See past CSC Edge issues here!
We have all been through trying times over the last months and now in some cases can actually begin to see some improvements in the supply chain of parts and equipment. However, it seems like some of the strict health protocols may continue and that could change the marketplace once again. Now we are faced with a continuing game of playing catch up and at the same time we must do our best to handle our customers professionally no matter what the future might hold for all of us. How we do that is a key factor in determining our future relationships with many of our customers. Like you, I have been in touch with service companies and contractors and the way they handle my requests help me determine the image I have of that company, perhaps forever. Let's just look at some of the simple things we can do to save, recover, and retain as much business as possible.
First of all, stay in touch with your customers even if there is a long wait time on parts or equipment. Just an update can be good news to some. If possible don't say the part will take 12 weeks, then leave the customer in the dark all that time. If you don't try to stay in touch somehow many customers will just get frustrated and look elsewhere. If you see general positive or negative changes in availability just keep the customer posted even if there is some bad news. You should try to watch their order for them and periodically advise the customer with a status update, so you don't lose track of their order and at the same time continue to show your customer you are aware of the status of their order.
Always return phone calls. Customers may become a pest with repeated calls on the same concern, but always get back to them as fast as possible. You never know what that call might be about. If they don’t get a response from their call they will be forced to go elsewhere and end up with a bad overall impression of your Company. No call back is assumed to be bad news. We always have to remember that in most cases the customer has very little idea what is wrong and certainly has no idea how to fix the problem or what it will actually take to fix their problem. Communicating with everyone promptly at times like this is the key to help level out the ups and downs. Sometimes just being a caring person can be rewarding for both you and your customer.
Always show interest in the customers problems no matter how busy you are. I have heard responses that , "We are booked out three months out and can't even look at the work right now". Just a simple statement that you wish you could help them now would help ease the reality of the repair turn-around time that they are probably facing. Try to take the time to understand what the customer really needs and perhaps even figure out if there is a temporary fix that might buy some time until you can actually get around to actually fixing their problem.
Let me give you an example. I have a dryer that has some kind of misting feature for some reason and it began misting water all the time even when the machine was not running. I called a repair company and someone called me back, spent a few minutes understanding the problem and then asked me if I had a dedicated hot water supply for the dryer. I looked behind the machine and was able to turn off the water. Sounds like a simple fix that I never could have thought of myself. Problem averted and I certainly don't miss that mister option at all.
It is important to keep being a professional and try your best to be courteous and helpful no matter what the conditions are in the marketplace. You have all the knowledge that your customers are looking for so try to be patient and treat all customer requests with your sincere attempt to show them that they are valued customers at all times. Try your best to help them anyway that you can and they will be back. Your approach to their requests no matter what kind of day you are having or the frustrations in the marketplace will help determine the important positive image you can leave with customers every day.
Rostra Precision Controls
Night Owl Optics