Your delivery performance is integral to your customer’s performance, but sometimes reassurance is just as important as performance.

Imagine you’re a buyer responsible for overseeing the procurement of hundreds of components. You placed an order for a critical item 8 weeks ago. The supplier sent an order acknowledgement, but you haven’t heard anything since- even though the due date was yesterday. You’re sitting in a production meeting and the operations manager’s tone in questioning is escalating:

What’s the status of that purchase order?

Have we heard anything from the vendor?

Did they send tracking yet?

Are we going to have to shut down the line?

You leave the production meeting and call the supplier immediately. You get the automated phone system, then you get sent to voice mail. You leave a voice message, and you also send an email.

Finally you get an email response from the customer 24 hours later.

“Hi,

Sorry I didn’t message sooner. I didn’t think this order was hot, so we missed the date by a few days. The parts are going to anodize tomorrow. Should have them out next week.”

As you can see in this example, the lack of communication and reassurance amplifies the impact of the missed delivery. Also, the inability to get an answer from the supplier for 24 hours is another unflattering factor.

Think about how your business communicates. Could you be this supplier?

You could argue that the buyer should have communicated the urgency sooner, and this isn’t the supplier’s fault but playing that type of blame game is not going to help. The perception of the supplier will take a hit from an incident like this.

 

The manufacturing businesses that set themselves apart all proactively communicate throughout the entire transaction. There is never a doubt of the status of the order or expected delivery date.

Imagine how differently this scenario could have gone if the supplier had sent a weekly email updating you on the status of your order – it’s not just informative, it’s reassuring. Another communication option is to send event-triggered updates like “raw materials received” or “job started.” These aren’t just notifications; they’re signals of progress, tangible proof that your project is moving forward as planned.

Lastly, if the supplier called when they were aware of the potential delay, everyone would have known in advance. The supplier might have been able to minimize the delay once they were told the importance. It may have been possible for the customer to alter the production schedule to accommodate the late delivery. In customer communications, bad news must travel fast.

The way to succeed at this is to have a structured process for consistent communication with customers. A well-defined process ensures that customers are kept informed at every stage of their journey, from initial inquiry to post-sales support. By proactively providing updates, addressing concerns, and soliciting feedback, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction and build long-lasting partnerships. Developing these processes are a key component to engineering a great customer experience and growing your business.

If you would like to discuss how to develop a customer communications process, send me a message.

derek@preciseprocess.co