By Sid Chadwick
“Care, and not fine stables….make a good horse…”……Danish Proverb
I’ll be going to a client next week, that’s slowly gotten themselves into what I’ll call “a tight corner”.
Customers are not being taken care of, as they once were.
One of my many initiatives will be to have customer contact personnel --- start writing “Thank you” notes --- every week, if not every day.
Instructions will be provided, along with examples of what to say.
A few Examples of, “Opportunities… to send a ‘Thank You’ note”:
- Improved electronic files.
- On-time artwork.
- On-time mailing list, and/or postage payment.
- Major project award --- received from a customer.
- Promptness/timeliness --- in providing needed information.
- Appreciation for unusual courtesy or patience --- from customer personnel.
- Appreciation for early --- or prompt --- or consistently --- on-time payments.
- Copy of “congratulatory” customer article --- in a local newspaper.
- Appreciation for change in delivery schedule --- to help supplier (book other work, or deliver order --- complete).
- Appreciation for acceptance of quality on a project that was not up to supplier’s or customer’s standards.
- Appreciation for increases --- of originally requested quantity.
- Appreciation for successful cooperation in a negotiation (on anything --- we both received what we needed!)
- Appreciation for referral --- to a prospective customer.
- Appreciation for being the supplier for “award-winning work.”
- Appreciation for allowing a supplier to use customer --- as a “Reference.”
- Appreciation for introduction to a key, previously unknown supplier, or prospective customer.
- Appreciation for sharing of industry-specific information.
- Appreciation for introductions to key customer personnel.
- Appreciation for an invitation to customer event --- of any kind.
- Appreciation for a corporate note of acknowledgment--- for what supplier accomplished for a customer.
- Acknowledgment for “professional accomplishment” --- by a buyer.
- Acknowledgment for charitable support to supplier’s worthy cause.
- Appreciation for professional conduct, and competency --- to buyer’s supervisor.
- Appreciation for contributions, or personal time --- to local non-profit organization.
- Appreciation for sharing information relating to company priorities, objectives and goals, and performance areas --- that are troubling customer’s senior management.’
I was once asked to come into a sizable “Customer Service Department” --- that was in disarray --- and which represented “the heart of repeat business” --- to that client.
After interviewing everyone, we began meeting every Friday, and for almost two hours, sharing with each other, who we had sent “Thank You Notes” to, and what the details were for those notes being sent.
We also shared --- “Customers Reactions”.
Customers’ reactions included: (1) Surprise, (2) Gratitude, (3) Mild shock, and expressions of sincere appreciation (including, with some frequency, “I’ve never received a ‘thank you’ note from a supplier before”), (4) With increasing, noticeable frequency, asking, “May I increase that last order I sent you?” “May I send you an extra or new item to produce for us?”
At the end of three months, Orders…including Repeat Orders………….were up…………………………16%...!
“We are what we repeatedly do……..Excellence is therefore not an ac…..but a habit.”……………….Aristotle