When is making and selling products not enough?

waiter and waitress

In manufacturing, we all make and/or sell. That’s a given. But, what differentiates us from the competition? Yes, price, but also those value-added intangibles, including customer service. Remember the days when business was based on service? As business gets more fast-paced and we have to do more with less, often quantity triumphs over quality. We are whipping and cranking it out. “Git er done” has become a catch phrase. But, what about the little things? Often, a live person doesn’t answer the phone anymore. It’s all been automated. But when the customer does reach a human being, how is he or she treated? Are customers made to feel like a burden? Something to be processed so we can move on to the next task, or do we invest in them?

Think about the last time you went out to eat at a sit-down restaurant. You are going out so that you don’t have to cook or clean up and can relax and chat while someone else does the heavy lifting. You want to be taken care of, right? You leave a tip based on how attentive the service is from when you walk in the door. Were you greeted? Seated quickly? Brought a menu? How long did it take for someone to bring you water and take your order? How long until your order came? Was it hot? Did they get the order right if you made substitutions? Did they refill your glass? Was the restroom clean? How long did it take to get the check? Were your leftovers packed properly? Every step in the total experience matters in making a final impression upon you, the customer. We evaluate the quality of the transaction based upon criteria that we set up for each experience. We all “expect” certain things in certain situations in order to feel satisfied.

What do your customers expect of you other than selling them a thingamajig? Do you deliver? What might you do differently? What processes have you implemented that might help others? What changes have you made to improve the customer experience?

 

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