The quality of the product and the price paid for it are two important factors for a customer deciding on a job shop, but they’re not the only factors. You could have well-machined parts at highly competitive prices, but if your customers can’t contact you easily when they need to, or you fail to keep to delivery dates, these instances of bad customer service can cost you jobs now or in the future. So when serving your customers, how do you ensure that you’re sufficiently serving their needs?
One way to help yourself beat out competitors to win a job is to deliver quotes promptly— no matter what industry you’re in, customers often send enquiries to multiple business and simply choose the first quote that arrives, in part because of the assumption that the business will continue to outpace competitors. Even if they don’t choose the first to respond, it’s far more likely to be a job shop with a shorter response time that wins the job than one that comes in later on. It’s therefore key to have a quick turnaround on quoting. As well as getting your foot in the door, it’s a promise that your business will be easy to reach.
Once you’ve won the job, continue to keep communications open. Answer your phone, messages, and emails quickly, and make it easy for returning customers to reach the right person in your business.
Always be direct and honest with customers. If a change in circumstances occurs, such as a change to prices between re-ordering of parts, or a delay in deliveries, your customer will always prefer to know ahead of time rather than face unexpected costs or wait times. Letting them know as early as possible shows your customer that you respect their needs and their schedule, and your customer will appreciate this.
Customers like to know what to expect from businesses, and to have their expectations met as often as possible. While consistently high quality of parts is obviously vital, prices should also remain relatively stable. It’s reasonable to adjust quote prices according to the rise and fall of material prices, which ties back to the importance of properly communicating with your customers; however, other factors such as hourly rates should remain relatively the same between orders. Customers with repeat orders notice when a quote for the same parts is suddenly twice as expensive than its predecessor.
Automated quoting software like ipLaser help job shops ensure that their quotes are calculated accurately every time, no matter who does the quote, both saving time and allowing for greater consistency in a business.
As a business, it’s vital for a job shop to stick to fulfil commitments made to your customers. If you fail in this, you lose the trust of your customers and risk gaining a reputation for unreliability.
Occasional unexpected changes in plan are something that happens to everyone, and are not on their own enough to drive away customers, as long as they’re made properly aware as soon as possible. It’s when these problems become frequent that your customer may begin to lose faith in you.
Something like a missed delivery dates is a massive problem, as customers are often waiting on you to fulfil their own orders, and customers who have had to repeatedly rework schedules around your delays may look elsewhere. If delayed deliveries are a consistent issue for your job shop, figure out the source of the problem and resolve it as soon as possible, rather than make your customers or your business pay the price.
Remember, many customers are outsourcing work that they could feasibly do themselves—you’re not just making parts, you’re offering a service. The way that service is delivered must be of just as high a quality as your products in order for your business to succeed. Look after your customer, and the profit will look after you.