By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter
I’ve talked a lot about customer service and how important it is to resolve issues. But we’ve also addressed the issue that customer service is everyone’s responsibility, from sales through tech support. Customer service is really all about your customers’ total experience.
This is true in our relationships with distributors as well as contractors. Manufacturers need to be careful, especially when business is on the uptick and attention to detail may come in second to short-term sales increase.
Don’t take your distributor and tradesman for granted. There’s always someone out there that can identify the contractor’s needs and deliver and it won’t necessarily be based on price or delivery but the total customer experience.
I recently came across an article in HVACR Business by Jim Baston that hammered home once again how important customer service is in the big picture. Jim’s article is focused on the HVACR service business, but his points can be transferred to the manufacturing sector as well.
Jim breaks it down into 5 dimensions of service:
• Reliability: Your ability to dependably and accurately deliver as promised.
• Assurance: Your ability to convey trust and confidence.
• Tangibles: Your personal presentation and the condition of the physical facilities and equipment.
• Empathy: Your ability to demonstrate a high degree of caring and individual attention.
• Responsiveness: Your willingness to promptly and courteously respond to customers’ needs.
As manufacturers, you need to understand your customers’ (distributors and contractors) needs. Remember that everyone in your company is in customer service. If you haven’t asked recently, maybe you should. Things change and their priorities might have too. Focus on what matters to them.