Water Well Journal

August 2015

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/543740

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Page 45 of 71

W e spend a lot of time and effort to get a sale or an order. In a way the effort is like the phrase "Be care- ful what you ask for because it might just happen." We've sold a prime product, perhaps a pump for example, and now we have to be able to support that prime product with parts, supplies, and services. We have to provide customer service. Customer service received a lot of attention in the 1990s. It became the primary focus of many businesses. But ever since the financial disruption, we have been so concerned about sur- vival perhaps we lost sight of the goal of customer service. What does customer service even mean? How do we meas- ure customer service? Is customer service something you can measure or is it a feeling—a soft measure? Are these ques- tions you've asked? If you don't know how to measure customer satisfaction, then you're not going to be able to obtain the funds necessary to invest in improving it. Money is not spent without a spe- cific measureable objective in the market today. So how do we measure customer service? Needs and wants Customer service—rather obviously—is all about the cus- tomer. It's about their needs and wants. This is based on two simple things: expectations and perceptions. And this is all about how the customer feels. Expectations are what the customer has before any activity with you. The sale, inquiry, quotation, and the question —what did they expect to receive? After the activity, the customer has perceptions about how they were treated. What was their perception about the trans- action with you? It might seem rather tricky to measure. Well, it's impossi- ble without asking. The only way you will be able to deter- mine what the customer had as their expectation is by asking them. The same thing is true about their perception of the service they actually received. Again, you have to ask. But many of you don't bother to ask. Many of you actually tell me you are too busy for that. Are you really too busy to talk with your customer? Make the call Here is a concrete suggestion for action. After every serv- ice job, call the customer. Within three to five days after completing the job, call the customer and ask how you did. How long can that take? The questions are simple: Did we do what we said we would do? Did we do it within the price we quoted and the time line? Is everything working properly now? How difficult is that? It should take less than five minutes for each call. How many calls will there be to make? That is a number equal to the jobs that were closed and invoiced last week. Let's agree we will do that. Let's agree to call every cus- tomer the week after the job was completed and invoiced. As an unintended consequence, you should also be closing and invoicing your work orders faster as a result. Next is parts. The time when the customer might be least satisfied is when there is a back order. So the week after the back order has been supplied, call the customer—every single one. Then ask similar questions: Did we find the part when we said we would? Did you receive the part when we said you would? Here's another unintended consequence of these customer satisfaction calls. The customer will be reminded how good you truly are at doing your job. You see, there will not be a lot of "complaints." If there is a complaint, then you have the choice to either fix it or forget it. Know the decision you make will be with you for a long time The ultimate measure of customer satisfaction is customer retention. We have covered this before, but it deserves men- tion again. If you can increase customer retention by just 5%—you can improve the profitability of your business by 45%! None other than Harvard University did the definitive re- search on this subject in the 1990s. I have found this to be true in my consulting work. What makes it all work So we made a sale. Now we should focus on satisfying the customer. We do this with all the processes and procedures, systems, methods, forms, and tooling. We have a lot invested to deliver peerless customer service. RON SLEE THE AFTER MARKET CUSTOMER SERVICE COMES TO THE FOREFRONT We have sold something. Now what? The only way you will be able to determine what the customer had as their expectation is by asking them . waterwelljournal.com 44 August 2015 WWJ

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