Time to Market: Customer Service is Still the Key

“Quick and dirty” used to be both a popular expression and philosophy in our industry. It meant that when you wanted it fast, what you got is what you got. There was another term we used, GIGO, which translated to “garbage in, garbage out.” This was actually a cousin of “quick and dirty” and was used to permit PCB suppliers a pass on quality and customer service as long as they got the product out quickly. Speed was all that mattered in those days, which, of course, caused all sorts of headaches.

Now thankfully, times have changed and fast time to market is not an excuse to skimp on quality, technology or customer service. In fact, great customer service is more important than it has ever been, especially when it comes to quick turn-around orders.

With so many companies now offering good, fast turn-around services, this has become a highly competitive field, which means that the best way to make your company outstanding is to deliver great customer service.

With all the passion, effort, and customer-vendor cooperation that it takes to deliver a complete assembly in a matter of days, the worst thing that can happen is to spoil that effort with poor customer service. That’s why great customer service is now as an important attribute to the time to market experience as delivering the product on time and even ahead of schedule.

Actually, in many cases, poor customer service can completely wreck the customer’s experience even if you’ve completed the hard work of getting the completed process in their hands-on time. Here are some chilling statistics to back it up:

  • It takes 12 good customer experiences to make up for one bad customer experience
  • 51% of customers will never do business with you again after just one bad customer experience
  • 92% of customers will leave forever after two or three negative experiences
  • It costs 10–20 times more to gain a new customer than to retain one

Are you ready to talk about great customer serviced yet? Good! Here are a few guidelines for delivering great customer service no matter what kind of company you are.

  1. Know you customers, have a complete understanding of what they need from you and then deliver it.
  2. Anticipate their needs. If you have a good working relationship with your customers after a while you will be able to share in the direction they are heading and anticipate their needs so that you not only meet their needs today, but in the future as well.
  3. Great customer service is a culture. You have to instill the passion for delivering great customer experiences in all members of your team. Allow your employees the latitude to deliver great customer service. In fact, reward them for delivering great customer service. Like the saying goes, catch them doing something great for your customers and reward them for it.
  4. Always be seeking ways to go above and beyond the call of duty. Find and focus on ways to “wow” your customers. Look for opportunities to impress your customers at all times.
  5. Care about the future success of your customers because, in the end, their success will become your success. Learn more about them, their marketplace, and what it takes for them to be successful. Then, do your part to help them to be successful.
  6. Find ways to create great customer loyalty. Based on the facts I stated above, there is no doubt that customer retention is the backbone to a successful business. And the best way to assure strong customer retention is to create avid customer loyalty. Customers will remain loyal to companies that deliver service at a level far beyond their expectations. The very best way to develop strong customer loyalty is to deliver a customer experience that is so above and beyond their expectations that they will never want to leave you. No matter what.

Always remember that your customers will remember and focus on the level of service they received long after they remember the price that they paid. The company that consistently delivers a great customer experience will be the customer that rises above the throng of mediocre competitors who are fighting for business with the only weapon they have: price.

The best thing about always delivering a great customer experience is that all you need to deliver that experience is the exact same things you’re already doing to make your company so successful.

I don’t think anybody ever went out of business delivering great customer experience. Even in our very competitive time to market world, great customer service is the most important thing of all.

Imran Valiani is an account manager at Rush PCB. He can be reached at imran@rushpcb.com.



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