Talk to Your Customers


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Whatever industry we are in, we are a customer and a supplier at the same time. For instance, my suppliers are the technical article contributors, as well as those experts who speak with me about critical challenges in electronics assembly and provide their insights on strategies that would help manufacturers address these issues. (Well, they are supplying me with their insights.) Down the chain, my customers are our production guys—those who lay out the articles in a nice, clean, continuous format that will eventually become the SMT007 Magazine. (Speaking of which, I hope you’re enjoying the fresh new look of our publications here at I-Connect007.)

Of course, the goal is always 100% customer satisfaction—and the majority of the respondents in our recent survey agree. Interestingly, some say more than 90% is fine, while one says his company is striving for 98%.

Be that as it may, dissatisfaction in your customer side will eventually result in problems. According to the results of our survey, the loss of business and reputation can be the consequences of not meeting your customers' needs.

Which is why, now more than ever, it is important to work closely with your customers. In the words of columnist Dan Beaulieu, "When you start dealing with companies that are literally building products that the world has never seen, including circuit boards with technology that the world has never seen, it’s time that somebody talks to somebody."

Even though you have trusted supplier partners, working closely with them will ensure seamless manufacture and high-quality output. And most of our respondents agree, with more than a third or 40% closely working with at least 50% of their customers.

One respondent commented, "Our customers are designing multilayered flex and rigid-flex circuits, and it seems that things go much better with a highly collaborative relationship— a great deal of back and forth to optimize design choices."

And this has been what we have been hearing over the past year of speaking with experts in our industry—communication. Working together—whether you’re in the design, fabrication, or assembly industry. In fact, a few of our respondents say communication is among the top important attributes for customer service. Other key attributes include fast response, quality, transparency, and caring about the customers' needs.

Speaking of caring about those needs, respondents in our survey say they are all in when it comes to ensuring customer satisfaction. Cross-functional resources are being channeled to ensure their customers’ needs are being attended to.

One respondent said, "Our entire quality department is constantly working on improving our customer satisfaction. Our office staff works hard on the front end to make sure our customers are happy and comfortable."

To read the full version of this article, which appeared in the February 2018 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

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