Time to Market: Customer Service is Still the Key

“Quick and dirty” used to be both a popular expression and philosophy in our industry. It meant that when you wanted it fast, what you got is what you got. There was another term we used, GIGO, which translated to “garbage in, garbage out.” This was actually a cousin of “quick and dirty” and was used to permit PCB suppliers a pass on quality and customer service as long as they got the product out quickly. Speed was all that mattered in those days, which, of course, caused all sorts of headaches.

Now thankfully, times have changed and fast time to market is not an excuse to skimp on quality, technology or customer service. In fact, great customer service is more important than it has ever been, especially when it comes to quick turn-around orders.

With so many companies now offering good, fast turn-around services, this has become a highly competitive field, which means that the best way to make your company outstanding is to deliver great customer service.

With all the passion, effort, and customer-vendor cooperation that it takes to deliver a complete assembly in a matter of days, the worst thing that can happen is to spoil that effort with poor customer service. That’s why great customer service is now as an important attribute to the time to market experience as delivering the product on time and even ahead of schedule.

Actually, in many cases, poor customer service can completely wreck the customer’s experience even if you’ve completed the hard work of getting the completed process in their hands-on time. Here are some chilling statistics to back it up:

  • It takes 12 good customer experiences to make up for one bad customer experience
  • 51% of customers will never do business with you again after just one bad customer experience
  • 92% of customers will leave forever after two or three negative experiences
  • It costs 10–20 times more to gain a new customer than to retain one

Are you ready to talk about great customer serviced yet? Good! Here are a few guidelines for delivering great customer service no matter what kind of company you are.

  1. Know you customers, have a complete understanding of what they need from you and then deliver it.
  2. Anticipate their needs. If you have a good working relationship with your customers after a while you will be able to share in the direction they are heading and anticipate their needs so that you not only meet their needs today, but in the future as well.
  3. Great customer service is a culture. You have to instill the passion for delivering great customer experiences in all members of your team. Allow your employees the latitude to deliver great customer service. In fact, reward them for delivering great customer service. Like the saying goes, catch them doing something great for your customers and reward them for it.
  4. Always be seeking ways to go above and beyond the call of duty. Find and focus on ways to “wow” your customers. Look for opportunities to impress your customers at all times.
  5. Care about the future success of your customers because, in the end, their success will become your success. Learn more about them, their marketplace, and what it takes for them to be successful. Then, do your part to help them to be successful.
  6. Find ways to create great customer loyalty. Based on the facts I stated above, there is no doubt that customer retention is the backbone to a successful business. And the best way to assure strong customer retention is to create avid customer loyalty. Customers will remain loyal to companies that deliver service at a level far beyond their expectations. The very best way to develop strong customer loyalty is to deliver a customer experience that is so above and beyond their expectations that they will never want to leave you. No matter what.

Always remember that your customers will remember and focus on the level of service they received long after they remember the price that they paid. The company that consistently delivers a great customer experience will be the customer that rises above the throng of mediocre competitors who are fighting for business with the only weapon they have: price.

The best thing about always delivering a great customer experience is that all you need to deliver that experience is the exact same things you’re already doing to make your company so successful.

I don’t think anybody ever went out of business delivering great customer experience. Even in our very competitive time to market world, great customer service is the most important thing of all.

Imran Valiani is an account manager at Rush PCB. He can be reached at imran@rushpcb.com.

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2021

Time to Market: Customer Service is Still the Key

02-18-2021

Times have changed and fast time to market is not an excuse to skimp on quality, technology or customer service. In fact, great customer service is more important than it has ever been, especially when it comes to quick turn-around orders.

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Time to Market: Everything Changes—Are You Ready?

01-21-2021

Imran Valiani is always on the lookout for ways to cut time to market. Over the years this has become his personal passion. When he stumbled on a way to shorten the quoting process, Valiani left no stone unturned.

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2020

Time to Market: Ensuring Your Suppliers Are There for You

12-10-2020

The best vendors are always there for you and are willing to work 365/24/7. Your company’s most valuable assets are your products, and you're entrusting them to another company. Here, Imran Valiani shares the eight most critical questions you have to ask about your supplier.

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Time to Market: You Get What You Pay For

11-25-2020

There is an old saying that goes, “You get what you pay for.” This is especially true when it comes to the electronics manufacturing industry. What is a great product, what is a great PCB, and what is extraordinary service? Imran Valiani details eight characteristics of a great PCB supplier.

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Time to Market: How Fast Do You Really Need It?

10-29-2020

There is no doubt that in this fast-paced world of innovation and time to market, speed is one of the most important aspects of making your products and company successful. Imran Valiani shares four actions that can be taken pre-manufacturing to cut down the critical need for speed at the manufacturing level.

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Time to Market: 12 Characteristics of NPI Suppliers

09-24-2020

When trying to get a new product to market, time can be the most important factor when it comes to its future success or failure. Imran Valiani details 12 characteristics you should look for when choosing and developing a long-term working relationship with that right new product introduction (NPI) supplier.

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Time to Market: 8 Ways to Know Your Customer Better

08-20-2020

Now is the time to go the extra mile in getting to know your customers, what they need, and how to help them solve their problems and challenges. Imran Valiani shares eight ways to know your customer better.

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Time to Market: It’s Not All About Money

07-30-2020

When you consider the true value of getting your product built swiftly enough to make your required date, you come to realize that it’s not all about the money. After all of the planning, scheduling, and marketing you’ve done, Imran Valiani explains what could happen if you don’t get your product on time.

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Time to Market: It’s Crunch Time!

06-25-2020

After sharing a crunch-time scenario, Imran Valiani emphasizes the importance of solid communication on getting to market on time—especially if you're not using a one-stop-shop for design, fabrication, and assembly.

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Time to Market: 10 Guidelines for NPI Projects

05-21-2020

With everything going on right now, people are looking for solutions—especially fast solutions. Imran Valiani shares 10 guidelines for working with your NPI supplier to make sure that you get your new, innovative, and in some cases, life-saving products to market quickly and efficiently.

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Time to Market: Time to Market Now More Critical Than Ever

04-23-2020

As inventors come up with new devices and equipment that can directly save lives when they are placed in the hands of the medical professionals who are treating COVID-19 patients, it is up to the PCB and PCBA industry to support those companies. Imran Valiani provides five actions to help customers get to market with their new products as rapidly as possible.

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Time to Market: Handling the Precarious Global Supply Web

03-26-2020

The rush is on. As the world changes moment by moment, more and more companies are going to need to have their new product lines developed faster than ever. As the global supply web shuts down—or at least gets closed off in some areas of the world—companies, especially OEMs, are having to scramble to find alternate solutions for building their products. However, Imran Valiani explains how there is a way to countermand these challenges: using trusted sources.

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2019

Time to Market: The Complete Solution—Fabrication and Assembly in Five Days

12-05-2019

The future is here. More and more companies are turning to the complete synergistic solution, seeking companies who can provide PCB fabrication and assembly in just a few days, some in as little as five days. Imran Valiani shares five items to consider when choosing a total concept supplier.

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Time to Market: Partnership Is a Two-way Street

11-21-2019

The best way—and really the only way—to get the most from both your PCB vendors and others is to treat them as an extended part of your company. Bring them into the family, so to speak. And the better you treat your vendors, the better they will perform. I know that’s not the most complicated thing to say, but it is often not an easy thing to do. You have to intentionally choose companies to partner with as vendors, and then intentionally work to create a bond of trust with them consistently throughout the relationship.

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Time to Market: The Importance of Timely NPI

10-09-2019

In this new column from Imran Valiani plans to address ways to get products to market as quickly as possible.

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