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36 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2018 trust and respect goes a long way to resolving those issues quickly and easily. Instead of targeting customers based on in- dustry sector, company size or technology, what if we targeted potential customers based on how they like to do business and how they fit in with how we like to do business? Some customers like detailed negotiations, and salespeople who thrive on negotiating price and terms. Some customers don't spend time on those details and want to work with some- one they can trust to run with the program and handle the details; there are salespeople who prefer being a trusted resource and not hav- ing to negotiate all the finer points. There are customers who view business transactionally, and suppliers who do the same. There are cus- tomers who build long-term relationships, and suppliers who see beyond short-term issues and operate with the long-term goals in mind. Hosting a Party The host of a party is ultimately responsible for making sure that their guests are enjoying themselves. Isn't that what we want for our customers too? We want them to have a favor- able, positive experience and do business with us again. Have you ever hosted a party hop- ing your guests would think it was average? Of course not! Have you ever used a football party as a rea- son to go get that big-screen TV? How about serving your guests fancy hors d'oeuvres but- ler-style instead of a traditional buffet? Maybe ha ve live music at the party as a treat when people aren't expecting it? For all of you Geek- A-Palooza attendees, how about the ring toss as an unexpected party game? Aren't these added touches similar to the added value services we like to provide to our customers? Do the add - ed-value services we provide add to the overall customer experience? How can we do better? In the PCB industry, how do we ensure our customers have an unexpectedly positive ex- perience? It is very easy to focus on product, but for this discussion, let's take that out of the equation and assume that high-quality product is delivered on time. What are the other intan- gible things that are important to our custom- ers that could make their job a little easier and provide a chance to really wow them? The success of any event lies in the details. Do we take enough time to dig into the de- tails with our customers? What are the differ- ent touchpoints that our customers have with us? What is important to them? What is the message that we send? Do we make it easy for our customers to share the things that are important to them? Do we put the same level of thought and planning into our customers' experience that we would into hosting and planning an event? Isn't our marketing program similar to invit- ing them to the party? All our communication, from advertising to our website, to customer service, should be consistent and engaging, exactly like an event invitation would be. Working in an industry that manufactures custom products, we naturally place the focus on the product and technology. But, we can't forget the people and that business is built by people interacting with each other. The next time your customer places an order will they ex - perience "the beer is in the fridge, help yourself, I'll be on the couch w atching the game" or will they have an unexpectedly positive experience that they talk about for days to come? PCB007 Tara Dunn is the president of Omni PCB, a manufacturer's rep firm specializing in the printed circuit board industry. To read past columns, or to contact Dunn, click here. There are customers who build long-term relationships, and suppliers who see beyond short-term issues and operate with the long-term goals in mind.

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