September 20, 2004
Hi, welcome back.
Customer service is much more than getting the order
and shipping on time. It's only one of the battles
in winning customers. To win the competitive war for
“supplier of choice”, a company must provide superior
Technology will get most customers interested in your
product or service. Price and availability will enter
into the first buy decision. But when it comes to the
most important requisite in a customer satisfaction
initiative, "Customer Connectivity" is the focus of
If your company has not yet to achieve six sigma (more
about six sigma in a future bulletin)in its pursuit
of customer satisfaction, you'll want to be sure to
read this week's bulletin.
Have a nice day, keep the faith, and stay connected.
Business Basics, LLC
BEST MANUFACTURING PRACTICES BULLETIN
Now serving over 6261 subscribers
Competitive Knowledge for Manufacturing People
How to Provide Superior Customer Service.
The reality of customer responsiveness is in the eyes
of the beholder - the customer. The sooner we realize
and accept our customers' perceptions of our products
and services as reality, and accept it as our
challenge, the sooner we will earn their confidence
and become their permanent supplier of choice.
Customer connectivity represents a set of business
processes touching on all aspects of the company.
Customer satisfaction is a great deal more than the
clichés "getting close to customers" and the motto
"the customer is always right". Since some companies
sell to a variety of customers with varying and even
conflicting desires and needs, the goal of getting
close to the customers, and the motto that "the
customer is always right", are somewhat vague.
We have also found no meaningful business philosophy
in the terms "market driven" and "customer oriented".
Most business gurus use the phrases interchangeably
and have difficulty in defining and communicating
their scope and meaning. Successful business leaders
go beyond these clichés and strive to provide their
selected customers with products and services under
the business philosophy of Customer Connectivity.
Because different customers have different needs, a
company cannot effectively satisfy this wide range of
needs equally. The most important strategic decision
in the pursuit of Customer Connectivity is to choose
the most important customers. All customers are
important, but invariably some are more important than
others. Collaboration among the various functions is
important when pinpointing key target accounts and
This done, sales people know whom to call on first and
most often, the people who schedule production runs
know who gets favored treatment; those who make service
calls know who rates special attention. If the
priorities are not made clear in the calm of planning
meetings, they certainly won't be when the sales,
production scheduling and service dispatching processes
Customer connectivity starts with customer selection
however, the next phase is just as important. Company
executives must gain a thorough understanding of
their customers' buying influences and their relevant
needs. Such customer information must be communicated
by these executives beyond the sales and marketing
functions and permitted to "permeate every business
function" - the R&D and design engineers, manufacturing
folks, quality people and field-service specialists.
When these technologists, for example, get unvarnished
feedback on the way customers use their products, they
can better develop improvements on the products and the
production processes. If, on the other hand, market
people predigest the information, technologists may
miss opportunities for improvements.
Customer connectivity must be predicated on team
dynamics and commitment. Serial communications, when
one department passes an idea or request to another
routinely, without interaction can't build the team
dynamics and commitment needed for Customer
Connectivity. Successful new products don't, for
example, emerge out of a process in which marketing
sends a set of specifications to R&D; R&D sends the
conceptual design to design engineering which sends
finished blueprints and designs to manufacturing.
But joint design/development reviews and decision-
making, in which customer and supplier functional and
divisional people share ideas and discuss alternative
solutions and approaches, leverages the different
strengths of each party. Powerful internal and external
connections make new product development communications
clear, coordination strong and commitment high.
Establishing effective business relationships with key
customer personnel is paramount to making it easy for
customers to do business with your company. From the
shop floor to the front office, we must establish "one-
on-one" customer communications that provide real-time
customer input relative to business relations, product
performance, and field service. We must convert these
communications to action plans and put forth our best
effort to quickly resolve all issues.
Let's remember that being nice to people is just 20% of
providing good customer service. The important part is
designing systems that allow you to do the job right the
first time. All the smiles in the world are not going to
help you if your products or service are unsatisfactory.
Individual and team direct-line communications with
customers is the best approach to obtaining timely
and relevant "how are we doing" feedback from customers.
Customer satisfaction surveys are tedious, possibly
supplier biased and not very accurate in their customer
service portrayal. We prefer a "one-on-one" customer
stay current on bullet-proofed manufacturing solutions,
subscribe to our free
ezine, "The Business Basics and Best Practices Bulletin."
Simply fill in the below form and click on the subscribe button.
also send you our free Special
Report, "Five Change
Initiatives for Personal and Company Success."
personal information will never
be disclosed to any third party.
Manufacturing leaders have a responsibility to educate and train their team members. Help for developing a self-directed, World Class Manufacturing training program for your people is just a click away:
You are welcomed to print and share this bulletin with your manufacturing teams, peers, suppliers and upper management ... better yet, have them signup for their own copy at:
With the escalating spam-wars, it's also a good idea to WHITELIST our bulletin mailing domain via your filtering software or control panel:
This will help guarantee that your bulletin is never deleted unexpectedly.
Manufacturing Knowledge you’ll not find at offsite
seminars nor in the books at Amazon.com
Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard
ISO 9000:2000 - Strategic Planning - Supply Chain
Management - MRP Vs Lean Exercises - Kaizen Blitz
Lean Six Sigma - Value Stream Mapping
All at one Website: Good Manufacturing Practices
(Click on any subject below):
Your company can reach
its full potential in all aspects of the business. All you need is
the right knowledge and training. You will find much of it it
here, at the Business Basics' Website:
The MRP vs Lean Mfg. Exercises
Your-Company" Workshops and Forums
e-Knowledge for anyone ... anywhere ... anytime
Business Basics, LLC
6003 Dassia Way, Oceanside, CA 92056
West Coast: 760-945-5596