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FEBRUARY 2018 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 41 • The Cheers experience: someone who knows their name. A person's name is one of the sweetest sounds he'll ever hear. If you use a customer's name when you talk to him, it indicates that you have taken the time to acknowledge and remember him. • Flexibility. Customers hate to hear the words "No" or "It can't be done," especially in today's challenging economic environment. While it's not always possible to say "yes," it is extremely important to be as flexible as you can and tell them what you "can" do. • Recovery. When things go wrong, and we all know they will, customers want you to solve their problems quickly. No excuses or blame; just present solutions. Customers often judge the quality of your product or service by the way you recover and not from the actual issue. Internal Customers This list of what customers want applies just as much to internal customers as it does to ex- ternal ones. Internal customers are the most overlooked and underappreciated group of in- terested parties of all. Internal customers can be found in every function of the company: the customer service representative that hands off the new order to their production custom- er, the drilling department that provides pan- els to their plating customer, or the quality de- partment that services a plant full of custom- ers. Every single person in an organization is both a supplier and a customer. Understand- ing the needs of internal customers is just as important as understanding the needs of your paying customers. How you treat your internal customers will have the same positive or neg- ative impact on your relationship as with your external customers. Perception is Reality Whether measuring satisfaction to your in- ternal or external customers, you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Am I measur- ing my performance accurately?" (Figure 2) How many times do we see a company promot- ing itself as being a world-class manufacturer of widgets, or as having been voted best-in- class in customer service? Who voted? Again, the "truth in advertising" dilemma. What often happens is a Dilbert cartoon in the making; a group of senior managers get together and de- clare, "You know, we do a pretty respectable job in our business; let's begin marketing our- selves as world-class." I recently had this very discussion with some friends regarding customer service at automo- tive dealerships. During checkout after some recent mechanical work, the agent told me that I would be receiving a call from the customer service department with a quick phone survey regarding my experience. He then said to me, "The questions will be on a 1−5 scale, and if I receive anything less than a 5 on a question I'll catch hell from my boss, so I would really ap- preciate 5s across the board." One thing is for sure: whether you give the kid all 5s or sub- consciously rate him harsher than you should, the survey is tainted. Makes you question all the customer service awards hanging on the showroom walls! What is value? In understanding our customers, one of the first questions that needs to be answered is "what are we providing that is of value to our customers?" And the first mistake that organizations make is trying to answer this question themselves. This question can only be answered by the customer (remember the whole perception is reality thing?) and any answer that is not directly correlated to customer input will not improve your ability Figure 2: What do you see in the mirror and is it real?

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