Advice From Johnny The Bagger

Tips for great customer service!

They say there are less than two hundred board shops left in North America, a fact that amazes me to no end. The other day, I was looking at a plan I did for a company just twelve years ago, where I said that there were less that six hundred shops left on this continent. Just twelve years ago, and now we are four hundred shops less than we were then.

There is some disagreement as to how many shops there once were in North America at our peak number. Some say eighteen hundred, while others say twelve hundred, so let’s split the difference and say there were once fifteen hundred shops in North America. Still not a pretty picture, when you consider there are less than two hundred.

That was back in the day when the total global PCB market was about ten billion dollars, and we in North American had about seventy percent of that business, or about seven billion dollars. Now the market is over seventy billion dollars and less than five or maybe even as little as four percent is built in North America. Kind of scary isn’t it?

But, once again change is in the air. More companies are looking for their boards in other countries as an alternative to buying them from China these days, for obvious reasons. People are looking for PCB solutions in South Korea, India, Vietnam, and Thailand, as well as in Europe and yes, even here in North America. The world is flattening some more, and the PCB business is spreading to other world spaces and markets.

This means that we all have to be on our best behavior, we all have to do the best we can to capture, and in some cases re-capture, some more PCB business. And that means providing the absolute best service that we can. Extraordinary service, if we want to gain more business. Which means that those of us in the PCB fabrication business have to push ourselves beyond any place we have ever gone before.

We have to “elevate” ourselves to a new level, a level, that is going to impress our customers to the point of increasing their level of business with us. We have to deliver customer service that goes beyond the normal level of good customer service, all the way to the level of greatness.

Here are some ideas on how to do exactly that. These come from a neat little book called, The Simple Truths of Service: Inspired by Johnny the Bagger by Ken Blanchard and Barbara A, Glanz. And yes, much of it was inspired by a supermarket bagger, by the name of Johnny, in case you think your company is too pedestrian to lead the way when it comes to customer service, what is more pedestrian than bagging groceries? If a bagger can make a difference, then you sure as heck can as well.

Here are three of  of Johnny’s ideas for delivering super customer service:

  1. Deliver such good customer service that customers are talking about you. True story, at his store Johnny was such a good customer service maven, that the line at his checkout counter was three times longer than all the others…just because people wanted to share his customer service “warmth”. Can you say that about your customer service?
  2. Great service is a choice: Yes, every day, when you go to work you decide what kind of day it is going to be. You decide what kind of service you are going to deliver. It is always up to you. And here’s a neat little secret, delivering great customer service is uplifting as much for the person delivering that great service as it is to the person getting that great customer service…maybe more.
  3. Great service brings customers back: There is an old saying that goes “great relationships are forged in adversity.” So even when you do have a problem, and we all do from time to time, the way you handle that problem will greatly exemplify your customer service aptitude. Remember that the true definition of grace under pressure is when you stay calm and keep your head about you when everyone else is losing theirs.

And here is one last thing that you, business owners are going to love, Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your people” Ken Blanchard.

So, take care of it…take care of yourself, and your business, by taking care of your customers. There are fewer that two hundred PCB competitors out there today and all you have to do is beat them to thrive. And get this, the industry average for overall performance is still far below eighty five percent for delivery and Quality. Just think how truly outstanding you will be when you’re the company that is known for your on time delivery, your excellent Quality, and best of all your fantastic customer service… Just like Johnny the bagger customers will be lined up at your door in anticipation of experiencing your great customer service. It’s only common sense.