It isn’t often, but sometimes I have an experience at a business that just blows me away. Every detail is perfect. Every human interaction is friendly and helpful, and the product or service exceeds my expectations. For the two weeks after an experience like this, I recommend this business to every single person I talk to. Wouldn’t be great if your customers would do this for you?              

In manufacturing, Quality, Cost and Delivery (QCD) have been the standard measures of customer satisfaction for the last few decades. QCD performance is critical… BUT, relying on these metrics alone to characterize customer satisfaction is short-sighted. This is a recipe to become a faceless, generic manufacturer only as good as your last quoted price, delivery or quality escape.

The reality is your business might not always be the best in quality, cost and delivery. We all like to think that “we do it better than anyone” but that just isn’t realistic. In every industry in the world there is competition that is your equal or maybe better. They are looking to capitalize on any opportunity you give them… just like you are. You will have a delivery issue, or a quality escape and you will not always be the cheapest.

So, the important question to ask is:

What else can we do to differentiate ourselves?

 

I believe one answer lies in leveraging the concept of customer experience. Customer experience goes beyond the actual product or service provided. Every touchpoint should be crafted to be convenient and pleasurable. The customer experience needs to be intentionally designed and engineered to create the best experience possible. It is more than just having a great salesperson or a friendly customer service representative (although it does help!).

CX, as it is known, has become a familiar term in industries such as hospitality, restaurants, and technology. Some examples of great CX engineering are Chewy pet supplies- delivered pet food and supplies, handwritten notes and a birthday card for your pet, Chik-fil-A– a good chicken sandwich accompanied with extreme courtesy and reliable service, Air BnB an amazing user interface and streamlined process to stay at a stranger’s house.

Despite this relentless focus in other industries, CX focus is lacking in US manufacturing businesses. It seems the bulk of manufacturers feel there is not enough payback to make their customer’s experience a priority. Out of the thousands of vendors that I have purchased from over the years I believe only a handful have an intentional approach to customer experience. These handful of manufacturers/service providers are also the ones that I would recommend to anyone without reservation. I also wouldn’t replace them for just a slightly better price. A continually great customer experience can act as a moat where there isn’t one otherwise. That is the payback for a great customer experience, and why I believe all US manufacturers should be working on CX.

Wondering how to get started on improving your customers’ experience? I have listed a few sample questions from the Precise Process CX discovery audit to help you gauge your current CX.

  • How do you ensure prompt responses to customer emails?
  • When was the last time you visited your top 10 customers?
  • Do you take exception to quality clauses or terms and conditions?
  • Do you proactively let customers know about potential delivery issues?
  • Do you have a process to ask your customers how they would like their product labeled, packed or palletized?
  • Do you ship early to drive revenue?
  • Are all your employees who interface with customers trained to be professional and courteous?
  • Do you customize a tour and presentation for customer visits?
  • How much notice do you give for price changes?
  • Do you have a standard communication method to keep customers up to date on new equipment and capabilities?

 

If you are interested in getting the full audit, or if would like to discuss how to design a great CX, send me a message.

derek@preciseprocess.co

(860) 359-1986

The mission of Precise Process is: “Helping US based manufacturers compete on service, efficiency and expertise”