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34 SMT007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2018 guy sliding the panels may not be as customer- centric as he could be or should be. Williams: I think there's an aspect to that, in that scenario of the drill room. They're drill- ing panels and they're feeding the plating department. They've only got one customer. They have one internal customer that's going to get their product when they're done, but the dynamics between those two departments certainly influences that cooperation. That customer-supplier relationship is the same, whether you're talking about internal depart- ments, raw material suppliers to your orga- nization or between you and your external customer. I think the rules of engagement are the same with all those levels throughout the supply chain. Andy Shaughnessy: How far would you go to please a customer? Williams: It's interesting. I had that conversation recently with one of my PCB clients. They were talking about all this business they inherited and picked up when one of their competitors went out of business recently. The owner said, "You know, I guess we kind of know why they went out of business now." All these custom- ers have low-level products, low technology, low quantities, but they're probably some of the most demanding customers of their entire customer base. The top customer, from a reve- nue standpoint, I mean they can be as nasty as they want to be and you're still going to treat them and bend over backwards to satisfy them. It all depends on how good of a fit they are for your organization, and what those rules are going to be in dealing with that customer. And it all comes down to money, right? Right now, though we're coming off some decline in the industry, people were filling up their shops with whatever work they could find. Now that they're starting to get busier, a lot of the people I've talked to are starting to purge some of those customers that they needed last year just to keep their head above water. And now that they've got some more preferred custom- ers, they're no longer a good fit. So, I think that all kind of goes under the same bucket. Matties: Being able to know how to define your customer, I think, is critically important. Williams: Yes, that's a good point. Again, for the most part, a lot of companies know what a good fit is, but sometimes they're forced into taking business that they wouldn't otherwise take. Matties: What is your advice to our readers when it comes to customer service? Williams: To me, if I'm read- ing something like we're talk- ing about now, the takeaway I'd be looking for is how I will provide that service level that my customers are demanding. What's important to them? It's all about understanding what the customer's needs are and analyzing if we are currently providing that or not—and how do we adjust if we're not? Whether that's an internal depart- ment hand-off, dealing with your supplier or your customer, it's understanding what they expect out of you as a supplier or a customer, and if you are giving it to them. When I talk about customer service, I always use the automotive example. We've all gone into a dealership to have some work done, right? And you go to pick your vehicle up, and they tell you, "Hey, someone's going to call you in a day or so and ask you to take a quick on-the-phone survey." Then they tell you that, "You know what? It's going to look really bad for me if you don't give me a 10 all the way across the board." That kind of information makes you question all the customer service awards that the dealership has hanging in their lobby, because you know that they're influenc- ing how customers are reacting. And they do Steve Williams, The Right Approach Consulting LLC

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