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Stellar customer service tips for the manufacturing industry

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Businesses in the manufacturing industry know the importance of creating a great quality product that will stand the test of time. But to grow the business, they also have to ensure their customer service is of a high quality.

I am of the theory that you pay for quality, but also pay for great and loyal customer service. I often deal with printers, and while one may be more expensive than another, I always go for the one who provides the best customer service. Sure it may cost more, but I know this will save me time, and probably money too, down the track because I won’t have to spend time clarifying issues and fixing problems that occur.

This is how customers think. A competitive price is, of course, important, but providing great service is crucial too.

Value your product, build your business

Here are some tips for making sure your clients know you value their business (by the way, they may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many businesses are not on top of this!):

  • Answer the office phone with the name of the business. There’s nothing worse than calling a business and only getting a ‘hello’. This puts doubt into the mind of a potential customer about the professionalism of your business.
  • Get an answering machine so you don’t miss customers’ calls. If a customer can’t get through to you, or can’t leave a message, they’re not going to wait a couple of hours and call back. They will go to the next business on their list.
  • Also set up a message service for when customers are waiting on hold. Not only does this entertain the customer, it also tells them other services your business offers that they mat not have known about. When I introduced this into my business, I was surprised at the number of people who told me they didn’t know all the services we offered. This is also a great marketing tip.
  • Return calls and email promptly. Time – and business – waits for no one!

Being in the manufacturing industry, there are deadlines to meet, but if these simple tips aren’t followed, it may give the wrong impression. You need to convey the image that your operation is professional and you are organised. A client has to be able to trust that you will get things done on time and at a high quality. Bad customer services skills can really hurt your business’s bottom line.

Follow up

You should also ‘value-add’. Customer service expert Martin Grunstein tells the story of a Lexus dealer who came up with a sure-fire way to get people to talk about the product.

In one of Grunstein’s seminars, one the participants said during a test drive of a Lexus, the dealer had been asking all sorts of questions. One of the questions was what type of music she liked. She didn’t think any more of it until she came to pick up the new car she had decided to buy. On the front seat was $200 worth of her favourite music as a thank you! The customer told everyone about the CDs, and everyone wanted to know what brand car it was. This was great customer service, and great marketing on Lexus’ behalf too.

Thinking outside the square for customer service like this gets your customers talking about your business. Consider including a small gift or card with big orders as a thank you. In the manufacturing industry, this could include something that is related to your product. If you’re in the leather business, you could include a key ring made of off-cuts in the client’s favourite colour. Ideas like this go a long way.

Consider these:
  • When you finish a job for a client, follow it up with a ‘thank you’ note or a gift to thank the customer for their support.
  • There’s no harm in asking the customer to recommend your business to their friends and clients if they thought your service was good.
  • Contact your client a few weeks down the track to make sure there are no problems with their product.
  • Keep in touch via a newsletter to inform customers and clients of new deals and opportunities.

Ensuring your customer service is top notch will make your business stand out from the rest. It can keep you top of mind when your clients need a job done and turn your clients into advocates of your business.

How to manufacture client satisfaction

  • Customers want great service. Go out of your way to make sure they are content with what you provide.
  • Make sure you return calls and email promptly, and get an answering machine so you don’t miss anything.
  • Think outside the square when it comes to customer service.

If you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

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Published on: Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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