The term “customer” most often refers to someone who gives money for a material, service, or counsel. And the prevailing thought is the “customer is always right”. So a higher level of diligence is viewed for where the money source is. But ABEL Building Systems has a higher level of application to what a “customer” is. ABEL Building Systems believes there is more to the equation, and that ALL sectors of a transaction need to be treated as high importance.
You need to treat everyone with honor. Your “customers are the ones who buy from you, the ones who you work with, the ones who you contract out to or buy from, as well. This culture of honor brings in rewards of trust and accountability.
When ABEL Building System treats its suppliers / contractors well, they respond. When an emergency arises with an ABEL Building Systems customer, special effort can be counted on by those suppliers to help ABEL to respond to its customer emergency. If ABEL didn’t treat its supply base well, special effort would be hard to come by.
Customers will buy from people who do what they say they will do, and will stop doing business with those who do not deliver as promised. If a supplier does any of these, the customer / supplier relationship is damaged: Under-deliver in product quality, in product delivery schedules, in quality of service after the sale, or even in response times and courtesy of personnel during emergencies.
Predictable, excellent results retain customers
One time, ABEL Building Systems discussed a system that a potential customer had installed previously. They couldn’t understand why the screen image directly from the camera is so sharp, and the images from the playback are so grainy and jerky.
ABEL Building Systems explained why ABEL explains everything ahead of time so expectations match results. A direct connection from the camera to a monitor is deceiving, because when a potential customer sees it in a demonstration, they think they will get a playback just like it. But that’s hidden deception. The strength and power of the software and the capacity of the hardware to process the signals from the camera(s) is the key. Anyone can feed a signal from a camera to a monitor with clarity. But a true system performance will depend on honesty.
Another category of “customer” is the internal group of people we work with every day. The receptionist, guard shack personnel, and administrative employees make a critical first impression to all visitors and customers. They deserve respect and courtesy.
The quotation and billing departments present the faces as to how customers and vendors see your company. The quality departments, the manufacturing departments and the engineering departments are customers to each other. The service department and financial departments are also critical to the operations and how they must embrace the whole. Each part of a company operation, whether the company is small where one person can wear many “hats” to a multi-national organization; has to embrace a culture of seeing each person in their own company as their customer.
Our customers will set us apart from the competition because we complete shipments to our customers, because our suppliers complete their shipments to us.
Too many companies beat up their suppliers instead of nurturing them. And nurturing doesn’t mean babying them. When a supplier fails in their commitment to quality, delivery, or content quality, the complete end result suffers. When a supplier feels being taken advantage after the contractual work begins, that vendor may seek to not be part of that supply chain again. When a company decides to withhold or delay prompt scheduled payments to a supplier, the vendor may decide that it isn’t worth it. We need to trust our vendors and suppliers as well as our customers.
Customers will buy from those companies who look out for the customer needs as they would their own companies. The Golden Rule still applies.
An organization works well when there is a culture of honesty, respect, responsibility, and commitment throughout the Company structure. A healthy company culture has a customer relationship that thrives, a vendor relationship, and inter-company relationships helps drive customers and vendors to that company. Vendors WANT to do business with them, even at a lower profit margin. Customers will pay more for products and services if they know they will be taken care of the right way.
Next month we’ll cover “Misunderstandings and resolution in business and Your Moral Compass”.