Manufacturing Client Satisfaction
Awise person once said: “Customer service. It’s not a department, it’s everyone’s job.”
According to a recently published
Deloitte study titled“The Service Revolution: Manufacturing’s Missing Crown
Jewel,” many of today’s manufacturing
companies consider themselves designers
and producers of tangible products rather
than providers of integrated solutions to
customers’ broader needs.
“Too often, manufacturers view their
service operations as ancillary businesses
separate from and by no means equal in
strategic or operational importance to the
‘core’ product business,” the study’s
In order to survive and prosper in a market that’s confronted with increased demands for quality, stricter government
regulations, escalating complexity of supply
chains, and lead time pressures, medical device manufacturers must focus on evolving
company-wide customer service operations.
While identifying and developing the
right customer services strategies will vary
from company to company, the following
“FAST TLC”customer service activities differentiate forward-thinking service champions and drive continuous improvement.
Efficient follow-up is critical to excellent
customer service. It not only demonstrates
to customers that you understand their
needs, but it also shows that you’ve taken
steps to meet those needs.
Follow-up can take many different
forms. For example, a customer contacting you about adding power to their device may want to discuss the possibilities
with your engineering team. Instead of
passing their call onto one of the engineers and assuming the customer’s inquiry has been taken care of, proactively
facilitate the meeting.
Email the customer a recap of your
conversation with them and let them
know what your next step is to address
their request (e.g., you’ll collaborate with
the engineering team so they are knowledgeable about the customer’s device and
send the engineering team dates and
times that work for the customer to meet
with them). Follow-up with both parties
to make sure that a meeting date has been
set and to make sure that everyone has
the information they need to have a
worthwhile discussion. Whether it’s coordinating a conference call, scheduling a
face-to-face discussion, submitting a
quote, or sending a simple,“Thank you for
visiting our booth at XYZ trade show”
email, timely follow-up establishes that
you genuinely care about contributing
value to your customers.
If there’s insufficient accountability in
your organization’s customer service, the
perception is that your company condones empty promises, excuses, and unprofessional finger pointing. The reality is
that customers don’t care what or who
caused the issue. All they care about is
getting it resolved.
Consider a medical device manufacturing team who burns the midnight oil to ensure that a customer’s rush delivery request
is met. Although customer service expedited
delivery of the package to UPS, unforeseen
delays prevented on-time arrival.
Instead of blaming UPS and suggesting
that the customer call them to get the status of their order, a proactive approach
would be to have customer service inform
the customer that they will call UPS to
track the status of delivery and promptly
follow up with them about when they can
expect to receive their package.
Companies that thrive in challenging
economic environments have people who
are highly adaptable and remain flexible as
For example, if your OEM customer
suddenly needs to accelerate or compress
their lead time, taking the hard-lined position that timeframes are pre-established
and cannot be adjusted doesn’t help solve
their issue. On the other hand, solution-oriented customer service works collaboratively with the internal team and outside
suppliers to find a compromise.
While it may mean that the customer
will need to pay expedited fees or perhaps
adjust to receiving a partial shipment of
their order, putting forth the effort to try
and accommodate their request validates
the customer’s needs and reinforces your
Customer service often starts well before
an order is processed and continues long
after a product is shipped to the customer.
Quick, efficient response to prospects and
customers every step of the way is essential
to differentiating your medical device