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PCBD-May2014

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58 The PCB Design Magazine • May 2014 needed. What if the conversation had instead gone something like this? Clerk: "What are you building with these resistors, sir?" Me: "I'm adding LED lighting to a scale model that I'm building." Clerk: "That sounds interesting. How are you wiring them all up?" Me: "I've already got the wiring diagramed out, but come to think of it, I am very low on solder." Clerk: "I've got that right here on this shelf; how much would you like?" But as it was, I was in such a hurry to get out of her store due to her brashness that I forgot about my need for solder and I ended up buying it elsewhere the next day. Not only was I frustrated by my experience at her store, but she missed the opportu- nity to sell me the additional supplies that I really needed. And more importantly, she failed to build my trust and loyalty and keep me as a re- turning customer. In my role as the custom- er support manager for my company, I have seen plenty of examples of customer sup- port and I am proud of how we serve the needs of our cus- tomers. But my point here is not to focus on customer sup- port as a function of a support technician. Instead, I want to explore the concept of how we should all strive to pro- vide the best level of customer support in our jobs, no matter what we do—whether we are ac- tual support technicians or not. Our customers should not just be the end- users of the products or services that our com- panies provide. Our customers include our co-workers, bosses, cross-department relation- ships, strategic partnerships and even upper- level management. Any time we interact with someone professionally—and yes, even person- ally—we should treat this as a potential custom- er support role. Take the scenario for instance of a co-worker who comes to you with a question on how to do a certain function of the job. You could give them the simple answer and leave it at that, or you could take some extra time and help them to make sure that they understand what you've told them. You could then ensure that once they take this information back to their station that they are successful with it. In other words, you could support them. This kind of relationship between people working together helps to build trust, loyalty, and camaraderie. The benefits to your company of supporting each other like this are immedi- ate; the tasks needing to be done are accom- plished more efficiently and produc- tivity is increased. But there are long-term benefits to this syn- ergy as well. Usually a group of people who have developed trust and loyalty among each other will achieve better re- sults than a group of people who are working towards the same goals as individu- als. Increased creativity is another benefit of trust, and when creativity is encour- aged, a wealth of new ideas and processes become avail- able. When you know that you have co-workers who are willing to go the extra mile for you, that they "have your back," you tend to step out with more confidence in your own job. This kind of confidence can be seen as risky, and therefore people who feel isolated in their jobs may not be willing to take those kinds of risks. But when people feel supported by their co-workers they are usually more will- tim's takeaways Our customers should not just be the end-users of the products or services that our companies provide. Our customers include our co-workers, bosses, cross-department relation- ships, strategic partnerships and even upper-level management. Any time we interact with someone professionally—and yes, even personally—we should treat this as a potential customer support role. " " CuSTOMER SuPPORT continues

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