Most of us know that supplying a quality product or service on time, and at a fair price, are critical to achieving customer satisfaction. But what if you’re not the only one that can do this for your customer?
How can you become your customer’s first choice for their next order? Read on for five keys to becoming your customer’s top supplier.
Respond to all inquiries within 24 hours
Commitment is the key to meeting this goal, but it is also important to have an organized system for managing your responses. If the inquiry was a phone call, send an email to summarize the call. If you need more time to provide the information that the customer has requested, note this in your email and provide the date by which you will follow up. If you don’t have the information by that date, reply with a status report. Whenever you send a message that requires follow up, flag the message for follow up with a due date. Work through your follow up list every day to ensure the 24 hour rule is never missed.
Respond thoroughly and accurately
The content of your response is as important as the timeliness. Be sure to address every item, not just the one you happen to be focused on. Anticipate what questions might arise from your response and answer them before they are asked. Reread your entire response before sending to make sure the content is thorough and accurate.
Accommodate the unique business needs of your customer
If your customer needs you to offer blanket orders, consignment inventory, vendor managed inventory, long term agreements, scheduling agreements, lot traceability, customized documentation (i.e. packing slips, certificates of compliance, shipping labels) or other services, find a way to make it happen and then set your prices accordingly.
Leverage technology to execute flawlessly
Accommodating the varying business needs of your customers is a difficult challenge that can be made easier with technology. You need an ERP system that is robust and customizable, and you need information systems personnel that can help you use all of the available functionality. If your customer needs something special, such as a packing slip that is different from what you normally send, write custom reports and code to make this happen automatically. No matter how good your staff is, they will make mistakes, and a new employee will step in to perform a task at some point, so use technology to eliminate the possibility of human error whenever you can.
Make problem resolution a top priority
Problems are inevitable. You will cause some, others will be of no fault of your own. In either case, these are often the times when your customer needs you to perform at your best, and they are likely to remember what you did or did not do to help minimize the impact of the problem on their business. Determining root cause and taking preventive action is important, but be sure to make containment and corrective action your top priority until the impact of the problem on your customer is minimized.
Contact us today to learn more.
With nearly 40 years’ experience across several industries, Prime Products is a company that understands the changing needs of today’s manufacturing customers. While it’s important to offer a variety of primary and secondary production services, modern manufacturers must offer even more to set themselves apart from competitors.
Customers are seeking more than just a company that can create different products; they’re seeking a company that can offer support throughout the entire process — from the design stage to delivery of the final product. Customers need more than a contractor-for-hire — they need a partner.
The following five traits exemplify what separates good manufacturing partners from those that are truly great.
- A good partner will integrate their services with your company’s inventory system, but many offer rudimentary levels of support. Prime Products takes part in extensive inventory programs: our consignment program ensures products are shipped to you, or a third party of your choice, when you decide the time is right; and our vendor managed program lets the customer set their order quantities and fulfillment requests.
These programs enable customers to control the exact amount of products shipped to them, and the exact time of shipment as well — this helps reduce confusion and unnecessary waste.
- To manage customer inventory metrics, good partners utilize different programs that are moderately successful — Prime Products goes one step further with its scheduling agreement programs. Through your company’s ERP system, our customer service representatives can monitor inventory status, pull in, push out, and drop in requests, and production schedules.
Additionally, our representatives work diligently to determine future demand or if any expedite requests need to be met, and convey that information through your ERP online portal.
- As a partner, keeping tabs on informative customer documents is vital. At Prime Products, we make sure these documents are safely maintained until needed for reference. We utilize your company’s electronic data interchange (EDI) systems to acquire and organize documents such as order forms, technical drawings, customer-supplied paperwork, and others.
- The quality of manufactured products is important, as is successful delivery of those products. Many partners take on multiple orders and find themselves struggling to meet lead times. Prime Products maintains your ordering system to help you get ahead of schedule. Our team is capable of accepting several blanket orders at once, and with a simple email or a report document, customers can set their product delivery lines.
- When products are finally ready for shipment, many manufacturers turn to outside delivery companies. While it can be advantageous to use such a company, there can be disconnects between multiple parties that can lead to delays, and increased shipping costs.
Prime Products takes a more hands-on approach to product delivery; with our M1 business system, we can provide packing slips and labels tailored to your exact needs. Moreover, our team finds ways to consolidate your shipments whenever possible, reducing excessive freight costs.
By choosing Prime Products, your company gains a partner that always has your best interests in mind. Our dedication to our customers is unmatched in the aviation, aerospace/defense, and medical fields; these professionals rely on Prime Products to support their businesses on a daily basis.
For more information about our extensive contract manufacturing and customer support services, please contact us today.
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