BACK TO BASICS
Two key elements to ensure customer satisfaction
by Harold Curtis
We all know the basics of customer satisfaction: on-time delivery, quality performance, customer complaint resolution and parts per million (PPM). Now that you have obtained the pinnacle 100% on-time delivery, zero PPM and no customer complaints, what’s next?
This occurs when your name becomes synonymous with your product. What store comes to mind when you think of shopping? What brand name comes to mind when think of power tools? Where do you go if the kids want pizza? You know what came to mind for each of these. Don’t you want your product thought of that same way by your customers?
There are two key requirements for getting there:
- You must have a satisfied workforce.
- You must be an asset to your customers’ businesses.
Let’s take a look at how a company gains and maintains a satisfied workforce. Here are a few suggestions:
- Show respect and genuine concern for employees and their families. Promote the family. Stress that family and events such as school activities, birthdays and weddings are more important than work.
- Provide ongoing training for all employees. The more training employees have, the more of an asset they are to the organization and the customer.
- Communicate to your employees. Let employees know what’s happening at your facility. Have regular meetings with all employees and post information where everyone can see it. Nothing can upset a workforce more than not knowing what is happening, or, worse yet, having incorrect information spread throughout the facility.
- Involve employees in the company. Get employees from all areas of the organization involved in corrective action and continual improvement projects. Involved workers are committed workers.
- Reward your employees for work well done. A word of recognition, awards, profit sharing or a bonus can go a long way in promoting employee satisfaction.
Internally, you want a workforce that’s happy to be there—not one looking at work as drudgery. If you don’t have satisfied employees, you will never have a satisfied customer.
Second, how do you become an asset to your customer? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be involved in your customers’ success. Know what you do that helps your customers succeed.
- Understand what you can provide your customers that others can’t, don’t or won’t. Then do it with all your energy.
- Know each customer product as if it were yours. When possible, have your employees go to your customer’s facility and see how your product is used or assembled so they can better understand the customer and their requirements.
- Keep communication open at all levels. From the top down, know what your customer wants and expects from you.
- Understand you’re not just selling a product to your customers, but you’re selling your company. Every time a product is sent, it represents who and what you are.
Understand that your growth depends on your customers’ growth. If you’re not helping your customers grow, you will never get to the place where customers think of your company or product first. You may survive, but you won’t thrive, and you’ll never achieve true customer delight.
Harold Curtis is president of C.O.R. Services in Erie, PA. He earned his bachelor’s degree in administration from Pennsylvania State University in University Park. Curtis is an RABQSA International-certified quality systems lead auditor.