base accessible to all staff members it means that Good Customer Service is not dependant on the availability of one person.
When a database of this knowledge or Customer Profile is accumulated it can be accessed by:
Estimating - Ensuring they have all details at the beginning of the estimate avoids embarrassing extra charges or worse additional costs you can't get back when the job is produced.
Order Entry - Access to the Customer Profile when a job is opened ensures production has a solid foundation to produce a profitable job. Changes to jobs once production begins leads to costs, production delays and missed deadlines.
Production - Production Employee access to the Customer Profile allows staff to make educated decisions on situations that occur in non office hours or when the CSR or owner are not available.
Administration - Office Staff can work with clients in terms of samples, deliveries invoices etc exactly as the customer demands.
Sales - Your knowledge base of customers can be a sales tool to gain more customers. When you do your plant tours and show prospects the equipment and employees that will produce their jobs, show a sample of the knowledge base and help support your claims of quality and customer service.
Companies find the Customer Profiling so important that the knowledge base is employee and date stamped whenever a change is made to it. This provides complete accountability to your customer service process.
Accumulating Customer Profile Information and making it accessible throughout your company leads to accumulating Customer Profits.